It’s amazing to see and experience the differences between conventionally raised chicken and pasture-raised poultry. We talk of all of it as “chicken,” but in the end, they seem to be two very different products. Why do some people go to the trouble of sourcing pastured chicken when they could just grab whatever is on sale at the local grocery store?
Different Priorities For Different People
Some consumers are primarily concerned about the nutrient profile of what they’re putting in their bodies and feeding their families. They want a meal option with a healthier fatty acid and Vitamin E profile, a certainty that the chickens weren’t fed GMOs or corn- or soy-based feed.
Others are more motivated by animal welfare. They don’t want to support a system of industrial production that doesn’t respect the chicken-ness of the chicken: It is important to them that their food live the kind of life they were meant to, and even have the most humane end-of-life that can be provided. That means that chickens get to scratch in the dirt, hunt, and forage for bugs and greens and maybe even enjoy the sunrise each morning. And their processing is done with the least amount of pain and stress, while the waste becomes nutrition for the soil.
There are also those who see chickens as an important element in the symphony of nature, and it’s important to them that the chicken they eat had a part to play in improving some small part of the world. Chickens on pasture improve the soil with their droppings, eat bugs and pests, and even help stop parasites that threaten other livestock. Using the same land for different species (chickens and beef, for example) is a practice that is both good stewardship of resources and of benefit to all.
All of the Above
Here at Rafter W Ranch all of these are important to us, and we’ve implemented practices that meet all of these standards. Our broiler chickens are really on pasture, enjoying greens and bugs and helping improve our land. We process them onsite so as to ensure the most humane and least stressful process, and we never, ever use corn, soy, or GMOs in their feed. Pastured chicken is a seasonal product, so stocking a freezer for winter use is handy. Check our shop for availability.