Food Labels: Free-Run Chickens

Food Label Tag GreenYes, I too have spent significant time reading the packaging at the supermarket. Which is better? Free-Run? Free-Range? They aren’t the same?

Read on for more. Check out the definition for Free-Range Chickens as well.

Please note: Free-run chickens can also be called “cage-free chickens”.

Excerpt from Ecoholic

“These chickens get to run around open-concept barns equipped with wire grid floors, but they have no access to the outdoors. By the way, this is an industry-devised term; no feds oversee the label or inspect the farms.”

From the BC SPCA website

free-run-chickens“Free-Run hens are raised free from battery cages and are kept entirely indoors on a barn floor. Free-Run housing that provides deep bedded sawdust (or other fibrous bedding material) is often referred to as a Deep-Litter System. Free-run housing does not necessarily provide more space per hen than conventional battery cages, and is not required to provide resources such as nest boxes, perches, or a substrate for dust-bathing.

While free run hens have no access to the outdoors, the barns may be designed to allow natural light to enter and the birds are better protected from external threats, such as predators.

Note: The ‘free run’ label that may be seen on some broiler (meat) chicken can mislead consumers by suggesting that meat chickens are raised in cages. In fact, no meat chickens are raised in cages; they are either free run or free range.