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From the News Archives...

Free-range chickens are healthier than vegetarian and confinement-raised chickens

Chickens are not, by nature, vegetarians. Indeed, they have a ravenous appetite for worms, grubs, and insects. In response to consumer worries about the use of animal by-products in animal feed, some poultry producers are feeding their confined birds a 100% vegetarian diet. However, a year-long survey at a federally inspected slaughter house determined that birds fed a vegetarian diet had a higher rate of disease than chickens fed a standard commercial diet or chickens housed on pasture and allowed to supplement their diet with grasses and insects. The free-range birds were the healthiest of all. This argues for a "species appropriate" diet for chickens as well as all other animals.

Herenda, D. and O. Jakel (1994). "Poultry abattoir survey of carcass condemnation for standard, vegetarian, and free range chickens." Can Vet J 35(5): 293-6.


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