Free Range chickens – layers and eggs

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Free range layers are very easy to manage and grow. When you are looking for free range eggs – the chicken producer will have to follow certain guidelines to call the eggs free range (remember free range and organic are not the same). Many egg suppliers and braai chicken suppliers use the term without knowing, or maybe they do – that the terms have a specific meaning, and a set of specific laws that go with each.

free range poultry picture

Free range and natural

Free range means that the chickens can range freely – it does not specify what the birds are fed, or what medication they are given. Any one can raise free range chickens and produce free range eggs – it is very easy if you have space. Cage eggs are also very easy to grow – well easy if you are not the hen or broiler. Organic eggs, due to the stringent regulations and lack of GMO free chicken feed in South Africa is not so easy.

Laying cages are not allowed in free range poultry farming. A layer cage is a cage that the birds are crammed into for intensive poultry farming. The chickens live their life in the cage and never get to forage naturally outside. Organic poultry farming by definition includes free range farming. Organic eggs must come from a chicken that free ranges but also follows many other regulations and organic requirements. These include how much of the chicken feed is organic, and how much of it is produced on the poultry farm that is farming organic eggs. The act regulates what medication is given to the poultry and also what stimulants and steroids are fed to the chickens. The whole supply chain is monitored – so that the consumer is sure that the chickens or eggs are indeed organic chickens and organic eggs.

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