Chicken farming has evolved over the years, and to meet the demands of the consumer, many corporations raise their chickens in large barns that are stuffed full. While this is great for meeting the demands of chicken products in the grocery stores, these chickens leave much to be desired by the consumer.
For the average small farmer, pasture-raised chickens are a great option to produce a high-quality chicken that is happy and healthy (and healthier for you!). Pasture-raised chickens are raised directly on forage. They have access to the grass, insects, and sunshine every day, while also having a shelter if needed.
These chickens are kept in a bottomless structure that is moved daily to ensure that the chickens have access to the freshest grass possible. This system provides many benefits for the land, the chickens, and the consumer.
Benefits for the Land
While it might seem that the land can take care of itself, pasture-raised chickens do the soil a great justice. Chickens will eat the weeds and the insects that can cause issues for the soil system. This means the soil is improved as the chickens work their magic. This also means that farmers are using less herbicide and pesticide to control the weeds and insects, which is overall better for the environment and the land.
Some farmers will rotate their chickens in pastures where other livestock is frequently placed. Chickens, because they eat the bugs and the forage, will help keep parasites down. This helps reduce disease for other livestock.
Benefits for the Bird and You
Not only do pasture-raised chickens help improve the land, but they also are healthier in general, which means they are healthier for the consumer than the average caged chicken. Not only are pasture-raised chickens not given antibiotics unless they are acutely sick, but they are generally healthier because of their environment.
Pasture-raised chickens have the freedom to move around more than caged chickens. This means they get more exercise. The exercise helps birds to stay fit, which leads to a lower fat content than your typical store-bought chicken products. This lower fat content is great for your cardiovascular health and cholesterol levels. The exercise also leads to higher protein content and higher levels of collagen, which helps reduce joint pain.
Because pasture-raised chickens consume a lot of forage, they contain less omega-6 and more omega-3. Omega-3 tends to be less inflammatory than omega-6. It is also possible that it can improve cognitive function and reduce the risk of many chronic diseases.
Because these chickens are raised outside, they also have access to the sun, which generally makes beings (human or animal) happier and healthier. Pasture-raised chickens also contain higher concentrations of various nutrients required in your diet.
Pasture-raised chickens are a great alternative for people who want to have overall healthier chicken products, as well as support a local farmer. You can purchase pasture-raised chicken and chicken parts at our farm store.
Our pasture-raised chickens are raised in conjunction with 7K Farms in Adair, OK. In addition to their daily access to forage, these chickens are also fed non-GMO mixed grains with no antibiotics or growth hormones.