FREE RANGE eggs, bacon, chicken...HELP please

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chic-a-dee, Nov 23, 9:38am
Im wanting to change to free range for obvious reasons. I can find eggs at qiute a few places, but what about bacon? anyone use free range bacon, where do you buy it and is it tastier, less fatty? Also with eggs, is free range as good as barn eggs or organic? What about chickens, do they taste better for the extra money and is it worth it?

vintagekitty, Nov 23, 9:58am
I buy free range pork, because it tastes great and I get warm fuzzie's from thinking they are not caged. I buy free range chickens and eggs for the same reason, although I cant taste the difference in the eggs. Chicken, I can.Im going to grow my own eggs soon, so will look forward to that smug feeling of its total free range.

I buy havoc ham and bacon from my local farmers market, and will buy freedom farm bacon from the supermarket

raewyn64, Nov 23, 8:14pm
try Cambrian Meats at the round about at Birch Ave Judea (number 116) for all free-range meats and grains, breads etc.Or else Cols Butchery beside the old Binn Inn on Mt Maunganui Rd (just down from Sunny's) for free-range meats

tortenz, Nov 23, 9:37pm
I always buy free range bacon, and have not long switched to free range pork and chicken.Not sure I can taste the difference in the meat really, but we value animals living as naturally as possible.I buy my bacon from the supermarket (freedom farms), and chicken and pork from the butcher.

Eggs, we have our own free range.Definitely a difference!!Even just the colour, the yolks are much brighter and more orange because of the range of food they get.

We looked into setting up a free range egg farm, so have looked into all the rules.You're better to buy free range eggs from a local person who has a few too many.The rules around what constitutes free range comercially are a bit pathetic.Also wouldn't buy barn eggs, after some of our chickens came from a well known poultry farm in one of their barns.

Organic is really your choice.Most chickens would be kept fairly 'organically' anyway, just without the correct certification.

pamellie, Nov 24, 2:14am
Cambrian Meats bacon is quite nice, it has a smokey flavour. I have had their pork chops a couple of times and they were definetely tastier, not sure about the chicken as I find that is just too expensive to buy! Their pork and lamb sausages are nice as is their mince. Certainly worth a try.

chic-a-dee, Nov 24, 9:38am
Thanks ladies. I saw the tv series about the battery hens and it was disgusting, that british bloke with the messy hair did it, and I feel like a cheat buying them as i think nothing of paying $4 or more for a flat white! I am now really perturbed about the treatment of those poor pigs, literally going stark raving mad all pened in, Im appalled they can get away with that sort of animal abuse in this country, so am going to stop buying the cheap bacon and go for the decent bacon from happy pigs. Not sure I can part with $20 for a chicken, but the thought of eating chicken pumped full of hormones is not sitting well with me. I think its a bit stink that I donate to charity and buy raffle tickets for fundraising etc, but then feed my family crappy food from ill treated animals. Food for thought. I will be visiting that cambrian meats to get my xmas ham and bacon, thanks!

lucky082, Nov 24, 8:11pm
I strongly disagree with your comment about pigs going stark raving mad, as I have been on many pig farms in this country this year, none of which were free range, and I have seen happy, healthy well looked after pigs. I'm not going to turn this into a debate about free range etc, but I did want to clarify your comment that chicken are pumped full of growth hormones.Growth hormones have never been and never will be used in either our poultry or pig industries. I think it's really important that people realise that and aren't misinforming others.

biddy6, Nov 25, 4:05am
Free range chicken tastes absolutely devine - a little turkyish.Havoc or Freedom Farm pork and bacon for us if we don't have any home kill on hand.

lythande1, Nov 25, 6:33pm
Free range means they walk about outside. barns, well I don't consider that good really. Crowds of them in a barn, better than a cage but not as good as outdoors.
As for taste and fat and so on. No. The point is they had a happier life before dying. Nothing to do with taste or anything. Up to you if you think that's worth the extra money. Knowing it suffered before death, or had a reasonable time before death.

feris04, Nov 25, 7:08pm
lythande1, look at the stress levels of those birds, you will find that there is no difference between the stress in a cage or a barn, yet a higher stress in the outdoor. Which can mean that your happy free-range chooks is living under constant stress, which does not make a 'happy' life.
Plus they taste like old boot leather., Nov 25, 10:06pm
I buy all free range, and eat only beef of the main meats - the Natural Egg Company do yummy eggs, much better than the usual ones, and I know they do in fact free-range their hens outside.

There is free range chicken about, tastes good, but I'm not entirely sure how free range it is - haven't checked yet - so don't use it much.

Sorry feris04, I have to disagree with the business about birds that are allowed outside being more stressed than inside.Sounds like wishful thinking a bit.

feris04, Nov 26, 12:07am
Not wishful thinking annie, actual scientific research it may seem hard to fathom but they are a prey animal outside where there are hawks, etc, they will be stressed that they are about to become lunch. As well as disease issues with outdoor chooks, not that battery is perfect but neither is outdoor, but you don't eat battery hens.

tortenz, Nov 26, 2:24am
I can't say any of my 30 chickens have ever looked stressed about any aspect of their lives, and haven't had any problems with hawks either.

However the 12 we got from a poultry farm living in a barn still have feathers missing from being pecked so badly.

I see they say that stress levels are 'similar', but there are significant differences in mortality, feather cover and wound prevalence (2nd link).I think that proves why free range is better for those interested in animal welfare.

tortenz, Nov 26, 2:27am
And, we may not eat battery hens, but non free-range chickens are broiler chickens, which really isn't a lot better imo

storm3, Nov 26, 4:28am
If you buy NZ products you are unlikely to be buying 'abused animals'. And basing your choices on British farming methods is absurd.
But you raise an interesting point about your reluctance to pay for good food, yet are willing to pay for luxury items. This does seem to be a prevalent train of thought here in NZ that food should be cheap. Unfortunately it's not cheap to produce. So how do we change this? We can't produce it cheaper. You only have to read rural newspapers to see that sheep farmers, for example, have been operating at a loss for far too many years. So how do we encourage people to set aside more of their income for basic food? How do we reinforce that quality food is worth paying for?

feris04, Nov 26, 4:58am
Unfortunity the full report is not in the second link, which while mortality, feather cover and wound prevalence are significantly different they are not all positive for one side, with mortality and wound prevalence being highest in free range and feather loss highest in caged system. To me this shows that free-range is not miles ahead of caged.

feris04, Nov 26, 5:00am
Umm free-range meat birds and barn raised are from the exact same parent stock. same with the egg producing hens.

lucky082, Nov 26, 5:02am
I totally agree, and the whole reason that farming was intensified in the first place was due to consumer demand for cheap meat. Boycotting NZ meat is not the answer to a welfare reform, it lies with country of origin labelling. People should be able to choose whether they buy regulated product, or god-knows-what from who-knows-where.

tortenz, Nov 26, 9:33am
I'm not talking about parent stock, I'm talking about how they are raised until they are slaughtered.... you know, the reason they get called 'free range' in the first place.Parent stock is irrelevant.are you aware what the term 'broiler chicken' means?

People who want to eat free range chicken want to know that the chickens can walk around and 'be chickens' for their short lives.Broiler chickens are stuck inside under artificial lights to encourage growth, have no choice but to eat high protein food to fatten them up quicker... too quick for their bodies so some have difficulty supporting their own weight.

If you want to see what that looks like, see here:

If you'd like to see a happy, free range chicken.. I'd be happy to get a photo tomorrow of one of our hens that likes to jump up and perch on my husbands shoulder.

I'm sorry for the novel, but I highly contest Feris04s views on this.

tortenz, Nov 26, 9:42am
I agree with this.Contrary to my above posts, I'm not a free range nazi :)Though we do have our own pet chickens, and I can see how happy they are.

Nothing will change with this until thinking shifts... you're right that everyone only wants to buy cheap.We have moved toward eating less, but better quality.Easier with 2 of us than a family, I'm sure.I found it interesting that people got upset about the proposal of keeping cows in barns, yet complain about how much it costs to buy beef.If you want cheap, it has to be produced cheap.Cheapest way for farmers?As many animals as you can fit in the space you've got.Chickens and pigs are acceptable it seems, but we won't let sheep and cows to be kept that way.

storm3, Nov 26, 9:43am
My pet chickens also are happy free-range chickens. I contest your view that farmed free range chickens in any way compare to pets.
Factory farming ain't great, but I've been on those 'free range' places and they ain't pretty either.

* must have posted at the same time:)

feris04, Nov 26, 7:51pm
The parent stock is very important, that is the breeding of the chooks and give them their genetic potential for growth.

You should check the source of your footage, Animal Liberation Aotearoa not exactly known for their unbiased approach. They specifically film for sick and deformed animals. and by the look of it have herded them all to one end of the barn. (bare in mind that this is american footage and our welfare code does not allow stocking that high)

as for broiler chicken
"A broiler is a type of chicken raised specifically for meat production. Modern commercial broilers, typically known as Cornish crosses or Cornish-Rocks are specially bred for large scale, efficient meat production and grow much faster than egg or traditional dual purpose breeds. They are noted for having very fast growth rates, a high feed conversion ratio, and low levels of activity. Broilers often reach a harvest weight of 4-5 pounds dressed in only five weeks" from wiki (I hate it but is easiest.)
Free range and barn systems feed the exact same feed, yes there are lighting differences, but if you want to try and fool me you should know I know the sytems.

storm3, Nov 26, 9:17pm
Actually, in NZ, grass farming is the cheapest way of producing sheep and beef. Farming in barns is because our overseas customers think grass fed meat 'tastes funny' because they are not used toit.
I thought it was interesting that the public were in an uproar over barn farming, decreeing it inhumane, and then in an uproar because we didn't barn farm when there was an unseasonal snow dump! Com'on people can't have it both ways.

Pigs and chickens were housed for welfare and disease management back in the day. lol. It was considered a good thing. Now we have come full circle. I'd bet the people wanting the piggy wiggies out on grass will probably be the same people who object to having them doing so in their vicinity *rolls eyes* and the first time ol' mama sow squashes her brood they will be baying for farrowing crates.

I'm keen on free-range. I don't believe it is as simple and as humane as the activists make out.

tortenz, Nov 26, 11:16pm
Yes, I did mention above that free range isn't all that fantastic either... with eggs it's probably better to buy from 'pet chickens' who are true free range, but meat that's not possible.

tortenz, Nov 26, 11:24pm
Obviously, but when people decide to buy free range, they are basing that choice on how that chicken was grown up, not how they are bred.So bringing parent stock into it doesn't really make sense.