Do you know what are the advantages and disadvantages of free-range chickens? Nowadays, free-range chickens have become a popular trend, both for individual households and farms. At present, the market prospect of free-range chicken is also very broad, and people are fond of ecologically raised free range chicken. In fact, there are certain advantages and disadvantages of ecologically raised free range chickens, which we will learn about below.
What is Free Range Chicken
Free range means that the animal is not restrained and is able to roam outdoors at will. Free range chickens in layman's terms means that the chickens are not required to stay in the coop. This is free range chicken definition. Free-range chickens are environmentally friendly, ecological, and green chicken farming. This is also in line with the trend of people's slow food diet.
Free-range chicken is to take advantage of the natural green feed and insects, earthworms and other animal feed banks on barren hills and grassy slopes, orchards and woodlands. And isolation conditions are good, less disease, high survival rate, less investment. Using the characteristics of active and strong foraging chickens to obtain part of the green feed and protein feed needed from nature.
Pros of Free Range Chicken Farming:
- Reduce feed and water consumption.
- Save labor and material.
- Happier, healthier chickens.
- Enhance stress resistance.
- Reduces disease and death rates and drug consumption.
- Improve meat and egg quality.
- Reduce the cleaning of chicken house.
Cons of Free Range Chicken Farming:
- It is not conducive to epidemic prevention.
- Easily poisoned.
- Vulnerable to predators.
- Damage to yards.
- Can't find eggs.
Pros of Free Range Chicken Farming
Before understanding the disadvantages of free ranged chicken, let's first understand the advantages of free ranged chickens.
Reduce Feed and Water Consumption
Free-range chickens use grass and insects as the main feed resource, supplemented only by supplementary feed in the morning and evening. Therefore, range free chickens only need very little feed. You can divide the available free range chicken farm into several zones with plastic nets centered on the chicken house. This way you can have enough grass for range free chicken. Use this method to practice rotational grazing.
With sufficient grass supply, organic free range chickens only need 1/3 to 1/4 of what caged chickens eat, and the insects and grass they eat contain some water, so they only need 1/2 to 1/3 of what caged chickens drink, and they don't need to add extra vitamins and minerals and other trace elements.
Save Labor and Material
Free-range chickens do not need infrastructure for the flock. Like a chicken coop is a big expense. All you need to do is wire a light to the free range chicken farm and lay it out with a piece of plastic wrap. According to research, free ranged chicken saves about 66% of the cost of traditional chicken farming.
Healthier, Happier for Range Free Chickens
Let chickens roam free will result in a happier and healthier flock. Chickens staying in a small space for a long time can cause disease. Because the space is too small, the chickens are not given enough room to move around. Too crowded flocks can make chickens unhealthy and unhappy.
On the contrary, enough space to move around will give chickens pleasant space to play. This will also make the chickens feel better. So chicken free range will become healthier and happier.
Enhance Stress Resistance
Free-range chickens are accustomed to the sound of wind, rain, thunder, lightning and heat in the process of daily feeding, drinking, playing and fighting. And free range organic chickens in nature to obtain a more comprehensive and balanced nutrition, and the body has been fully calcined. Therefore, they are more adaptable to sound, light, heat and cold stimuli. So free ranged chicken has a strong resistance to stress.
Reduces Disease and Death Rates and Drug Consumption
Free ranged chicken live in the beautiful environment of nature. The air is fresh, the feed source is abundant, and the nutrition is comprehensive. ranged free chicken's physique is fully exercised and resistant to stress and disease. In addition to the need to add some antibiotics to prevent infectious bronchitis in the closed brooding period, almost no antibiotic drugs are needed during the free range period. Even if common diseases occur occasionally due to sudden changes in weather, it is only necessary to mix some Chinese herbs in the feed.
Free range organic chickens rely on nature's wind, sunlight and heat to naturally purify and disinfect, and rarely use drugs to disinfect. Therefore, there are few epidemics and low drug consumption in free range organic chickens.
Improve Meat and Egg Quality
The beautiful and fresh environment and rich and comprehensive feed sources make the free-range chickens have comprehensive and balanced nutrition. They have a moderate fat content and are richly muscled. Free range chicken eggs have high nutritional value and taste characteristics. The average price of free ranged chicken and eggs is more than 4 RMB/kg higher than the price of caged chicken and eggs.
From the nutritional point of view, ecologically raised chickens eat insects, which are all animal proteins. Therefore, organic free range chicken grows fast, has rich feathers, strong resistance to disease, produces more eggs, good quality meat, and the free range chicken egg is better.
Reduce the Cleaning of Chicken Coop
What seems like an everyday act is very difficult. Who wants to spend a lot of time cleaning a large chicken coop? Often people search how often they should clean the coop. There is no fixed answer to this. It depends on the number of chickens you have, the size of the coop and the length of time the chickens are in the coop.
But if you have a free range chicken farm then these questions do not need to be considered. Free-range chickens mean that the coop is used very little, so you don't have to clean it either.
Cons of Free Range Chicken Farming
Well, is free range chicken better? Don't be in a hurry to give an answer, because next we will talk about the disadvantages of free ranged chicken.
It Is Not Conducive to Epidemic Prevention
Due to the roughness of free range, chickens cannot be immunized one by one like caged chickens. At the same time, drinking water immunization cannot effectively break the water. Even some free-range farmers give up drinking water immunization, resulting in the rampant infectious diseases. It is impossible to stop or even aggravate parasitic diseases.
Although the free-range plots are not sprayed with pesticides, neighbors or other farmers in adjacent plots will spray pesticides on their own land. It often happens that the secondary poisoning is caused by the poisoned insects picking close to the free-range chickens before they die. So range free chicken can easily be poisoned by accidentally eating poisoned insects.
Vulnerable to Predators
Free-range chickens are freer which means easier access to predators. This risk is uncontrollable. In addition to man-made, aerial hawks also target free range organic chicken. These are troubles we can easily encounter.
Damage to Yards
A small free range organic chicken can also cause a lot of damage to a yard. They have a lot of room to move around and you can't stop them immediately. Generally speaking, free range organic chickens can cause you problems such as:
- Digging holes in your garden.
- Destroying your tools.
- Defecating and urinating on the ground.
- Destroying a beautiful and orderly garden.
We don't like the mess that range free chickens can make, even though we love their free-range lifestyle. So regardless of the size of the organic free range chicken's area of activity, this is a matter of concern.
Can't Find Eggs
With caged chickens we only need to look for eggs in the nest box. But once the chicken is free range it is difficult to know where the chicken has laid its eggs. And free range chicken eggs can also be trampled by chickens at will. This gives you a very unpleasant part of the egg hunt.
Position of Free Range Chicken Farm
For the self-employed, the free range chicken farm is of course their backyard. For larger farmers, a free range chicken farm should be located on a sunny, flat, hillside that is protected from animals and diseases. It is best to have woods or an orchard next to the farm so that the chickens can cool off in the shade when the sun is strong.
Best Chicken Coop for Free Range Chickens
For range free chickens, there is no doubt that the free range chicken coop should be large enough. But it should not be simple. Because a simple free range chicken coop is quite fragile in a storm. The best chicken coop for free range chickens should be large enough and strong enough to withstand the elements. In addition to this, there should be adequate facilities.
Free Range Chicken vs. Caged
Free-range chickens can be distinguished from caged chickens in many ways. So what is the difference between the two? Let's learn together.
Free-range chickens are lighter than caged chickens over the same breeding period. This is because of the increased body fat caused by the low range of movement in captivity.
The organic free range chickens have a natural environment in which they can seek out pasture, insects, maize, rice and wheat. Caged chickens are fed special feeds to provide energy and growth and production needs, with a single species.
Generally the shortest slaughter time for free-range chickens should be 120 days or more. The best quality is 180 days - 720 days to slaughter. While the general slaughter cycle for caged broiler chickens is 45 days.
As the name suggests, free range organic chickens are mainly free range, and the sites are usually woodland, grassland and other environments. Free-range chickens can grow naturally and in a good environment! This also makes free ranged chickens highly resistant to disease and in good health.
The living conditions of caged broilers are easier to imagine! Low exercise, dirty air, poor resistance to disease and the need for extensive vaccination and medication to ensure their survival rate. The health of the chickens can be imagined!
The feathers of organic free range chickens are compact, shiny, neat and beautiful. The feathers of caged chickens are relatively poor and untidy. The reason for this is that the density of rearing is often accompanied by the phenomenon of beak hair.
Free range chickens are active and have a high ability to fly. They are completely free, move, play, fly high and get on the shelf. Caged chickens on the contrary have no space and basically lose the function of their lower limbs. The distinctive feature is that free ranged chickens are not easy to catch and captive chickens are particularly good at catching.
Range free chicken has a tight muscle structure, low fat, good taste and nutrition. It is also high in protein, low in fat and free from drug residues. It is deal for health conscious people, children, pregnant women and the elderly. The opposite is true for caged chickens, as they eat a lot of concentrate feed and have little exercise, have large eggs and a high water ratio. Caged chickens are suitable for a wide range of people and are used in the catering industry.
Is Free Range Chicken Better?
Nothing is absolute. We have mentioned the advantages and disadvantages of free-range chickens in our article. And also compared caged chickens with free-range chickens. I think you already have the answer in your mind.
Free range chicken farming is a true back-to-nature model of chicken farming. It not only provides a beautiful, fresh natural environment, but also fully demonstrates the instinctive characteristics of chickens. Free ranged chickens do not require any chemical additives or antibiotics and are truly green. In today's society, where people's living standards are improving, the quality of free range chickens eggs and meat is impeccable. However, the disadvantages of range free chicken should not be overlooked.