Free Range or Caged Chicken? How much should you spend?

A chicken farm

Which chicken do you buy? Do you buy caged, chicken kept inside barns, free range or organic -free range?

Every one of these options makes a huge difference to the price you pay.

Especially with the recession now many people have had to cut down on everything including their food bill which is a bit sad.

As you are what you eat, cutting down on what you end up putting inside yourself is the last thing you want to do.

When it comes to meat that’s when saving becomes difficult: spending money on good quality chicken makes a massive difference to its final taste and to the animal welfare too.

Standard intensive chickens are bred to grow unnaturally fast and they can be slaughtered when they are only six weeks old, just half the time it would take naturally. Their bones, heart and lungs often can’t keep up, causing them to become crippled or to have heart failure.  They often have little room to move about,  have no access to the outdoors and never see natural daylight.
So what’s their meat supposed to taste like?

The best way round it is to eat meat less often (which is better for you anyway) but when you have it you can really enjoy a decent quality piece of meat. You can notice if a chicken has had a good life by the consistency of their bones. If, after cooking, they fall apart and break easily, or if they are firm and strong which is always a sign of a good quality chicken.

The pictures you see here come from an organic farm where my sister goes regularly to buy organic free range chickens. Their taste is just incredible and their meat so lean and tender.

free range chicken


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8 Responses to Free Range or Caged Chicken? How much should you spend?

  1. Caroline Taylor

    I think you should get what you can afford and if you want to eat decent chicken eat less of it that’s better quality.

  2. Mich Piece of Cake

    Organic chickens are so expensive locally but we do get free range chicken at a pretty reasonable price. I agree that its better to eat less meat and have better quality ones.

  3. La cucina diMolly

    Concordo con te, i pollo di allevamento sono meno saporiti di quelli ruspanti, io preferisco questi ultimi anche se costano un pò di più, ma il gusto è decisamente migliore! Ciao

  4. Angie@Angie's Recipes

    The photo of chicken farm in Slovenja has scared me a little bit…
    I usually get mine from a local supermarket and buy what I can afford.

  5. Sue Olivnant

    I buy a free range chicken once a week, take off the breasts for once meal, freeze the chicken legs for another meal (usually roasted on a bed of red onion and sprinkled with rock sale and paprika. I then use the carcass for a soup with lots of veg and add whatever meat is left on the bones. Three meals for two and very economical.

    • Alida

      Great tip Sue! I only manage to make 2 meals out of a chicken. I like the way you use the carcass for soup. This will make a delicious proper broth! Ciao!

  6. Shelly Swanberg

    I am a organic poultry farmer in the U.S. I farm for eggs, chicken meat, and turkey meat. ALL of my birds are free ranged. I also make all of their feed myself with no corn and no soy.
    I don’t charge very much per pound for my chickens. My chickens are great products too. I have a waiting list for my eggs to weekly customers and am always sold out.
    There are quite a few organic free range farmers that do charge way too much. I don’t see why except that it is because they can to a few wealthy customers who buy it. I don’t believe this will help to change back to the way poultry was and should be raised because many people can only buy what they can afford. Therefore, the big chicken manufacturers will always have the market if organic farmers do not charge realistic prices.
    When I cook chickens I use them for many different things before I am completely done with it. Starting out with roasting, or grilling the bird to get meat that is beautifully seasoned. Using part of the meat for a dinner meal, part of it for chicken salad, or soup, then ending up with the seasoned bones for a wonderful bone broth, or chicken stock. Mind you I cook maybe four to five chickens at a time for the month’s worth of chicken meals for a family of five.

    • Alida

      Dear Shelly,
      Many thanks for your interesting comment. I only buy organic free range chicken as you can really tell the difference straight away: free range chickens taste much better and have much stronger bones + they had a better life.
      It is nice that people appreciate your lovely chickens, we should all buy from the farmers instead than from large corporations which are just money-focused. If we were near I would be one of your regular customers!
      I love the way you make sure nothing from the chicken is waisted. How wonderful making stock with home reared chickens.That’s how it should be.
      I wish you all the best with your farm!

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