Our chickens are proper birds. Free range, naturally reared and free of growth hormones they live for nearly twice as long as a supermarket chicken - all elements which lead to more tender and tastier meat.
Chicken is packed with healthy benefits, from being one of the highest protein supplies (helping our bodies repair and make cells) we consume to being a fantastic source of vitamins and minerals, high in Vitamins A, B and D was well as Potassium and sodium – essential electrolytes.
Another fantastic plus of chicken is how versatile it is; whether it be the centrepiece of your Sunday Roast, a slow cooked casserole or a fresh Caesar Salad, it’s generally easy to cook with and the results are delicious - it’s a certain table-pleaser!
All of our chicken is free range and while this might sound like a given, in fact only 5% of chicken production is free range. We would love this figure to be much higher and hope that, once consumers understand the difference, they will leave mass-produced chickens out of their baskets forever. Yes, free range chicken is slightly more expensive but as we look at below, the pro’s far outweigh this!
There are loads of euphemisms for how chicken is reared but the ‘standard’ chicken which you see on the shelves accounts for 94% of all chicken and has been mass-produced and reared indoor all of its life. It may never have seen natural light, it won’t ever have been outside and will have spent its life in a space equivalent to an A4 piece of paper. These chickens have been bred to grow as quickly as possible, and their feed typically contains antibiotics and growth hormones to aid the process – such rapid growth often causes health problems for the chickens. In fact, from hatch to slaughter takes an average of only 5 weeks. After slaughter, these chickens are sometimes also pumped with water to bulk them out. All of this is the price of cheap chicken.
Free range chicken
In contrast, the chicken that we use is all free range. This means that the birds have had a very different way of life. To explain, let’s take one of the farms that we use for our chicken – Merrifield Farm in Devon. At Merrifield, the owners, Peter and Sue rear the chicks indoors until they are 28 days old and able to survive the elements. They then live in straw bale shacks, or special chicken arks where they are free to roam in grassy fields in their small flocks. This freedom reduces the chicken’s stress levels and keeps them happier. Nothing is added to their feed - it is additive, antibiotic and GM free, so they don't eat anything you wouldn’t. This allows them to grow much more naturally, for a minimum of 56 days, giving them a much richer flavour.
In supporting free range, you’re also supporting independent farms. They can’t compete with a £4 mass produced chicken. But they don’t want to. They care about welfare, quality and, most importantly, taste as much as we do. We’re championing free range, let’s support it together.