"free range"--let's get rid of this nonsense term

Sequimsquirrel

In the Brooder
May 31, 2020
5
25
29
Washington
I encourage you to watch super size me 2, its free on Youtube, talks about the factory farming of chickens. Free range doesn't mean what you think it means to the big chicken industry. If you want chickens that actually can get outside and not be stuck in small cages and wander around big fields all day long I suggest you buy eggs from other backyard chicken owners that you know and trust. for a product to be labeled as free range all the people have to do is allow the chicken to step foot outside the building, meaning you can fence off a section that is literally is one foot away from the opening to the building and its considered free range. There is no size requirements for a space to consider the chicken free range.
I completely agree with you about the "legal" definition of free range - it's SO misleading. However, in the Pacific Northwest we have Wilcox Farm - their pasture-raised eggs really are from hens whose mobile coop is out in the pasture every day. Just sayin' :D
 

StarChicken

Songster
11 Years
Feb 14, 2010
118
100
201
Benton, Arkansas
My chickens aren't free range by any stretch of the imagination. They're in a chicken pen with a chicken house in it. Otherwise, the raccoons, 'possums and foxes would have a feast!

However . . . My chickens have a "loafing shed" with perches to sleep on at night if they choose.

Further, every so often, I rake up the pine needles that fall in my driveway and put them in the pen for my chickens to forage in. They love to scratch around and find interesting things.

The other day, I brought a barrow full of pine needles in and dumped it in a large pile. One of my adult hens immediately jumped on top of it and started to scratch. Nah, I don't have to do much spreading. :)

The teenage chickens (11 pullets and 3 roos) are learning from the adult hens.

Sometimes I sit in my folding chair and just watch them. Better'n TV sometimes.

So, although my chickens aren't free range, they have all the benefits . . .
 

3KillerBs

Enabler
12 Years
Jul 10, 2009
10,518
26,884
1,066
North Carolina Sandhills
My Coop
My Coop
My chickens aren't free range by any stretch of the imagination. They're in a chicken pen with a chicken house in it. Otherwise, the raccoons, 'possums and foxes would have a feast!

However . . . My chickens have a "loafing shed" with perches to sleep on at night if they choose.

Further, every so often, I rake up the pine needles that fall in my driveway and put them in the pen for my chickens to forage in. They love to scratch around and find interesting things.

The other day, I brought a barrow full of pine needles in and dumped it in a large pile. One of my adult hens immediately jumped on top of it and started to scratch. Nah, I don't have to do much spreading. :)

The teenage chickens (11 pullets and 3 roos) are learning from the adult hens.

Sometimes I sit in my folding chair and just watch them. Better'n TV sometimes.

So, although my chickens aren't free range, they have all the benefits . . .

Mine got the same thing the other day -- 3 gorilla carts of mixed pine straw and leaves.
 

Parront

Crossing the Road
Jul 27, 2017
6,522
27,651
907
Prescott, AZ
"Freedom" has a nice sound to it. A nice marketing term. Do not know of many domesticated animals that get very much of any kind of "Free Range", when neighbors come over here to get some eggs, they can walk around and see my birds. They bring their little kids in strollers to see my ducks and chicks. I let them hold the baby ducklings & chicks. I just call them "Backyard" eggs. I have a waiting list for their eggs. One lady asked what I feed them. I told her, pellets from TSC, not organic or special. Right next to the food you feed your dog. She buys my eggs all the time.
 

Parront

Crossing the Road
Jul 27, 2017
6,522
27,651
907
Prescott, AZ
This is an interesting discussion. I had to go back and refresh my old memory to see what people have said. So I looked it up. @aart referred to this, but here is the official USDA definition.

Question: What is the difference between Free Range and Cage Free eggs?

Answer:
Eggs packed in USDA grademarked consumer packages labeled as free range must be produced by hens that are able to roam vertically and horizontally in indoor houses, and have access to fresh food and water, and continuous access to the outdoors during their laying cycle. The outdoor area may be fenced and/or covered with netting-like material. Housing systems vary from farm-to-farm, and can include multi-tier aviaries. They must allow hens to exhibit natural behaviors and include enrichments such as scratch areas, perches and nests. Hens must have access to litter, protection from predators and be able to move in a barn in a manner that promotes bird welfare.

Eggs packed in USDA grademarked consumer packages labeled as cage free are laid by hens that are able to roam vertically and horizontally in indoor houses, and have access to fresh food and water. Cage-free systems vary from farm-to-farm, and can include multi-tier aviaries. They must allow hens to exhibit natural behaviors and include enrichments such as scratch areas, perches and nests. Hens must have access to litter, protection from predators and be able to move in a barn in a manner that promotes bird welfare.

https://www.ams.usda.gov/publications/qa-shell-eggs

My BYC eggs do not qualify, not because of my housing but because they are not "grademarked". The State of Arizona calls my eggs "Nest Run" and I can sell 750 dozen a year pretty much without any inspections or problems. I will never approach that with my dozen girls.
Being graded means most of us little guys can't use that term for marketing the way Hickman's Eggs or Walmart does. As a consumer of eggs, I would chose my eggs over a commercial egg, and I have. It is nice for people to pay attention to these things. I think if more of the buying public would consider these marketing terms, more might keep their own chickens!
 

50-45-1

Free Ranging
Premium Feather Member
13 Years
Feb 25, 2008
2,819
8,990
626
Northern Michigan (tip of the little finger area)
My Coop
My Coop
My chickens "range freely" all day long with 3 guardian dogs and a small group Guinea to keep lookout.
They eat what nature provides, grass and bugs and return to the coop for there food and water or to lay eggs in the nestbox, all day.
They keep themselves to the immediate yard area.
At dusk they will all be found roosting inside the coop when I lock it up for the night.
I fenced my garden, to keep the chickens out, to preserve my seedlings and fruit. The rest of the farm is theres to roam.
My chickens are healthy, not diseased or wormy.
I am confused about this thread.

20210418_083004.jpg
 

JacinLarkwell

Crossing the Road
Mar 19, 2020
15,964
32,312
861
South-Eastern Montana
My chickens "range freely" all day long with 3 guardian dogs and a small group Guinea to keep lookout.
They eat what nature provides, grass and bugs and return to the coop for there food and water or to lay eggs in the nestbox, all day.
They keep themselves to the immediate yard area.
At dusk they will all be found roosting inside the coop when I lock it up for the night.
I fenced my garden, to keep the chickens out, to preserve my seedlings and fruit. The rest of the farm is theres to roam.
My chickens are healthy, not diseased or wormy.
I am confused about this thread.

View attachment 2757655
It's basically OP saying that free range is a lie for factories and used by people who only have a few chickens to feel good about themselves
 

Carson213

Songster
Aug 31, 2020
699
1,047
171
West Coast
"free range" is essentially a bullshit term...

it's only important to people who care about chickens and not production. otherwise, it's exploited.
 

Cooptown Lady

Chirping
May 27, 2021
38
156
69
Southeast Arizona
My granny actually free ranged. She had a coop but about all they done in there way lay. Often not even doing that. The birds roosted in the trees. She kept them fed so they stuck around. Aint no telling how many birds she lost or things we had to kill when we were kids. Back then it wasn't a term but just how people done it.

I still say the whole organic fad is just a way to separate a fool and their money. Just like the people that claim they can tell the difference between an actual fresh white and brown egg by taste. I'm not talking about ones that are fresh because they came from walmart that day. I've fooled many people over the years by giving them week old brown eggs and 1 day old white eggs. They still claim the brown ones taste better. Even better when you cook them and have them try to guess which one is what.
Your granny "actually free ranged?" Did she wander off the property or was it fenced? Did grampa have to chase her inside at sundown or did she go in on her own?
 

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