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Free Range for more gains

Caldecott's Cotswold White Chickens

Free Range For More Gains

Hands up all of you who only ever purchase free range eggs? Would you even dare to go up to the farm shop till or supermarket checkout with anything other than free range, for fear of being labelled as someone who does not care about the plight of the chicken so ably highlighted by Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall and others?

If I asked that question in a room of over 100 or even 1000 people I would say 90% or higher would say yes to free range eggs.

Same question except this time, free range chicken. How many of you always make sure the chicken is free range before you order, or purchase? How many of you check it is English poultry?

In the same size room I would guess the figure might be closer to 20%.

Why is there this huge disconnect between welfare friendly eggs and welfare friendly chickens? Yes I understand that the time and therefore cost of producing an egg will be much less than that to produce a chicken of 56 days plus, versus 35 days of a non free range chicken. I understand that the average difference between a whole chicken and whole free range chicken is approximately £4.50 per kilo. However, ethically, philosophically it jars with me; are we only ethically aligned in our purchases if the price fits?

We invited our retail clients to do tests on the yield on our English free range chicken and see how many meals they can get out of it – after all, the only real price consideration is cost per portion? With a higher yield, better flavour and utilising the whole carcass, a family of 4 can enjoy a roast dinner on a Sunday, 6 good portions of Chicken soup and enough chicken for 2 chicken salads through the week. So with one chicken, costing let’s say £11 from a local butcher or £6 from a supermarket you can create at least 12 meals for £1.00 per meal per meat portion or 52 pence – that seems very reasonable for one of the most nutritious and healthy foods you can eat. Maybe we should stop comparing it to the cheap imported chicken that sits side by side on supermarket shelves and maybe we should educate more on how to utilise the whole chicken carcass, using not abusing these great free range animals. There is no waste, lots of good food so all the sustainable arguments are ticked as well.

It’s also a great exponent for the saying… Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food. – Hippocates

Now, can I ask that question again please? I hope there are a few more hands.

More details about our wonderful Free Range Poultry Farmer, can be found  here

Aubrey Allen is proud to be associated with and/or a member of the following organisations.

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