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Eat Yourself Healthy

The truth behind organic vs free range chicken

The truth behind organic vs free range chicken

I recently went on a mission to learn more about the production methods behind  organic chicken compared to free range, because of the common misconception that free range chicken and eggs are the same as organically produced. I believe much of the confusion amongst consumers, around the  term “FREE RANGE” stems from labelling that can infer a product is organic, but to be officially certified organic, a product must display the official logo.

My organic chook expedition lead me to Inglewood Farms in South West Qld and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised to discover their impressive operation was not only aimed at supporting the welfare of the chickens and land through organic, sustainable farming methods, but their organic ‘paddock to plate’ approach aims to provide consumers with the healthiest, organic chicken possible. Inglewood Farm’s chickens have 42% more sheds space, than their free range cousins, whilst having access to consume their natural diet from bugs and worms. Livestock that consume a diet as close to nature as possible, are far superior for our health than that which is tampered with by humans, through the addition of artificial additives, chemicals, hormones or anti-biotics. I also checked out the organic feed used to supplement the chickens diet and I’m happy to report that even this has been nutritionally balanced in order to produce the healthiest, quality chook possible.

To simplify the key differences between free range vs organically reared chickens, I have included the table below to illustrate.

So as you can see although both free range and organically reared chickens see the light of day and feel the dirt under their feet, compared to their caged reared hens, this is where the similarities end.

My big gripe with non-organic chicken, is the fact they are exposed to antibiotics for the purpose of enhancing growth and preventing and treating infection from microbes such as coccidiosis.  As humans we have already overdosed on antibiotics which has lead to the serious and growing phenomenon of antibiotic resistance.  So we don’t need to add further insult to injury by consuming foods that have been exposed to antibiotics.   Chicken is a regular staple for so many,  and is one such food I recommend you always buy organic to avoid exposure to antibiotics, as well as other chemical additives contained in the feed non-organic chickens consume.

But aside from increasing the spread and risk of antibiotic resistance, there is also the impact antibiotic exposure has on our guts! For those of you who have purchased a copy of my e-book Eat Yourself Healthy In 28 days, you will have learnt more about the impact our digestive system has on our overall health.   Damage caused to our intestinal wall through medications such as antibiotics,  has a systemic impact on the function of every cell within our body, primarily because of the pivotal role our intestinal flora (good bacteria ) colonies, play in maintaining our immune, brain and digestive health. My advice when it comes to food, is if you wouldn’t choose to eat or drink chemicals then why eat foods that have been exposed to them? Because as you all know ‘you are what you eat’, which is the most important reason for choosing chemical free organic chicken.

Ill be trying out the Inglewood farms organic chicken next week so I’ll be sure to share the recipe, but in the mean time, here is a link to one of my most popular chicken recipes, perfect for the fresh fig season!

What are your thoughts eating  organic vs free range chicken?  Are you concerned by what goes into your food?

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21 Comments
  1. hi good morning!Is inglewood chicken halal?how’s the chicken killed?

  2. hi good morning!Is inglewood chicken halal?how’s the chicken killed?

  3. Hi Jacqui, that’s also true, because of where I live I find it difficult to find certified organic chicken like Inglewood, but my butcher sells chicken that has not been fed antibiotics or GM feed, so that is also good enough! Good on you for being so conscious of sourcing chickens that are humanely reared and AB free!:)

  4. Hi Jacqui, that’s also true, because of where I live I find it difficult to find certified organic chicken like Inglewood, but my butcher sells chicken that has not been fed antibiotics or GM feed, so that is also good enough! Good on you for being so conscious of sourcing chickens that are humanely reared and AB free!:)

  5. HI Karyn, Inglewood does use a portion of soy in the chicken feed but it is organic and definitely NOT GMO. The rest of the feed comes from other grains higher in omega 3 essential fatty acids. Sadly its difficult to get even organic chicken that has not been fed some soy, albeit organic, but the residual levels would be very low by the time we eat it and we should be more concerned about hidden soy in other foods as that’s the biggest concern 🙁

  6. HI Karyn, Inglewood does use a portion of soy in the chicken feed but it is organic and definitely NOT GMO. The rest of the feed comes from other grains higher in omega 3 essential fatty acids. Sadly its difficult to get even organic chicken that has not been fed some soy, albeit organic, but the residual levels would be very low by the time we eat it and we should be more concerned about hidden soy in other foods as that’s the biggest concern 🙁

  7. yes so many people fall for the green healthy looking packaging of free range chickens and automatically assume that it is the same as organic! Glad your this is not the case
    now 🙂

  8. yes so many people fall for the green healthy looking packaging of free range chickens and automatically assume that it is the same as organic! Glad your this is not the case
    now 🙂

  9. Hi Annette, chickens are not genetically modified but rather non-organic chickens large size comes from being fed anti-biotics which increases weight, as well as prevents and treats disease that chickens are prone to contracting in caged environments. Inglewood farms have fewer chickens per square metre than both free range and cage reared hens so they are able to forage for their natural diet outside more freely and are not administered any anti biotics and are fed organic feed. Hope this helps. 🙂 Sally

  10. Hi Annette, chickens are not genetically modified but rather non-organic chickens large size comes from being fed anti-biotics which increases weight, as well as prevents and treats disease that chickens are prone to contracting in caged environments. Inglewood farms have fewer chickens per square metre than both free range and cage reared hens so they are able to forage for their natural diet outside more freely and are not administered any anti biotics and are fed organic feed. Hope this helps. 🙂 Sally

  11. I can see the benefits of eating the organic chicken but it is still the issue are they GMO chickens in the first instance? Most of the meat? chickens now come from chickens that have been made by design in a test tube for extra size etc and that to me is a very big issue. Some of these so called meat chickens are so big they can’t walk around and it is disgusting and non humane. So all the organic feed and free ranging is not going to change this problem. So my question is Inglewood chickens an all natural chook in the beginning?

  12. I can see the benefits of eating the organic chicken but it is still the issue are they GMO chickens in the first instance? Most of the meat? chickens now come from chickens that have been made by design in a test tube for extra size etc and that to me is a very big issue. Some of these so called meat chickens are so big they can’t walk around and it is disgusting and non humane. So all the organic feed and free ranging is not going to change this problem. So my question is Inglewood chickens an all natural chook in the beginning?

  13. Hello, and thanks for the information about chickens.
    I’ve been buying “Inglewood” chickens for years.
    I find some other “brands” have a smell I don’t like.
    My recent concerns, after hearing what I’m hoping is myth, are
    are about chicken welfare.
    1. Do the young males get put into a machine that mulches them up alive? Albeit very quickly.
    2. Do the chickens have their beaks snipped off?
    3. How are the chickens that we eat killed?
    4. How much time do they get to “free range”?
    I would love answers to these questions.
    Many thanks, Evelyn

  14. Hello, and thanks for the information about chickens.
    I’ve been buying “Inglewood” chickens for years.
    I find some other “brands” have a smell I don’t like.
    My recent concerns, after hearing what I’m hoping is myth, are
    are about chicken welfare.
    1. Do the young males get put into a machine that mulches them up alive? Albeit very quickly.
    2. Do the chickens have their beaks snipped off?
    3. How are the chickens that we eat killed?
    4. How much time do they get to “free range”?
    I would love answers to these questions.
    Many thanks, Evelyn

  15. I think the most important thing is to know where your butcher gets the chickens from. Our butcher shop offers both organic certified and free range poultry, however we can assure our customers that our free range is actually everything our organic is, apart from the certification element of the feed that the birds consume. They both come from family operated farms….both have full access to the outdoors….neither are not given any antibiotics nor are exposed to chemicals or fertilisers at all. There’s free range and there’s free range!! Know your butcher and make sure he/she knows their farmers!

  16. I think the most important thing is to know where your butcher gets the chickens from. Our butcher shop offers both organic certified and free range poultry, however we can assure our customers that our free range is actually everything our organic is, apart from the certification element of the feed that the birds consume. They both come from family operated farms….both have full access to the outdoors….neither are not given any antibiotics nor are exposed to chemicals or fertilisers at all. There’s free range and there’s free range!! Know your butcher and make sure he/she knows their farmers!

  17. Hi,

    Can you tell me if the industry standard for organic uses soy based feeding products for chicken? I know they would have to use organic and non GMO soy products but I would prefer to have no soy products at all fed to the chickens I feed my family, so Im interested to see what the law allows and in fact what companies like Inglewood use in their feed?

    Thanks!

  18. Hi,

    Can you tell me if the industry standard for organic uses soy based feeding products for chicken? I know they would have to use organic and non GMO soy products but I would prefer to have no soy products at all fed to the chickens I feed my family, so Im interested to see what the law allows and in fact what companies like Inglewood use in their feed?

    Thanks!

  19. Hi Sally, I did not realise free range chicken contained antibiotics! I guess I fell for the labels, they look organic. It can be so confusing so your blog really helped! Im going to keep and eye out for the certified organic symbol from now on, as it seems like the only one to trust!

  20. Hi Sally, I did not realise free range chicken contained antibiotics! I guess I fell for the labels, they look organic. It can be so confusing so your blog really helped! Im going to keep and eye out for the certified organic symbol from now on, as it seems like the only one to trust!

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