- Whole chickens
- Average 4.5 lbs
- Pasture-raised outdoors
- No antibiotics/hormones
- Certified Paleo Approved*
- Certified Wildlife Friendly**
- Product of USA (California)
- Feed Certified Organic, Soy-Free, GMO-Free
*Paleo Foundation; **Wildlife Friendly Enterprise Network
Vital Choice chickens are raised outside on pasture, without antibiotics, by Pasturebird of Southern California.
Our birds belong to the Freedom Ranger breed — a hybrid of American and European heritage chicken breeds.
Compared with “pure” heritage breeds, our birds offer a more robust meat-to-bone ratio, and slightly bigger breasts — along with the luscious dark meat that comes from a life spent entirely on pasture.
Like pure heritage breeds, they grow more slowly than industrial birds, and boast normal, healthy well-proportioned bodies.
The birds are never de-beaked and never receive antibiotics — which most poultry farms feed to their chickens to accelerate growth artificially.
And, Vital Choice chickens grow for 11 weeks, versus the 4-5 weeks typical of industrial farms, whose birds develop deformed bodies because of their breeding and unnaturally rapid growth. (See “How American chicken changed”, below.)
Rotationally grazed, nutritionally superior
The methods employed by Pasturebird meet the criteria of the rigorous French Label Rouge poultry standard, which preserves time-tested traditions that produce wholesome, nutritious, “real” food.
Every day, pickup trucks pull the screened, floorless, fabric huts that house the birds — called “chicken tractors” — to new pasture, so they can feast freely on grass, weeds, seeds, insects, and worms.
This mobile housing ensures that the birds enjoy fresh, rich pasture every day, and allows each patch regenerate for 90 days before being grazed by a new flock.
It also builds organic matter, helps the soil hold moisture, and lets native grasslands sequester carbon from the air and store it in the soil.
In addition to natural, fertilizer, pesticide & herbicide-free pasture, the chickens are given certified organic, soy-free, GMO-free feed.
Thanks to these practices, our pasture-raised poultry has less fat, less saturated fat, more vitamin A, and more omega-3s, versus either industrial chicken or standard free-range* birds.
How American chicken changed
From the 1930s through the 1960's, poultry producers set out to raise bigger, cheaper chickens.
They achieved their goal, but that success resulted in the huge, bland, low-cost birds found in supermarkets.
Poultry producers did it through crossbreeding and by feeding their birds growth-accelerating antibiotics: a practice that may create antibiotic-resistant "super-bugs".
Today's "super-chickens" grow incredibly fast, but have trouble walking and suffer ailments caused by their grotesquely abnormal bodies.
As the journal Poultry Science put it, if humans grew as fast as modern broilers, "a 6.6 lbs. newborn baby would weigh 660 lbs. after two months.”
And, according to a 2017 study by the World Wildlife Fund, it takes six modern, factory farmed chickens to provide the same amount of omega-3s as one chicken from the 1970s.
We will only sell chickens grown naturally, without antibiotic growth-promoters, to a size at or below what the ASPCA calls a chicken’s "skeletal capacity.”