Free Range is becoming a very common! Learn what it means to ensure You don't get tricked by the food industry.
Free Range
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In theory, Free Range (or Free Roaming) means the livestock live cage free, under natural conditions and have access to food and water at all times. In practice, Free Range legally only means that Chicken or livestock has access to the outdoors. The amount of space outdoors is not defined in the food industry. Outdoors could be a 2 x 2 ft gravel yard or large farm.


In Free  Range Egg production, many Free Range Egg Producers do allow their hens to forage freely across pastures during daylight hours and lie  in straw-filled nests at night.

The eggs are collected from the nests twice daily by hand. Though Free-range chickens that eat grasses and bugs tend to lay eggs with higher omega-3 content than those eating corn or soy feed, even free range chicken eggs don’t approach the 200mg of Omega-3’s of a fortified egg. 

In Free Range Chicken Production, some farmers are better than others. The best eating chickens are produced when they are allowed to wander freely and scratch and peck for food. These birds will live longer and build up flavorful (but tough) muscle.

The most efficient method to raise Free Range Chickens though is to enclose them in a 2' x 2' indoor / outdoor pen and feed them a vegetarian, even organic diet that gives them a stronger, more "chickeny" flavor. It may not sound like much but even the minimal free range standard is a great improvement over the conditions experienced by Factory Birds, that may only get a 1' x 1' enclosure in a warehouse-like coop. 

Free Range Chickens average 4.5 pounds and are usually 10 to 12 weeks old when harvested.  Many Heirloom birds are raised as Free Range Chickens to maximize their flavor.

Culinary Uses

Free Range is used to define Egg Production and Chicken Production.