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The Benefits of choosing free range over cage chicken.
The nutritional value that comes from free range chicken.
Important facts you need to know if you are eating chicken on a daily basis.
FREE RANGE CHICKEN HEALTH
Happy Hens are Healthy Hens – Free range chicken produce has many benefits over commercially farmed chicken. They have a higher nutritional value and the hens themselves are healthier than the caged birds kept under artificial light and fed a steady commercial diet. True free-range chickens are those that range outdoors on pasture. Meaning they do what all chickens do naturally: eat bugs, greens, and whatever leftovers they can scrounge or scratch up. The challenge for the homesteader, however, comes in the form of keeping and managing a flock of free, which can lead to a higher cost of production and therefore a higher retail cost.
So as usual it is a matter of getting what you pay for. Free range chickens are simply healthier, which can be immediately recognized by the eggs they produce. Healthy Hens produce eggs with a deep golden yolk where as a chicken that is gravely ill, under heavy and constant stress or poorly fed will produce eggs with very pale yolks. Ask any chicken farmer and they can vouch for that!
Free-range chicken eggs produced the following results:
- 1/3 less cholesterol
- 1/4 less saturated fat
- 2/3 more vitamin A
- 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
- 3 times more vitamin E
- 7 times more beta-carotene
Free Range chicken Breast also usually carries a higher ticket value due to the same costs involved with maintaining the hens, especially the feed. Basically, you are what you eat. After all, the free-range chicken’s diet is all natural and varied, while the caged hen eats only what is placed in front of her. The feeds given to commercial hens are the cheapest possible mixture of corn, soy, and/or cottonseed meals, with many types of additives mixed in. These additives often include growth hormones, meat and bone meals, as well as antibiotics and chemicals, like arsenic, to keep the chickens awake longer and producing more. The commercial chicken has a much shorter lifespan due to stress, illness and general disease than does a free-range hen - unless, of course, the free-range hen falls prey to a natural predator.
Food is even more on-trend than fashion right now, and the conventional versus organic debate is at an all-time high.
Once upon a time, details about the bird's origin and wellbeing might have fallen by the wayside, but shoppers’ growing hunger for healthy and sustainable foods is a reflection of our increasing awareness about what we are eating, where it has come from and what we are feeding our families.
With the Australian Organics industry now worth an estimated $1.27 billion and predicted growth up to 15 per cent each year, the facts speak for themselves - consumers are willingly splashing their cash for a healthy and happy chook.