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27 April 2016

The Free Range Chicken Debate! – Things that the farmers don’t want us to know!

Rolling green meadows and blue skies, pastures as far as the eye can see, ah the Countryside, what more could a person or indeed in this case free range chicken want!! This is quite often the idyllic, picturesque image we paint in our heads when the term ‘Free range chicken’ is mentioned in context with our food however unfortunately, just as it has begun, this is often where the fairytale ends.

The standards, definitions and meanings of the phrase have over the years become blurred, tainted and misleading. For example did you know that a pen/cage gate has only to be left open for 5 minutes a day to be meeting free range chicken standards, and even then the birds do not need to spend time outside or that outdoor space for roaming is generously classified as a mere 1sqm per 19, 2kg chickens, a stark contrast to what is being promised, yet the free-range label has still stuck!

46% of Protein consumed by the average person in the UK is chicken, so it comes as no surprise that we as a poultry loving nation care about our chicken choices, but is free-range chicken, excuse the pun, all it is cracked up to be?
Well to begin, a recent study into some 800,000 chickens kept on free range chicken farms within the UK found that our chickens need access to an outdoor area for at least 8 hours per day however the maximum number observed outside during any one time was less than 15% of the total flock, furthermore the study concluded that these painted pictures of paradise with wide open fields are simply not a preferred habitat. In fact it is instead a sheltered environment with cover from wind, sun and predators that makes a happier bird!
Whilst free-range chicken farming can almost certainly guarantee one thing…. they may never step a foot outside, even more staggering is the fact that they are slaughtered after just 56 days before making their way onto supermarket shelves with that prestigious sticker.
Food for thought for the next time you are choosing free range chicken just for the label?
Our chicken is carefully sourced from the highest standard of farm assured factories and all of our partners facilitate in BRC (British Retail Consortium) approved facilities meaning that we assure quality, care and humane farming in each of our iconic golden bags. Don’t settle for anything less than Gold Standard Chicken :)!
On a final…. And well…. Completely unrelated note, did you know that chickens are the closest living relative to the T-Rex….. For a one way ticket to tyrannosaurus gains visit…..https://www.mygsn.co.uk/steam-cooked-chicken-fillets