Did you know that chickens raised on pasture are nutritionally better to those raised in commercial factory settings? Pastured poultry are chickens (and other birds like hens, ducks and geese) that are raised in bottomless cages on grass where they peck and scratch at the ground and hunt for bugs and seeds along with their grain. Their manure is spread over wide areas of pasture as they are moved. This is better for the birds and the soil.
Pastured poultry is a poultry system where birds are raised outside in bottomless pens that are moved daily to fresh green grass in their pasture. The pens protect the young birds from predators while allowing them to roam and feed, it also protect matured birds from harsh weather conditions In this environment, the chickens scratch the ground and eat bugs and worms and seeds along with their grain. They enjoy the fresh air and sunshine that the outdoors provides. Their manure is spread over the entire pasture as they move around which fertilizes the soil and keeps the pasture lush and green for each subsequent year’s rotation.
Free Range chickens are actually raised inside buildings. While they are not in cages, they are only allowed to roam inside the building that they occupy. Up to 50,000 chickens are raised inside these football-field size buildings. They are allowed to get to experience sunshine or breathe fresh air. They live their lives walking around in their soil. In fact, the air they breathe is free from ammonia and faecal dust from their own excrement.
BENEFIT OF PASTURED POULTRY
- Chemical-free meat. Because of how free-range chickens are commercially raised they are washed with heavily chlorinated water which leaves a chemical residue on the meat. Pasture-raising is actually a more sanitary method of raising chickens, and does not require heavily chlorinated water washing.
- No antibiotics. Pasture raised chickens are healthier (no overcrowding, natural environment, etc) which translates into healthier meat. Chickens raised on pasture do not need antibiotics or other medication to keep them alive.
- Higher Omega-3s. ‘Pasture-raised chickens have been shown to contain up to four times the amount of omega 3 fatty acids, as compared to free-range chicken’ (1). They also have the proper ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids. Together that means eating pasture-raised chicken makes it easier to balance the essential fats in your diet. To learn more about the essential balance of Omega 3s and 6s, read The Omega Diet by Simopoulos and Robinson, HarperCollins 1999.
- More Nutrients(Vitamins).’Pasture raised chickens have more vitamins E, C, and beta-carotene’ (2) and a lot more.
- Tastes better. Pasture-raised chickens are tastier than commercially raised free-range chickens. Just ask chefs of high-end restaurants!
With the innumerable benefits revealed, the edge that and pasture-raised birds gains is significant. In order to promote healthier, fitter, and cleaner living, researchers and public health committees continue to work in tandem and encourage this tremendously-advantageous shift for beef and poultry consumption.