Free range chickens are happier chickens because they have large areas to roam and search for their own food. They are free from growth hormones and and their moist and tender flesh is the result of nature and not of man made intervention. A healthy chicken, therefore, is one that has had some measure of joy in their life before being slaughtered and sold for food. At least this is the thinking behind eating free-range chickens.
Taking that thought further, precisely what goes into the diet and life style of free roaming chickens, turkeys and other domestic fowl? Quite a lot of thought and expertise, according to Mother Earth News. They explain the process from egg hatched to the first juicy morsel that hits the diner’s palate. Overall, its a fascinating story they tell. At first they explain that free range chickens does not mean they are left totally on their own. No, they are looked after and are housed in chicken houses with rails they can perch on to sleep, and where they are kept from outside weather in harsh climates.
The free range explanation in their own words “But from the first warm days of March till the snow returns in earnest late the next December, our chickens range—free as a bird, you might say—to work for their own supper.” That of tells us they are, to a degree, subject to a few hardships all earth born creatures have to endure, but the point is, they do have a season where they can simply be chickens and do what chickens do without having to be cooped up for life with no thought of a little extra delight or two thrown in for good measure.
All fun aside, what makes free ranged chickens healthy is the type of food they eat. It is, for the most part, all natural stuff. They are not especially groomed to appear to be plump and tasty by adding extra chemicals, they get that way naturally. These guys at Mother Earth News that describe the process so wonderfully, add that there is nothing new about growing chickens in this way, it used to be the way for all chickens. Families had their own chicken coops and grew their own chickens for meat and for eggs.
The processing plants took over this job from individual farmers. and instead of farmers using their land to grow vegetables and food for themselves and their horses, pigs, and chickens, they gave it up and started working for the processing plants. In other words, industry took over where farmers left off. And in this trade off, which had to be if the easy life style affluent people know today was to be, the processors speeded up chicken hatching and growing. What was not borrowed from the farmers was the caring, and yes, an element of fondness for their flocks. They felt justified in eating them, knowing they had served a worthy purpose on their own. They had been well cared for and what better life could there be for a chicken.
Now, of course, it is not necessarily guilt that cause chicken breeders to brings back this element of a lost life style and to proudly proclaim their birds have lived a life of relatively happiness, it is excellent marketing. Birds without antibiotics and growth chemicals promote better health in humans.