Pasture Raised Chicken and Eggs - What it Means and Why It's Best

Pasture Raised Chicken and Eggs - What it Means and Why It's Best

Cage-free, Free Range, Pasture-raised/Pastured, Organic, Natural: poultry and eggs come advertised with so many labels, words and descriptions. These labels all sound similar, but some are much more meaningful than others for your health and for the health of animals. Cage-free and Free Range, in particular, tend to be misleading for consumers. While both sound positive—generally, you find few people advocating for cages, or restricting animal movement— these labels have a very low bar for farmers to meet.

At Belcampo, we value Pasture-Raised or Pastured as the most important attribute, with organic and humane-certified as secondary. 

What is Pastured Poultry?

  • Poultry is raised in a way that’s consistent with how chickens would naturally live: in pasture, with the ability to freely roam, scratch, and peck.
  • When pasture-raised poultry and eggs are paired with a Humane label, this indicates that hens are given 108 square feet of outdoor space per bird, as well as access to a barn or structure for shade and cover.
  • Pasture-raised chickens eat a diet made up of provided feed and foraged grubs and insects, which is the natural diet of healthy birds.

What is Organic Poultry?

  • Poultry eats solely organic feed.
  • Poultry is not given antibiotics or hormones. 
  • Organic chickens must live in cage-free environments and have access to an outdoor area. 

What is Cage Free Poultry 

  • Poultry don’t live in cages. 
  • These birds can still be crammed 20,000-40,000 to a barn, effectively unable to move, without any access to the outdoors.

    What is Free Range Poultry 

    • Poultry designated Free Range may still be crammed into a barn, with even just one small access point to the outside.
    • Poultry have access to as little as 2 square feet of outdoor area per bird, but this doesn’t mean that the birds ever see the outdoors.