What is Free Range Chicken ? Benefits

Free Range Chicken: The quality of the chicken meat you are consuming is important. Some farms treat their chickens poorly, creating low-quality meats that contain some seriously negative pathogens such as Salmonella.

What is Free Range Chicken

However, instead of opting for conventional chicken meat with these unwanted ingredients, opt to purchase free-range varieties which have been tested and shown not to include any harmful bacteria in them at all.

Chickens are domesticated birds that belong to the poultry family. They're considered part of this group because they produce eggs and meat for humans, along with other nutrients like chicken collagen.

This is why there's been so much news about conventional forms of chickens specifically how dangerous it can be for our health, as well as what an unpleasant life these animals live on farms.

Organic, free-range chicken is important to consider when choosing a protein source for your diet. It’s not only better for the chickens themselves but also ensures that you are getting high-quality meat as well! If raising them yourself sounds interesting, I will touch on how it can be done in one's own backyard.

What Does ‘Free Range’ Mean? ( What Is Free Range Chicken?)

When it comes to free-range chickens, do you know what that actually means? The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines a free range chicken as one from producers who can demonstrate their chickens have been allowed access to the outside.

Otherwise known as 'free roaming,' this term is also used interchangeably with 'free range.' Usually, when raised using these methods, they're given continuous access to the outdoors for more than 51% of their life cycle.

As the USDA's definition of free-range is pretty general, companies' chickens may not actually be "free-range." Free-roaming hens are able to roam around, get fresh air and sunshine. It would be ideal if they truly roamed freely outside a pasture for most of their lives.

Chickens have been known to lay their eggs in different places. Some chickens will nest inside a coop or box, but other hens go rogue and may not return until you find the egg elsewhere later on. You can also tell when a hen is laying an egg by listening for her "egg song," which she lets out during this time period as well.

Organic and free-range chickens typically taste better as they are raised under humane conditions. When you buy from a local source, it is also easier to know that the chicken was actually grown locally based on where you live.

If buying eggs, note the difference between cage-free vs free-range - one can have more space than caged while still not be allowed outdoors as some other farms do with their hens (i.e., organic/raised in truly free-range).

Benefits of Free-Range Chicken

1. Great Protein Source

One of the best reasons why free-range chicken is so healthy for you, apart from its low-fat content and high protein levels, might be that it can help to support the growth of your cells. Protein is crucial in allowing our bodies' cells to grow at their full potential because without an adequate amount of proteins present within them they are unable to do this effectively.

For growing kids who need large amounts of energy as well as pregnant mothers with a new baby on board, getting ample supplies of nutrients such as essential amino acids through food becomes even more important.

2. Free-Range Chickens Make Healthier Eggs

In a study conducted in 2007, free-range eggs were found to be healthier than caged hens' eggs. Free-range chickens are known for producing more nutritionally dense and nutritious eggs as compared to battery cage hens'. This was shown by the fact that one large egg from a free-range hen contained-

  • ⅓ less cholesterol
  • ¼ less saturated fat
  • ⅔ more vitamin A
  • 2 times more omega-3
  • 3 times more vitamin E
  • 7 times more beta-carotene

3. Conventional Chicken Linked to Hormone Disruption

To evaluate the effects of different diets, scientists compared female subjects who consumed conventional chicken meat with those that ate organic. They measured each group's per cent growth rate and cholesterol levels as well as their progesterone, testosterone and estrogen levels.

Commercial chicken feed and commercial chicken meat may cause polycystic ovary syndrome in females. This is due to the steroid hormone imbalance that occurs when these foods are consumed.

4. Free Range May Taste Better

People say that organic, free-range chickens are tastier than their conventional counterparts. One reason for this might be the diet of these birds which is higher quality due to being fed more natural foods without GMOs or antibiotics.

Chickens that were given outdoor access with natural shelter had juicier, more tender and better-textured meat than other chickens. The researchers believe this is because these birds get a lot of exercises which helps to develop their muscles resulting in the great taste and texture we associate with chicken today.

Conventional Chicken Dangers and Concerns

Over 8 billion chickens are sold for meat each year in the United States, but conventional farming methods have led to many concerns. For starters, outdoor access was removed when factory farming began and these animals were administered antibiotics.

These days, companies that produce conventional chicken meat are using "super chickens." These unnaturally large and chunky birds grow to their size due to a steady flow of antibiotics in small doses.

In 2013, Consumer Reports have conducted some highly revealing testing of chicken meat. The organization purchased 316 raw chicken breasts from various retailers around the country and found that 97 per cent contained potentially harmful bacteria, including Salmonella, Campylobacter Staphylococcus aureus Enterococcus, as well as over 11% containing two or more multidrug-resistant superbugs.

Conventionally raised chickens are known for living in unhealthy environments. Their conditions can be described as nothing short of gross and disturbing.

Patrick Martins, the founder of Heritage Foods USA believes that modern chicken farming practices have made chickens more prone to sickness as they're too young and haven't built their own immune system.

Also, he suggests conventional poultry farmers may say outdoor free-ranging increases a chicken's likelihood for exposure but it is actually incorrect because biodiversity protects them from pathogens rather than threaten them.

Difference Between Free-Range Chicken vs. Organic Chicken vs. Conventional Chicken

Organic chickens are allowed to have a reduced level of stress and can eat any kind of feed, but they must be raised in an environment that gives them the opportunity for exercise.

There is some controversy about organic, free-range chickens. By USDA standards, they must be able to go outdoors for a certain amount of time each day in order to qualify as "organic."

Organic and free-range chickens often have access to grassy areas called pasture; the definition of “pasture” varies by the farm but it typically implies an outdoor plot with green vegetation perfect for grazing on.

Conventional chickens are raised in factory farms which leads to unsanitary conditions and unhealthy animals. The birds are packed into cages, leading them to get sick more often than not. To combat this problem, the majority of conventional chicken is pumped with antibiotics throughout their lives so they don't have as many health problems.

The unsettling antibiotic residue is in 80% of the meat you buy at supermarkets, restaurants and fast-food chains. Antibiotics are marketed to animals rather than sick people which means it's still found in conventional chicken meat offered elsewhere.

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Conventional chickens are raised in cages with six other chickens, which each get 67 square inches or less of space. They never go outside and are often given antibiotics due to the constant sicknesses.

Store-bought chicken has a range of definitions. Here are the meanings for some common terms:

  • A “fresh chicken” has never been cooled below 26° Fahrenheit or -3° Celsius.
  • If a chicken claims to be "natural," it simply means that no artificial ingredients or preservatives have been added. Most store-bought chickens make this claim because they contain nothing but the meat itself.
  • You might be wondering what "farm-raised" even means since pretty much every single chicken is raised on a farm of some sort.
  • When it comes to chicken, "hormone-free" is not a meaningful label. Since poultry are not allowed to contain hormones under the law, they can't have any in them even if you wanted there to be.
  • Organic chickens are not allowed to be given antibiotics, unlike conventional ones. They produce antibiotic-free eggs which may contain healthy bacteria that can aid in digestion and gut health.

How to Use and Cook Chicken At Home (Recipes)

Chicken is a versatile meat that can be prepared in many ways and added to various dishes. It’s commonly used as an entree but works well as a side or snack too due to its high protein content.

Raw chicken can be dangerous since it harbours harmful bacteria. To avoid getting sick, the USDA recommends cooking a whole chicken to 165° F or 73.9° C using a food thermometer placed in its innermost parts: thigh and wing as well as breast meat. Alternatively, you could choose to cook your poultry to higher internal temperatures if desired.

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