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Free-Range Chicken More Disease-Prone?

Discussion in 'Emergencies / Diseases / Injuries and Cures' started by MrDoh, Jan 27, 2009.

  1. MrDoh

    MrDoh Hatching

    Oct 13, 2008
    South East Texas
  2. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member 11 Years

    The issue is that it's obvious they are not talking about actual "free-range" chickens. More cannibalistic attacks?? Not even possible if they can get away from each other rather than in a building (which I think they must mean, not actual free range). The article isn't even make sense. I've freeranged my birds from the time they were young. NO cannibalistic attacks, no lice/mites, no diseases and not even any predator losses. Mine were freeranged over wooded acreage, not in a big warehouse bldg, which is not freerange.
  3. crazyhen

    crazyhen Crowing

    Aug 26, 2008
    mtns of ,NC.
    No way. Real free range is different from that litter based building with one door open that they never use because they were reared in the building and are afraid to go out. I think some of these stories we hear have never been researched at all. The more room the hens have to be out the better. My only concern would be diseases that can be caught from wild birds coming in. From what I have seen from my hens they don't like the intrusion of other birds and chase them off too. Jean
  4. Lee

    Lee Songster

    Jun 27, 2008
    Marion County, IN
    Just a lot of misinformation. This will get around fast a take a lot of debunking. [​IMG]
  5. Indiana hens

    Indiana hens Songster

    Jun 25, 2008
    Pendleton, Indiana
    I could see that when referring to cornish/Rock cross. They die young anyway.
  6. grandads

    grandads Songster

    Nov 1, 2008
    Bull___ I have always free-ranged my birds and mine have never been sick never had a disease. And I have almost 100 birds. As long as they are not caged all the time they can call it "free-range" even if they don't get to go outside. They are not talking about true freeranging.
  7. swampwander

    swampwander Songster

    Oct 1, 2008
    Mims, Fl
    Unfortunately, what the industry refers to as 'Free ranging' is basically what they are doing. What is not discussed within this article is the key to the problems. What was the square foot per chicken ratio?? How often was the bedding changed and the houses cleaned?

    I took this from Wikepedia. Note that this article was based on EGG production and not meat production and tthat the USDA standard is VERY loose on what defines 'free range' when it comes to egg production ;

    "The U.S. Department of Agriculture requires that chickens raised for their meat have access to the outdoors in order to receive the free-range certification. Free-range chicken eggs, however, have no legal definition in the United States. Likewise, free-range egg producers have no common standard on what the term means. Many egg farmers sell their eggs as free range merely because their cages are two or three inches above average size, or because there is a window in the shed."
  8. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    There was a thread about this the other day.
    The definition of what the commercial egg farms call free-range is a joke.
    Here's the other side of the coin. Mother Earth News is doing a long term study of free range eggs vs. the official USDA data for factory farm eggs.
    You can read the results of their study so far @

    My chickens are free to roam anywhere they want on this farm. I have no problem with pecking or disease. I have decided to include a once a year worming as part of my management based on my research and my situation.
  9. yab

    yab In the Brooder

    Jan 24, 2009
    Yakima, Washington
    for the most part, that article is trying to justify caging chickens... "they're easier to control when they'er caged, and the farmers wont bunch 25k of them together all at once!"... the poor farmer.. we should feel sorry for his inability to raise chickens properly?
  10. ruth

    ruth Life is a Journey

    Jul 8, 2007
    Woodville, MS
    That article is indeed refering to the "joke" that commerically raised chickens are allowed to be called "free-range" - but look at their definition of free-range:

    "But free-range flocks sometimes contained as many as 35,000 chickens. Even though these chickens had the freedom to hop outside and roll in the dirt, they were more likely to bump into each other, fight, and share diseases."

    They are housed in a metal building with a small door to access outside which they don't use because they've never learned to go outside. Instead they are cramped inside, 35,000, wing to wing living in their own excrement. And the commerical industry is allowed to put "Free-range" on the packaging because the unknowning public are willing to pay more and think they are buying chickens that were raised free-ranging around a farm.

    My 100+ chickens are total free-range, no fences. Just open the coop every morning and they go wherever they want. I lost a few this spring to a bobcat that learned to wait till our pack of dogs were elsewhere and then ran up into yard to grab a bird. But our dogs and cats also have run of the farm and everyone gets along. I've never had any cannibal issues or pecking or fighting and I even raise the babies total free-range after one week when it's warm out. I have every age group living together and two dozen roos and no one fights or gets sick.

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