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Oh really?

January 16, 2009

Wait, you mean barren pens are just as prone to disease as confinement housing?

Free-range Chickens Are More Prone To Disease

ScienceDaily (Jan. 16, 2009) — Chickens kept in litter-based housing systems, including free-range chickens, are more prone to disease than chickens kept in cages, according to a new study

Researchers led by Oddvar Fossum, at the National Veterinary Institute in Sweden, noted that during the switch in housing from battery cages to enriched cages and litter-based systems, including free-range, there was an increase in the number of chickens dying. During the study, the authors compared the causes of deaths in flocks of chickens kept in different types of housing across Sweden.

The Swedish Animal Welfare Act from 1988 mandated a switch from battery cages for laying hens to alternatives, including free-range and indoor litter-based systems, allowing birds to behave naturally. Between 2001 and 2004, there was a large increase in the numbers of flocks being kept in more humane housing.

The cause of death was recorded in 914 hens from 172 flocks. For each of the birds tested, the housing system of their flock was recorded.

There were significantly more deaths in flocks farmed either free-range or from indoor litter-based systems than in flocks of caged chickens. The most common cause of death recorded was bacterial infection, most often caused by E. coli. These diseases were more frequently seen in flocks from litter-based and free-range systems than in caged birds. In addition, free-range chickens and chickens from litter-based housing were more likely to have been pecked by other birds, which can affect welfare and lead to death. Parasitic infections caused by mites were also more common. However, housing did not appear to affect the incidence of viral infections

Science Daily

What variety were the chickens? Most modern breeds have been bred to depend on the antibiotic cocktail given in confinement housing to stay healthy.

What was the “free range” set up? Releasing them into a pen that will soon be a barren, compacted, manure filled dirt lot is no more natural than a confinement house ripe with airborne fecal matter.

The way to raise healthy delicious chickens is in outdoor confinement pens that are moved to fresh grass every day. This system has numerous advantages. First the chickens are moved to fresh grass every day, this gives them plenty of fresh vitamin filled greenery and insects. When you move the pen, you’re moving them from the manure and all the health and management problems that come from it. These pens don’t smell, and the remaining manure is processed by insects and plant life, putting it right back into the soil. There is zero pollution with this method, plus the greenery they’re eating supplements the grain, so you feed them less.

My spawn, seen feeding chickens, this very morning…



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