Chicken: what's your choice?

Whatever is cheapest/on sale
11% (36 votes)
A reputable brand name chicken
19% (61 votes)
Free range, organically raised, happy chickens only
48% (157 votes)
I don't eat chicken at all
18% (59 votes)
Other (tell us in the comments!)
4% (13 votes)
Total votes: 326
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i wish i could buy free range all the time, but i'm a poor student and can't afford it :(

In Western Australia, I'm lucky to be able to find Mt. Barker free range chicken in every supermarket and butcher. I went exclusively free-range with eggs about six years ago, and with chicken as soon as I could find a reputable company to buy from.

Locally grown, never been frozen is my ideal. I should know where the farm is and whether the birds are kept in good or bad conditions. The birds do not need to be free range or organic to make me happy, because I know both are not always reliable about conditions on the farm. The farm smelling like a manure pile is a very reliable indicator. The pasture being grazed to bare dirt is another.

It takes a lot of effort for a farmer to get their chickens slaughtered, packaged and shipped to market without ever getting frozen. In the US it is quite legal for a bird to be frozen and still sold as "fresh"... a farmer who refuses to do that and has a farm that doesn't stink... they tend to put out very tasty chickens.

If I don't know where the farm is, I tend to go for free range and as local as possible. Right now I'm living in a new area, so I'm having to compromise on chicken. I can get free range birds from farms I can visit... frozen. Or I can get free range birds from "local farms" in the grocery store that are "fresh" by government standards but not by mine. Very depressing, so I'll keep hunting for a source of better chicken.

I don't eat chicken at all; after many years of being lacto-ovo vegetarian (or very close to it), I made the decision a month or so ago to do my best to go vegan! It started out as a decision for my health (reduce/eliminate saturated fat), but the more I read, the more it is also becoming an ethical standpoint for me.

I agree with the consensus that chicken is probably the most popular type of meat. Because of that, if more people paid attention to where the chicken meat they are purchasing comes from, there'd likely be a large impact on the farming/slaughtering conditions of poultry here in the U.S. For me, it's less a matter of politics and more commonsense - happier animals make better meat and eggs/offspring.

I can empathize with those who find good chicken to be too expensive. It's not cheap, but that's why in our home, we don't eat it everyday. But when we do, it's a meal that we highly value and savor.

free range from whole foods. non-organic.

Starting this year, I'm only going to buy happy eggs from happy chickens. I don't buy chicken. But I do buy deli meats. I'm going to try to only buy happy deli meats.

For chicken, I buy free range from the Whole Foods, though one set of chicken breasts lasts me a very long time. For eggs I go to the farmer's market, or buy free range from whole foods, or at a local creamery that sells eggs from nearby farms. Makes a huge difference. I used to hate supermarket eggs when I was a kid, now I love eggs, especially poached or soft boiled!

I rarely buy meat to cook at home (usually use tofu and veggies), though I certainly eat them when I dine out. So when I do buy meat/chicken, I just grab whatever is there...usually choose it by the weight. But I buy eggs regularly and always get free range, brown eggs. I like to crack one on a bowl of hot steaming rice. It is delicious and doesn't make me feel sick like "regular" white egg does when consumed semi-raw.

About pork being white or red meat, I remember in the late 90s there was a commercial (here in California) promoting pork as "the other white meat." I don't know what element distinguishes the two, but from then on I always thought pork = white meat.

I have decided for the moment to stop eating chicken since the quality seems to be so poor in the store. I have a Whole Foods in Tampa, but that is across the bay and is to far to go since I no longer work in Tampa (live in St. Petersburg, FL). I have natural food stores closer to me, but do not go to the ones with meat sections that often since they are several miles away from me. I will eat eggs, but those are usually rehydrated egg whites that go into recipes.

The other reason for currently giving up chicken is that I have a very small kitchen (think bathroom sized) and to cook chicken and keep it clean properly while prepareing food is just impossible.

Now I will eat chicken when I eat out, but I and my finace eat out very seldom.

I would currently describe my eating habits as no red meat vegetarian and am unable to go vegen since I am soy intolerant (not fair, especially I like soy milk and tofu). However, most of my protien at the moment comes from beans and lentils since those are cheap and easy to cook or buy canned. Those are also good for recipes that allow me to take something for a cold lunch (when I get a job) that does not have the hazards of chicken or fish, but will give me a good protein source besides peanut butter.

Hi Janelle,

I see you posted quite a while ago. In case you still live in St. Pete, Rollin' Oats has Springer Mountain chicken. It is not local, but it is very good quality. You could also check out * (Sea Breeze Organic Farm Delivery). You may be on their route???

Also see for local food in the St. Petersburg area...

Hope this helps,

I buy the cheapest... but from Whole Foods. I find that chicken (and seafood) from regular supermarkets doesn't smell right to me.

I try to buy organic, free-range chicken when I can, which is most of the time, really. But sometimes I'm just not able to. I don't like reading about the living conditions of the animals that I eat, but at the same time, I feel it's my obligation to understand what I'm a part of. I always buy organic milk and I've recently started buying more and more organic produce and organic eggs.

What are we all to do when milk, eggs and meat from cloned animals make it into the food stream. That scares me. A lot.

I have chosen not to eat any meat at all for the past 32 years, more than half my life. I feel there is no reason to kill merely for personal nutrition, when that need can easily be met without hurting a living creature. I love and respect animals and our planet. By not eating animals, I know I am also helping the hungry people in the world by eating lower on the food chain. Also, because I do not have it in me to kill the animal myself, I have no right to make other people do the slaughter for me. Livia

I picked 'cheapest' but I shop at a supermarket I trust where they only sell chicken that's been reared in line with certain minimum standards. I think the chickens are kept in barns, but they have roosting perches, more room and are allowed toys. Not ideal, but not the worst it could be - although to be honest I haven't really really looked into this.

I'd love to be able to afford to buy chicken reared in a friendlier way, but the prices seem to take such an enormous hike between the chicken I buy and free range, organic stuff. When I go to my local farmers' market, I'd rather buy something wild to be honest, like venison or duck, than chicken. Surprisingly, chicken is more expensive than venison there!

As for eggs, I don't think I've bought anything other than free range eggs for about 10 years now. It's such an easy choice to make because eggs aren't expensive anyway.

As for 'no right to eat meat if you don't kill the animal yourself' - is that not a different debate? And anyway, you could say the same about so much in society - if you take it to the extreme you could say anyone not willing to fight in a war and die for their country has no right to enjoy the protection of their armed forces, which is clearly silly. I'm happy to let professionals slaughter animals - it's their job. There's plenty of things people can't do and rely on others to do it for them, that's how society works. Saying that, I definitely reckon the time is coming when we're all going to have to eat less meat, purely from an environmental point of view.

Chicken is a huge staple in my diet. I have made the effort to go to a farm for fresh chickens--in fact, I have two in my freezer from Cedar Meadow Farm in Connecticut, US (where I live) that were slaughtered the morning I bought them. I got to see the farm and talk to the farmer and it was really great. I tend to keep those for special occasions, mostly because they're expensive.

I try to go for organic chicken in the grocery store, but again, price can be an issue.

In general, I have been working towards a locavore diet, but some things just don't happen that way. I'd love to be able to buy several chickens from the farm, butcher them when I get home into smaller parts (so I don't have to roast a whole chicken every time I want some) and freeze them. Sure, I'd love not to freeze them, but driving an hour to the farm every week is not going to happen.

Someday, there will be a subsidy for local farmers and they'll be able to sell their food a little cheaper, so that everyone has access to quality and safe foods, but until then, I'll be a locavore as far as my wallet will spread.

Question: Can one eat too much spinach?

No, you can't eat too much of a leafy green.

Only if it is raw.

Yes, cooked, too much is not healthy.

No, if it is organic.

Hello Maki!

I responded "other" in your questionnaire because I do not eat chicken at all but I buy it for my husband.

I try to go vegan since last February (I still eat fish) because of health issues(I´m strongly impressed by the book "The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted...") and not eating chicken meat is very easy for me because firstly, my mother was preparing it almost every weekend, so I ate a lot of it already and secondly because chicken that we buy in supermarket are loaded with antibiotics and other not healthy stuff.

But I occasionaly buy chicken for my husband and I try to buy it free-range that it is of course more expensive.
Here, in Portugal, we have had some issues with eating chicken safety because of the disease that widespread in some chicken farms (it was not the bird flu, but I do not remeber what exactly). That made the prices fell down very fast, to sth like 1 Euro per kilo for farm chicken! Now, the situation normalised and I pay about 4 Euro per kilo for free-range chicken.

And if it is possible, I prefer to buy it from local farmers. It is getting more difficult beacause farmers are afraid of the bird flu and do not want to risk to keep many chicken.

I only buy local chicken, from farms where I know the farmers personally. In a world where 'free range' can mean the chicken are kept in an overcrowded barn with a little door that only opens to the outside a few minutes a day, that seems like the only way to be sure of what I'm getting.

That said, we eat chicken very rarely :-)

I lived near a chicken farm as a child, and we were given a tour in grade school. I am not an animal rights activist, but I do try to be kind. 30 years later I will still occasionally have a nightmare that features a chicken farm. It was one of the most awful, inhumane things I have ever seen.

If I don't have the money to buy free-range chicken products, I eat macaroni and cheese that week. I just can't do it.

agitated when I still see people in the supermarket picking up cheap chickens and chicken bits. It's getting to the point where I have to bite my tongue to keep myself from criticizing them but I'm managing to keep myself in check (just).

I do feel for the chickens. Yes, if people dont eat this chicken anymore, then farmers wont sell battery hens (supply and demand), and then we'll have lots of healthy chickens to eat. But what you have to understand is that not everyone can afford an 'organic' shopping list, in australia organic produce is alot more expensive than normal produce, take eggs for example, normal eggs are around 2.70 in sydney, and organic eggs are around 4.75!!!!

Well, if you can come up with a more cost-effective and moral way of raising chickens, I encourage you to do so.

As with all foods, preferably fresh, organic and local.
A BIG THAnk YOU, Maki, for publicising this issue and for all your excellent sites. I spend more time than I should relishing recipes, appreciating the humour and culture and.... and.... and.... EVERYTHING!

Long may you continue to delight, encourage and inform us.