Little debate.

lauren123

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Feb 3, 2007
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I am wanting to start a friendly debate really. I was watching country file a few nights ago and the subject of chickens came up.

They were intensively farmed and had 28000 chickens in one barn. Which is where they remained. They had feed,water and sunlight along with been able to move around however they only lasted a few months. However they then compared it to organic chickens though on a small level they get the chance to go outdoor. Forage for worms etc. Also the chickens that went outside all had there feathers were as the ones in the barn didnt. These chickens took longer to reach the weight needed.

I am wondering if people are really that bothered about were their food comes from? Does it matter to you? I was a little annoyed as I feel people's believes of 'free range means they can go outside. Rather then in a barn.
One of the agurments that was given was that in the barn set up. Their welfare isn' comprised. That they are checked often. But for me I struggle to see how their welfare can't be in some way as when you have 28000 your not always going to notice the unwell birds.
Sadly the other factor is the price. For the barn one it's 3 quid I think but for the other ones it can be as high as 10 quid!
Just wondering what all your thoughts are on this?
 

Jane&Ziggy

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For my own consumption I only buy the £10 birds - we roast Norfolk Black woodland reared chickens from Sainburys and they are delicious.

For the cafe I buy birds with the red tractor, meaning high standards of husbandry, but I know many of them will be raised as you describe, But our customers won't pay the price for really well reared birds.

People have come to believe that chicken is cheap food (it used to be an expensive treat, before the days of intensive rearing). They are reluctant to pay more than a little for chicken meat. It's a sorry business.

For both cafe and home I only buy proper free range eggs (access to outdoors). Anyone can tell the difference between a happy egg and a sad egg. Customers say "Oh, your scrambled eggs are so delicious!" Yes, because they come from happy hens.
 

newforest

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Mar 15, 2008
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Free range means just free to range, be it outside or in a barn. This is an improvement on battery farming I have seen that close up just before the farmer gave it up.
I am happy with barn free range.
I think your point of checking all 28 thousand birds is valid @lauren123. However if you have that volume actually outside in the fresh air you probably have a very large number of the fox population on the other side of that fence. Having lost chickens to foxes it could potentially ruin someone's business if they got in.
 

Trewsers

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Oct 13, 2004
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I try whenever possible to buy free range bird and eggs. I don't mind paying more, I think sometimes if we ate less then we'd waste less and appreciate what we have more. It is a huge subject and of course I appreciate not everyone can actually afford the free range products. We all cut our cloth accordingly don't we?
 

joellie

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Apr 24, 2011
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I don't eat meat but do buy chicken for my hubby and sons, I also buy free range and sometimes organic . I know the free range are in a barn roaming about which even though it is not ideal it is 100% better than battery hens.
I always buy organic eggs if possible and if not it would have to be free range or I would just go without.
 
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orbvalley

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I despise battery farming of any sort. I think its a disgrace to mankind that we do it and allow it.
I buy my eggs from the stablehand at my livery, they are the best eggs I've ever tasted the yolks are soooo creamy. But he puts an awful lot of work time and effort not to mention the acre of land for a dozen hens! They're cheaper than the supermarket "free range eggs" that don't have any taste to them.
Chicken I buy from our local corner shop, they order it in for you, they're free range organic and very expensive hence chicken is a treat for us! but the carcass makes a superb stock which turns to a jelly when cooled rather than the water you get from a budget chicken.
We buy our beef in the same manner from a farm direct, expensive but the most succulent meat ever.
As our budgets getting tighter and tighter:rolleyes: we have 1 veggie dinner night then 1 meat night repeat repeat repeat. And we have less meat on the plate but its had a happy life and its tasty.

I think every animal deserves a quality of life and that to me means sunlight and space to roam as naturally as possible.
 

Jessey

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Dec 20, 2004
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I don't buy meat being veggie, but eggs I would much rather were free range from hens that go outside, I am not massively fussed about organic (I think the chemicals on grains etc. we are breathing in anyway and I'd hate for birds not to be treated for mite etc. if they needed it).

I personally think we would waste far less if we went back to raising and slaughtering our own animals, even as a veggie I don't begrudge people eating meat, I have far more respect for those who harvest their own though as I think they waste far less of the animal and appreciate it that bit more.
 

squidsin

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Feb 16, 2013
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I'm vegetarian and buy high welfare meat for the family. I DO care where it comes from but I don't think a lot of people do, really, so long as it's cheap. I'm not judging - times are hard and properly free range meat is expensive!
 

mystiquemalaika

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Jan 7, 2013
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Just as an aside organic often is not at all what peoole expect. They can be raised in god awful conditions but be classed as organic due to the types of feed and lack of meds given, thats all they need to be classed as organic, but conditions can be as bad as the battery hens and it goes across all animals. Free range is a better life style for them. Red tractor while the husbandry side is good the conditions are often to be desired sadly, the husbandry is kept so high as whoever is looking after the animals gets paid per head so they want as little death as possible to line their pockets. Its a sad state of affairs. We have free range eggs from a local guy and buy free range meat where possible. I only eat chicken and fish and its at mist once a week, very rarely bacon/sausage but its been a long time as ive been working with pigs and its just sad to see. Im a hypocrite really but i was vegetarian for quite some time and to be honest i felt terrible.
 
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KP nut

I'd rather be riding.
Dec 22, 2008
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I only buy or eat ethically reared meat. Even budget supermarkets like Aldi sell free range chickens, sausages and ham so it does not need to cost a fortune. And, like others have said, I would rather only eat quality meat once or twice a week than eat cheap meat every day.
 

Skib

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Dec 21, 2003
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I always buy Sainsburys organic free range eggs - usually Medium as that is said to be easier on the hens.

Like Jane I use JS free range outdoor chickens or chicken legs - often with a purple label (taste the difference). I dont buy organic, tho for home made soup organic chicken wings from Waitrose can be very economical. I dont think of ours as £10 birds, nor always Norfolk black. I usually pick out birds that are smallish, joint them into 4 pieces at home (2 legs and 2 breasts to freeze) and boil up the carcass so we have chicken stock for risotto etc.
I learned a lot of my cooking from the great Simon Hopkinson and he bought whole chickens and subdivided them like this. So if the chicken costs £8 or so and it feeds 2 of us for three meals, that is hardly expensive.
We do buy chicken livers and there is not usually the welfare or organic choice with those. We have a Sainsburys of limited size.
I am not very logical about buying organic. There was a scare about soil pollution of root veg, years ago - so we eat organic potatoes and organic carrots and onions. But not really fussed about anything else.
For years we ate no beef but then resumed about a year ago. Our Pork is so called outdoor, but most pigs live indoors most of their lives.
And many less common meats, dont offer the choice or free range. I simply go to the shop where I can buy it - making a special trip - buy goat, quail, French farmed rabbit from a Hallal butcher and pigeon, hare, venison from an up market game butcher. The game is rudely hunted and slaughtered, I suppose.
My logic is that we dont eat meat every day. Risotto, pasta, dahl, Texan beans, middle Eastern mezze things and veggie curry are all cheap to make and healthy to eat.
It is said that, as one gets older, one's attention focuses mainly on food - and I do seem to have returned to cooking.
 

Ale

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Feb 8, 2012
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28,000 in one barn doesn't sound very free range to me. Are there laws in place that dictate how much space must be provided for each individual animal? I can't imagine they would suffer being kept indoors provided they had enough space and enrichment. However I bet they don't have either.
 

orbvalley

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Jan 15, 2008
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28,000 in one barn doesn't sound very free range to me. Are there laws in place that dictate how much space must be provided for each individual animal? I can't imagine they would suffer being kept indoors provided they had enough space and enrichment. However I bet they don't have either.

I believe a chicken is allowed an A4 sized piece of paper as the minimum law:mad::mad::mad: That really disgusts me.
Its just a personal thing, I don't rage if others are different for whatever their reasons;)
 
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Jane&Ziggy

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As you say @orbvalley it's worth buying a decent chicken for the quality of everything you get off it. I usually buy a largish top-quality free range bird. We have it roasted. We have one dish of left-over roasted. We have chicken sandwiches or a pasta bake with chicken in. We get a litre or so of fantastic stock which makes a great soup or sauce. And the dogs get the pickings! So nothing is wasted at all and everything is delicious.
 

Ale

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Feb 8, 2012
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I believe a chicken is allowed an A4 sized piece of paper as the minimum law:mad::mad::mad: That really disgusts me.
Its just a personal thing, I don't rage if others are different for whatever their reasons;)

Well that's tiny but possibly the same equivalent that some horses are kept their whole lives ? I think there should be laws for cage sizes for every single animal.
 

newforest

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Mar 15, 2008
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I was about to liken this to horses. We have some that have no winter turnout at all on some yards besides a barn.
Some with a few hours grazing and when they do go out it's not onto the guide of one acre per horse. One yard near me has five on one acre as they get little paddocks, it's a business and five brings in more money.

@Ale there is a minimum cage size for the enriched hens.
 
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