The Suffering of Free-Range Meat Chickens

Portrait_of_a_Chicken_by_RyanLovelacePhoto

Allan and I have been looking at different breeds of chickens available on the market for both eggs and meat. We have strongly leaned towards the heritage breeds, but mainly because of how hardy they are. We do, after all, live in northern Alberta.

I came across this blog by Kelly from “This-mom Gig” with the same title as this post, and it stopped me. “The suffering of free-range meat chickens?” I thought…”This can’t be right!”

I have to say, the article pushed me hard off the proverbial fence, and we are definitely going with a heritage breed of chicken. I don’t care if the meat produced is less than a ‘meat’ bird, or if they lay less eggs than the strict egg layers. I am trying to get closer to God’s creation and further from man’s sickening (literally) science experiments.

The article below is a must read if you are also stuck on the fence like I was. It will definitely change the way you look at things.

The Suffering of Free-Range Meat Chickens.

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The dream begins…

Homestead_RoadAllan and I have been married for nearly 15 years. During that time we talked and dreamed of having our own acreage, or small hobby farm.

The dream has been constantly evolving and changing. It started as a couple of acres in the country, nothing more. Than we wanted a few more acres and perhaps a couple horses. The dream sometimes grew, and sometimes it downsized. (At one point we considered a full scale Elk farm…honestly.)

Our dream right now? Self sustaining, clean eating. Doing our best to get back to the way of life that God created and further from the life that man created.

I don’t want you to think that I am a purist, I’m anything but. I use plastic, I still eat at McDonald’s now and then, and I still drive a Jeep. There’s nothing wrong with purists, I just don’t want you mistaking me for one and be confused when I buy my eggs or milk, or even a Big Mac…well…quarter pounder.

So why the lifestyle change for us? Honestly, I got tired of paying utility companies outrageous amounts of money to ‘deliver’ my gas and my power and my water. I’ve sunk thousands of dollars over the years so that some invisible person can deliver my utilities. (That was a joke, I don’t really think the invisible people deliver utilities, haha).

The other reason, the biggest reason, is health. I can’t help but wonder about our food and how we collect it and process it. People are constantly getting sick from packaged foods, and I’m hearing about recalled food products all the time. No one (other than the producers and processors) really know what the conditions are like for the animals raised in food farms. I had the misfortune of spending the day at a commercial pig farm. I was sick for 3 days afterwards and couldn’t touch pork for a year…and I LOVE bacon!

It dawned on me that I am trusting complete strangers with something that I’m going to feed my children. I have no say in what vaccines and medications are being added to the meat that I’m eating. I have no clue if the animal was confined or not. Whether it was neglected, beaten, abused, or treated like a prince. I would like to think it’s all treated well and that all the producers follow the absolute highest standards. Some do. Some don’t. How do I know which one raised my steak?

There is one simple way to take out the guess work. Raise my own food.

It may seem like a simple concept, but it takes a lot of hard work and dedication, or so I’m told. I believe it. I have never raised pigs or goats or chickens, but I’ve worked with cattle and horses. Mostly, I’m a city kid who always dreamed of being a country girl.

Allan and I just purchased 20 acres of bare land (as in, no utilities and no buildings) and are working on making it the farm of our dreams. We would like to invite you all to join us on this journey. I’m sure it will be good for a few laughs if nothing else.