Why Choose Pasture Fed Chicken? Free Range-Cage Free-Organic what do the labels really mean.

It's no secret that consumers are more educated and concerned about where their food comes from; rightly so.  We have all been there, standing in a grocery store aisle staring at all the containers of chicken.  At first glance they all look about the same.  You lift up pack of chicken breasts in your right hand, then slowly you raise your left hand glancing from one label to the other.  The container on the right has a fancy green and white label, the one on the left has the plain generic store label.   

The chicken breasts in the green and white label look like they were gift wrapped, while the store brand look like a butcher in the back threw them together and slapped a label on it.  

"Is there really a difference," you ask yourself?  Is there justification for the price per pound?  Let's take a closer look at each of these labels.

Pasture Raised

Wildly Tasty Chicken’s are raised this way.  We have done extensive research to ensure that our chickens live in an environment as close as nature intended. 

Chickens are raised outdoors on grass, in the sunshine, and fresh air.  Pasture raised chickens might have only a border fence, with guard dogs to keep predators away.  Chickens raised on pasture might be brought in a night and let back out during the day.


Our chickens are raised in a chicken tractor.  It is a wooden structure with hardware wire walls that allow fresh air, and sunshine 24/7.  The bottom is open so chickens are on pasture grass.

Chickens move freely, lay down and stretch out in the cool shade or bath in the warm sunshine.  Wildly Tasty Chickens scratch, peck, and sleep outside.  Cooling breezes from overhead fans and radiant heat lamps keep our birds happy and healthy in Michigan's beautiful outdoors. Tarp covered roofs provide shelter from spring storms and summer heat.  The chicken tractors are moved 1-2 times a day to new fresh green pasture.

The truth is chickens are herbivores just like us, that means they eat grasses, flowers, vegetables, fruit, and even the occasional bug.  If done right, Wildly Tasty Chicken meat is the freshest, clean and healthy food choice for you and your family.  It does cost a little more to make this choice, but the amount of benefits make it well worth the price.  Higher vitamin, mineral and Omega 3 content, lower in fat than store chicken, fresh locally sourced, clean food.  No Antibiotics, hormones, GMOs, or other toxins.  Supports locally sourced food, benefiting the environment and economy.

The truth is there are little to no regulations regarding the term Pasture Raised or Grass Fed.  USDA guidelines have no requirements for the type of pasture, length of time outdoors, or how many birds in an area.  Pasture raised chicken may mean 3 birds per square feet of space, fenced in an area that is dirt and fed supplemental grain as their only food option. 

"Pasture" raised chickens may have a single fenced in run as a pasture and spend most of their time in a tarp covered coup, with multiple layers of wire shelves called "aviaries."  It is important to do some research.

Wildly Tasty Chicken offers farm pick up options so that you can see where your meat comes from.  You can even book a walking tour or horseback riding tour of the farm guided by one of our Chicken Wranglers.  

Free Range

According to the USDA guidelines chickens labeled “free range” never actually have to go outside a day in their life.  How is this possible?  

The regulations are written so vaguely it allows a chicken producers to  have a door open on the warehouse and they qualify.  Some of these doors are open to an enclosed porch, some are open to 3 x 3 dirt area, some are open, but so far off the ground that chickens can not even get outside.  The “free range” is access to outside.  It does not specifically state the birds must be allowed outside or establish set requirements for the outside area should be.

Chickens are still housed in a warehouse with thousands of chickens, barely able to move and no chance of getting on fresh green pasture. 2017 regulations that would have made stricter definitions were over turned.  When more space is needed, racks can be hung that count as square footage per chicken. 

These huge chicken producers often put out misleading videos showing the chickens roaming on fresh sawdust changed weekly.  If you have ever been around chick.ens then you know chickens poop constantly and it’s runny.  The floor will be coated and the sawdust stuck to it making a paste. There are thousands of chickens in the building all pecking the floor for “food”. 


In May, 2015, HBO's John Oliver did a special segment on chicken production and USDA regulations.  If you are easily shocked, watch with someone holding your hand.

       Chickens: Last week tonight with John Oliver (HBO)


Cage Free

Chickens are not in crates or boxes. They can be in floor to ceiling stack-able 3-sided "roosts."  They get no fresh air or sunlight.  If they can stand or move it is in their own feces. Shared water and food troughs are positioned right outside the open end so birds never need to move or even stand. Droppings and run off drain in the water and food supply. 

Cage Free?  I don't think so, chickens never go outside to scratch or walk, they do not eat a single blade of fresh grass.  Instead they are in raised in small buildings with wall to wall chickens.  Or, worse stacks of chickens sit on slated floors that allow fecal matter, feathers, and dirty water shower down.

Chickens peck constantly for food.  Birds raised in this environment  peck at and consume saw dust, fecal matter, and feathers, fighting boredom while hunting for bits of grain.

 Vegetarian Fed Chickens

This new term is so misleading.  The image this label implies is that the chickens are fed greens, carrots, watermelon, fruits and vegetables.

Nope.  The guidelines here are that they can be fed a grain only diet.  The quality of grain is not even regulated.  Cheap industrial grain might contain antibiotics, GMO’s, and not even be specifically formulated for chickens.

Organic Chicken

The USDA owns the labeling term "organic."  Some of the requirements are: fed 100 percent organic feed, provided year-round access to outdoors.  The standards however, are not well defined. Producers use loop-holes to qualify like access to outdoor dirt lots, chickens need to stay indoors due to poor weather (which can be everyday) too hot, too cold, too much wind, rain, fog...  Shocking standards allow for thousands of chickens to be stuffed into sheds and still sold as "organic."

One single agency oversees ALL of the "Certification" for the U.S.D.A.  for the entire country.  Read the upcoming blog post on how farms qualify for the Organic Certification label.


Immediately following the overturned 2017 USDA regulations regarding Chicken Farms and the Organic Label guidelines, Costco & other large chains decided to jump in to take some of that revenue away from Purdue and Tyson.  They opened their own giant poultry complex.

Now when you buy Costco's Organic chicken, or notorious $4.99 roaster  you will be biting into chicken that was raised with thousands of birds jammed in an enclosed steel building, never seeing the light of day (yum).

This decision by the Kirkland brand was so alarming that CNBC put out a special video in December 2018: 

Costco vs. America's Chicken Monopoly


Bottom line you are what you eat!  Eating well and choosing healthy, clean food is not the easy choice in this highly processed, quick and conveniently packaged world.  Wildly Tasty Chicken uses regenerative farming practices to raise pasture-raised organic chicken grown in Michigan.

The choice is yours; do you want to age gracefully and be healthy and happy as you age?  Is it important that you limit your consumption of antibiotics, hormones, GMOs and waste products?  Do you support local farms that practice environmentally minded sustainable farming? Wildly Tasty Chicken does, and we are out to educate others to care where their food comes from.