You all know that we invested in new, breeder quality chickens earlier this spring. We searched the country high and low for birds that were not only breeder quality but also that they have been raised and selected for egg and meat production and fed a non-GMO diet.
Commercially Raised Chickens Versus Truly Free-ranged Chickens
Every hatchery feeds their birds GMO feed. They are not selected for quality and all the eggs are injected with vaccines. Every egg. Furthermore, unless it is stated that they are a heritage breed, you are likely getting a Cornish cross (for meat birds). These are considered by most people who are familiar with the subject as GMO chickens. Although they are not genetically modified the same way as say GMO corn, they are absolutely genetically modified through an intensive breeding program in which only two hatcheries in the country have the Frankenstein breeding stock to do so and with very inhumane results.
Cornish cross chickens have been bred in such a way that they reach butchering size in as little as 12 weeks. A healthy heritage or even a normal bird from the hatchery would take 20 weeks to be ready for butcher. They may be a little smaller but I'm sure you would be fine with that once you learn how the Cornish cross lives in their short little lives.
Commercially raised chickens- everything in your run of the line grocery store, are raised in long "houses" . They only receive artificially light and have at most a 1 to 1 1/2 feet of space each that's the so called free range birds. That is considered "free range" because they are not locked up in a cage. There are thousands of birds in each house and by the way the houses only get cleaned out about once every 4 years. Because of their super charged growth rate they often get broken legs and have heart attacks. As a result of their confined and cramped (literally walking on each other, hurt/sick chickens, and even dead chickens) disease is rampant, including E-coli, so they are given vaccines and medicated feed. But still the death rate is high. Every day people come through and pick out the dead birds and then bury them alive! Yes, they are supposed to wring their neck first, like that's much better, but that "takes to long" so they just throw them in a pit then put the lid on and walk away leaving them to starve and suffocate to death. It is a horrible industry. This is not what we want when we sit done to the dinner table. This is cruel and unnecessary. And this so called food does not nourish our bodies.
Organic means that they were given organic food but it doesn't mean that they were raised humanely. A lot of big companies have started an organic division so they can get a piece of profit from the organic pie. That doesn't mean they believe in the value of organic and humanely raised animals. There are a few companies out there that are raising their birds humanely and some even organically on a somewhat large scale. You have to research the company and know what to look for. Like I told you earlier, "free range" doesn't necessarily mean that they are out wondering the prairie. It is highly unlikely. It is much better to look for pasture raised birds which are moved to new pasture on a consistent basis. The very best option is to KNOW YOUR FARMER. Wherever you live, either near us or across the world, know your farmer. Do a quick search and find local farmers in your area and buy directly from them. Go to their farm and see how the birds are raised for yourself. If the farmer doesn't want you to visit then they must be hiding something. Our customers are always welcome to visit our farm. This is the best way to buy all your meat.
Now you can see why we were so very excited to find our birds! It has been several years since we purchased any birds from a hatchery and almost 10 years since we have bought any chicken from the store. But breeding hatchery chickens is not the same. We needed top quality birds to start our breeding program. Now that we have them we will be breeding one line for layers and one line for meat birds so that we can provide more eggs and chicken to our CSA customers. Our chickens receive a completely non-GMO and organic diet, including fresh greens and they are free ranged-truly free ranged. They literally roam the prairie freely. Ahh, isn't that nice! And of course all this means that our birds are more nutritious too.
Happy, healthy, clean, eating,
I have done much research on this subject. We are deeply concerned with what we feed our family and take it very seriously. I didn't site the facts in this post but the information is easily found all over the internet if you would like to do further research. There is nothing wrong with eating meat but that doesn't mean we don't need to consider the quality of life of the animals that are raised for this purpose.
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Hello, I'm Jaci. I look forward to sharing my gardening and homestead adventures to help you reach your gardening goals! If you have any questions then don't be shy, I'd love to hear from you. Send me a message and I will be glad to help!