There is no secret that pasture-raised chicken meat is more nutrient dense than non-pasture-raised chicken. More and more farmers are testing their products and posting the results for their customers and the world to see. Randy Kleinman, who farms with his family on Seelye Brook Farms in Anoka County Minnesota ran a two year study that compared a daily move chicken tractor to a day range chicken tractor. Over the course of the trial, he recorded key production numbers, including feed conversion, labor, and nutrition.
The study was funded by a 2019 Minnesota Department of Agriculture AGRI Sustainable Agriculture Demonstration Grant award. The first year of the trial compared a spring and fall batch of Cornish cross and the second year compared a spring and fall batch of Freedom Rangers. Each season collected data relevant to the production method. Randy designed the trial so that each production method would forage on the same amount of pasture over the course of the batch.
Key takeaways from trial:
- Day range systems require more labor.
- Chicken tractor birds had less fat than day range birds.
- Cornish cross had less fat than the Freedom Rangers.
- The pastured birds are a source of Vitamin E whereas the non pastured birds are not.
- Cholesterol in each the pasture-raised birds was higher than the USDA index.
- Pasture-raised chicken meat is not a source of Vitamin A.
- The pastured meat birds had significantly lower Omega 6:3 rations than USDA standard nutritional index. Samples included the thigh and breast.
Randy discusses the trial, setup, and results in more depth in the podcast episode. His findings track very closely with the American Pastured Poultry Producers Association nutrition study.
Research Report: Comparison of Mobile Confinement and Day Range Production Systems for Pasture Raised Chickens
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