Saturday, May 18, 2013

Traditional Chicken Farming versus Modern Poultry Farming Part 1

Free Range Chickens being fed
Free Range Chickens being fed (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Part 1: A Chickens Life

The first in a multi-part series comparing modern poultry farms to the more traditional Free Range Chicken. Modern farming methods have not only removed the humanity from poultry farming, they have taken the nutritional advantages of one of our healthiest protein sources and turned it into just another form of fat for us to poison ourselves with.

Free Range Chickens

Chicken raised by traditional farming methods were allowed to roam. My Grandmother called them yard birds and that is what they were. These chickens were raised in an open coop and allowed to free-range during the day. They foraged for the majority of their food consuming insects and grasses as well as the little food that was given to them. In return these chickens fertilized the soil in the yard and kept the insect population under control.

Broiler House Prisons

Chickens being transported in trucks, presumab...
Chickens being transported in trucks, presumably for slaughter. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Modern farming methods have done away with these free-range chickens. Chickens are packed into long closed Chicken Houses. In the European Union and Australia these are generally 150 meters long, 15 meters wide and will house 40,000 to 60,000 chickens. In the United States houses vary greatly in size but a recommended flock density of one bird per square foot is the norm.

Lights burning overhead are kept dim to encourage calm in the flock. The chickens live in a perpetual twilight broken only by the 4 hour rest period they receive each day for sleep. This is the minimal amount of rest that, research has found, will allow the broilers to survive till harvest. The other twenty hours of their day is spent feeding and drinking. Food is never more than 3 meters from any chicken.

Chickens will spend five weeks (average 5lb weight), their entire life, in these living conditions. Twenty hours a day in twilight. 4 hours a day in darkness and twenty-four hours a day standing in their own filth. Chicken houses are not, normally, cleaned during a growing cycle.
A commercial meat chicken production house in ...
A commercial meat chicken production house in Florida, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This form of poultry farming has been indicated as a NPS (None Point Source) polluter by the USEPA (United States Environmental Protection Agency). It is considered a major contributor to air, water, and soil pollution. If you have ever lived close to one of these Poultry farms you won't doubt any of these charges.

Free Range or Broiler House

This article was just to introduce you to a subject I plan to cover in-depth. There will be more to come. Mental and physical health, environmental and ecological impact, Food cost and nutrition all these subjects come into play when discussing this subject and hopefully I will be able to share some useful information on all of them. Making educated decisions is the responsibility of each of us. I don't judge another person's choices. I simply hope to give you the information you need to make those decisions.
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1 comment:

  1. I like your "matter of fact" approach to this subject. It is an emotional one for me. I'm vegetarian, but do eat eggs. They are organic- free range. There is little more I can say without becoming emotional and judgmental.
    Great article again Gregory!


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