We've heard it said many times that pastured meat is better for us, right? But how do we really know that? I can tell you from experience that my pastured meat tastes better. I can also repeat horror stories I've read about feedlots and confinment chicken farms (although getting in to experience one first hand may be harder that breaking into Ft Knox). My personal experience is mine though and you must make your own choices. I want you to take a look at these two roosters for a personal perspective to this story.
Pilgrim grew up in the coop before we learned the true value of free ranging our animals. He was raised eating a diet of mostly store bought chicken feed. We have always given our chickens treats (veggies from the garden, bugs we catch in the wrong place, extra goat milk). And they snack on unfortunate bugs that climb into the coop all the time. At the time of this picture Pilgrim had been free ranging for about 6 months, after spending the first year of his life in the coop. He now has complete freedom to live his best chicken life with rin of the farm everyday.
Columbus was raised in a brooder and then turned out at about 4 weeks old. He has had to work for his food: digging and scratching in the dirt, pulling worms out of the compost pile, eating grass-basically whatever he could scratch up. He has spent his entire life running, digging, and lounging in the grass and sun.
There are no filters on these photos. Look closely at these boys. Notice the color differences on their beaks, combs, and legs. Same hatchery, same farm, different lifestyle. At this point I believe Pilgrim, while a big beautiful rooster, will never be as vibrant as Columbus. It really is true that you are what you eat.
If the saying "you are what you eat" is true, think about what that really means for us. If we are eating animals from a factory that never get to see the sun, never get to eat bugs, never have fresh vegetation, and never build muscle running, flying, and chasing each other and bugs what are we becoming? How much nutrition are we really getting? Is that something we want to support?
This is just more proof that happy free range animals = healthy animals = healthy humans.