Well Duh!

It seems that "someone" is trying to prove that free range chickens are no better or possibly worse than caged chickens.

Ok, here is an excerpt from an article I read today, the link to the full story can be found at the end of this article:

In an effort to eat compassionately, many people choose free-range chickens and eggs — assuming that the birds lived happy, high-quality lives before they became dinner. A free-range label, however, doesn’t guarantee your poultry had a worry-free existence.

Swedish researchers have discovered that, if farmers aren’t extremely careful, bacterial infections like E. coli can run rampant through free-range chicken flocks. The finding raises questions about what’s best for both animals and people.

This is what they call "free range"


That sounds pretty ominous, why do you suppose that is? Here is another excerpt:

Most Swedish farmers made the switch from cages to litter-based housing between 2001 and 2004. Around the same time, more dead hens started showing up at the Institute.

To further investigate, veterinary pathologist Oddvar Fossum and colleagues analyzed the necropsies of 914 hens from 172 flocks. The researchers found that as many as 10 times more hens were submitted from litter-based and free-range setups than from caged systems during those years.

Compared to caged birds, free-ranging hens had more bacterial infections (the most common cause of death), more parasites, and more viruses. They were also more likely to become victims of violent pecking and cannibalistic attacks, the scientists reported this month in BioMed Central’s open access journal Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica.


Again, this is considered "free range"


This sounds like something horrible, why not just go back to caged chickens that never see the light of day, never touch the ground, never breath fresh air…surely this is the better way.




Flock size was part of the problem, Fossum said. Cages held a maximum of 10 birds. But free-range flocks sometimes contained as many as 35,000 chickens. Even though these chickens had the freedom to hop outside and roll in the dirt, they were more likely to bump into each other, fight, and share diseases.


Ahhh, now this may be the problem, you think? Any time you have mega huge numbers of animals living together (as nature NEVER intended), you WILL have problems, disease, parasites, bacterial infections, excess aggression..


Nutritionally, Porter added, free-range eggs and meat are virtually identical to the same products from caged chickens.


Well, what are these so called free range chickens eating? Are they getting a healthy and natural nutritional mix of foods, or are they getting chemical and hormone laden food? This is why it is better to have smaller flocks, allow them to free range, feed them quality food, let them scratch in the dirt, let them feel the sun, raised by a farmer who knows his/her chickens. A small farmer or individual who is raising a reasonable number of chickens gets to know their chickens and knows when they are getting sick, or needs some extra attention.

How dare they say that free range is bad, how dare they say that their way is better. Can you tell that I’m ticked off about this?

I know that not everyone can raise chickens, but there are many people in cities as well as suburban areas who would like to have a few chickens running around in the back yard. Unfortunately too many cities and suburbs have laws prohibiting people from having livestock of any sort. Some cities are allowing people to have chickens, usually hens only, no roosters. If enough people get together and go before their council, I believe this issue would become a non-issue. Let’s take back our backyards and stop buying chicken and eggs from the big companies who sponsor studies that tell us that free range chicken is bad. I just wonder who sponsored this story? Who benefits from this?

All I have to say is Duh! Now, this is the way chickens aught to live… Now, this IS free range.

Go here to read the whole article:

EDIT Feb 2, 08
I know that there are many compassionate farmers, both large and small, who do take proper care of the animals in their charge. This message does not refer to them. I am talking about those in the industry (both large and small) who do not properly take care of their animals no matter what the reason, whether they just get too big (too many animals to take care of), or just don’t care about anything BUT the bottom line at the expense of the animals. I commend those who do take proper care of their animals.

I am not a tree hugging, vegetarian, save the whale (or whatever animal is in vogue right now) activist who wants to shut down all meateries, not that there’s anything wrong with that :)

I eat meat and do not apologize for it. I just want people to understand where their food comes from.

It has also been brought to my attention that the government does not allow hormones to be given to chickens, so I’ll add that here as well, I don’t know if they are allowed or not allowed to give hormones, but I’ll include that statement.


14 Responses

  1. Thanks Chad, I agree. At some point our (collective) lifestyle will collapse, and we will be forced to go back to the “old ways”, when that happens, I’ll be ready.


  2. Ah.. the legacy of the self sustained farm home and functional agrarian community units. I think we and chickens will be much happier when we as humans take a sincere investigation into how we live now in relation to home and food compared to how we lived 100 or even 50 years ago. Closer to the source for me thanks.

  3. Hmmmm . . . sounds to me that it is just like using the word “ORGANIC” to imply that something is grown in a way that would make it totally safe to consume . . . when we all know that some of the products that pass the “organic” label are more dangerous to us than some that don’t qualify.
    To me it is an abuse of terms, and requires that new, updated terminology that defines the true perameters and conditions are needed.
    But of course even those new terms can again be perverted.

    1. 4un4me, thanks for your comment, yes, it is true that words can be perverted, on packaging companies can almost say anything they want. But honestly, I prefer to have less regulation, not more. Sure it would be great to be able to blindly believe everything written on a package, but any time we allow the government or other agencies to have more control, we just don’t know where they will stop, this may be good but the next rule they make might not be as good for us, the FDA comes to mind… they would like nothing more than to take away all vitamins, herbs and other supplements, but don’t get me started there! :)


  4. Poultry Farmer, it sounds like we need more poultry farmers like you! You care about your chickens, and you look after them properly. Thanks for dropping by and taking the time to leave your comment, I appreciate each and every one. :)

    PS, I’m not a do gooder tree hugging vegetarian activist, I just don’t like reading propaganda that certain people/groups in government like to promote, I couldn’t allow this to pass unchallenged.


  5. Well…I was just browsing the net and come upon this article. This is funny, funny stuff. Anybody can place picture in a article and call it whatever they want then everyone believes that it is the truth(notice how old the pic’s look!!!) In any given area of LIFE there are people who misuse their industries. I guess we should all stop eating peanuts, tomato, and lettuce because science has proven that they can feel pain!!! I raise cage free poultry in an controlled environment and guess what? If they are overcrowded I loose money, if they get to hot I loose money, if they get to cold I loose money, if they get startled I loose money. They stay between 65 to 75 degrees year round. I Would even sleep in the house with them(my wife has threatened me) because it is very peaceful. I enjoy sitting with them while they sleep because it is relaxing and some times I can find problems that may disturb them. OUR GOAL AS A POULTRY PRODUCER IS A HAPPY CHICKEN, BECAUSE A UNHAPPY CHICKEN IS A PROFIT LOSE!!!! If you have never raised chickens then you do not know that the most cruel creature to a chicken is a chicken. The males will kill the females from mating, they cull their own on natural instinct. It is illegal to give hormones to chicken!!! The FDA checks the poultry industry continuously but because a previous comment said so then it must be true… lol..Get a clue people their are lies on both sides of the cause, but the vast majority of producers tries to do what is right.

  6. This is insane. There’s no way they can actually call that free range. Give me a BREAK!!!

    We raised chickens and turkeys ~ really free range ~ 3 acres to roam for quite a while. Unfortunately the local bobcats got a bit of our flock.

    Now that we are home in the eve to make sure they get back inside we are going to start a new flock in the spring. I can’t wait to let my 3 year old experience raising chickens.

    Glad I found you blog, I’m looking forward to learning more about your off-grid adventures. It’s my dream to tell our rural electric coop to take a hike!


  7. It’s just as well that Pilgrim’s Pride filed for bankruptcy in December. I grew up with free range chickens on our little place, and it didn’t look like what these yahoos are calling free range. Good grief, how can they even think that would be sanitary. I’m planning on having my own little brood for eggs and meat, but they will all live quite comfortably I assure you. This is just another attempt to inform the masses what they should believe so that you and I with our “free range” chickens will be seen as the bad guy one day. God help us.

  8. Once again the drive by media threw junk out and feel they were righteous because they quantified it with a bunch of leftover facts from clueless researcher looking for a check. Who defined the definitions of “Free Range”???

    This does however seem to be common. I recently attended a public meeting on a dairy that wanted to open on tribal land here in Washington. To the thinkers they justified every aspect about the dairy with fact and figures. Accounting for everything (or so they thought) including using the methane to generate electricity.

    You would have thought that they would have asked the tribal counsel first, before they wasted thousands putting on the dog and pony show they preformed. I sat there in shock to find out that the public meeting was not even close to the location of the dairy. Fortunately many of the tribal members showed up and asked good questions, but again they missed the mark with questions like: “Will you be selling your electricity generated to Tribal Electric?” I thought Tribal Land required all uses of the land be approved by tribal council.

    Common Sense is lost in the “drive by media” and the group dynamic seems to be blinded by the misdirection of the magicians.

  9. Smaller flocks is not the answer for commercial farmers. Smaller flocks means less money. Thats why they switched to free range, more chickens per square foot means more profit and even if the death rate goes up its still more than offset by the increased profitability.

    Sadly, until I read this article, I assumed “free range” meant they were out in the pasture like cows, not that they were inside buildings like that. No wonder they advertise the “free range” nomenclature, it has automatic assumptions built in.

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