There’s a lot of talk about the way chickens are raised nowadays, and the truth be told, it can get confusing – health nuts often try to tell us stories about why free range chickens are much better, and why we should all opt to consume them instead of other poultry. But the truth is: free range chickens are indeed a better choice for the consumer, as they do offer many more benefits. But is it really such a big deal? What exactly are the advantages, and why are so many people so adamant about it? For those still in doubt, here are the most essential benefits of free range chicken you should know about.
Better Quality of Meat
This in itself is a very logical and very straightforward biological phenomenon; chickens that are free to roam the property are exercising, and chickens that exercise have a much better meat-to-fat ratio. The quality of meat is superior to that of chickens that do nothing all day but sit at one spot and spend their time eating.
Chickens don’t just eat the feed that are given to them – free range chickens also tend to eat insects and other sources of protein (and minerals) they are naturally designed to eat. Not only is their diet much more varied (and therefore healthier), it’s also cheaper.
Chickens are brought up in a natural environment, so the fact that their meat is more flavourful should come as no surprise; the meat is fuller, their bones are thicker, and their blood contains more oxygen.
Less Stress and Better Health
Making sure the chicken has less stress is a nice thing to do – but it’s also a smart thing to do. A chicken with less stress is healthier, and a healthier chicken tastes better.
Chickens that are raised in the ordinary, traditional setting (indoors, cooped up) are given antibiotics and other medicine to ensure their health. This is not required for free range chickens, as they live a much healthier lifestyle.
And it’s not just the chicken itself that is of much higher quality – the eggs are automatically much better as well. Eggs that are produced by free range chickens, such as those available from the Hungerford farm shop, contain rich amounts of amino acid and protein, as well as omega-3. You notice this with a simple visual inspection of the egg when cracked in a bowl: the product of the free range chicken tends to have a darker, richer-looking yolk. The advantage of the free range is not just for the chicken. Yes, the animal does lead a happier life – but this richer life automatically translates into numerous advantages for us as well.