Pecking Order for Chicken

For the final post in this series about decoding labels on a package of chicken. Here's a pecking order for the quality levels of chicken that may appear on a package 🐓đŸŊ

  1. "Caged" -- This is the baseline quality for conventionally raised practices. Obviously means that chickens were confined to cages. Never see light of day. Typically fed a corn or soy diet đŸ˜ļ
  2. "Cage-Free" -- Chickens are allowed to roam within the confines of a barn or other facility. But not entirely "free" since they generally have no access to the outdoors. Typically fed a corn or soy diet 😐
  3. "Free-Range" -- Chickens have more space than caged or cage-free. But may not outdoors as much as suggested by the term. May just have access to a screened porch. Some even seldom get to see the light of day. Typically fed a corn or soy diet 🙂
  4. "Organic" -- Refers to a certification by a 3rd-party organization that sets its own strict standards. While these may vary, organic standards typically means:
    • Birds are raised organically no later than two days after hatching;
    • The eat certified organic feed their entire lives;
    • The feed cannot contain animal by-products, antibiotics or GMO grains, and cannot be grown using persistent pesticides or chemical fertilizers;
    • Birds are fed no drugs or antibiotics;
    • They must have outdoor access 😊
  5. "Pasture-Raised" -- Live outdoors on a pasture where they can roam & forage. May see "Grass Fed" with label too 😀

Note though that the USDA does not define any of these terms. So the practices may vary depending on the farm. And if these concepts are important to you (particularly if you are basing your buying decisions on these terms). It is always best to ask questions or research farm đŸ—Ŗ

So now you have this info about chicken 🐓 how does it help make a decision about what to buy 🤔 Here are factors to consider:

  • What is Realistically available to you?
  • What can you Realistically spend?
  • How important are sustainability concepts (e.g., food traceability & transparency and animal welfare)?

And you can weigh these factors to make the best decision for your circumstances 😀👍đŸŊ

I mean, pasture raised chicken may be your preference, but if it's not Realistically available or within your budget, then don't fret about buying conventionally raised chicken 😅 This is certainly better than pre-processed chicken nuggets from a fast food restaurant or from the frozen food aisle 😍❤ī¸

Remember, this is a journey đŸšŖđŸŊ 🙌đŸŊ🙏đŸŊ👍đŸŊ😊 NOT a sprint. So do the best you can to navigate within the framework of your life and at your own pace. And always celebrate your progress, even incremental movement towards lifelong health is better than nothing at all 🤗😘

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