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Know What Chicken You are Buying: Get to Know It Here!

May 26, May

We now live in a world when buying chicken isn’t that simple anymore. There are just so many types to choose from—free-range, free-run, and pasture-raised. Which is which? Most importantly, how are they different from a “normal” chicken? 

Here’s a guide on how to differentiate them and help you choose the right one on your next grocery shopping trip, especially if you want to make the sustainable and ethical choice.

Free-Range Chicken

When you see free-range chicken at the grocery, these are chickens that are not cooped together in a cage or a small space. Instead, the chickens have a lot of space to roam around, and they have the freedom to access the outdoors. 

The cooped-up lifestyle is typical for factory-farmed chickens that produce the eggs that we eat. 


Most chickens are raised indoors in crowded barns in poor conditions. Free-run chickens that are taken indoors are given a lot of space to roam around, and the environment is clean and well-ventilated. 

Giving animals the freedom to move will let them maintain a natural level of activity. In turn, this will help reduce their stress levels. Free-range and free-run chickens are highly recognizable for a more tinge of yellow fat on their skin. 


Pasture-raised chickens are placed outside on pastures. Indeed, these chickens are free to enjoy the fresh air. Most of them are actually raised in mobile cages that let farmers move the chicken across the land when a pasture is saturated. 

Here, the chickens have a special diet. Aside from bugs and worms, their food is also mixed with grains. 

Here are some other terms that you will come across when you’re shopping for poultry at your local supermarket: 

  • Certified organic: Organic chicken needs to be free-range, has access to the outdoors at all times and raised without antibiotics. They are also raised on an organic feed diet. Therefore, the grains that they eat are certified organic without genetically modified ingredients. 
  • Antibiotic-free: These are chickens that don’t have antibiotics, which means the chickens are antibiotic-free before they got slaughtered. Even though all chickens were raised with antibiotics, 10-15 days before slaughter, antibiotic-free chickens are no longer on antibiotics, which means it’s already out of their system when sent to processing and the grocery. 

Keep in mind that here in Canada, the standards and regulations for chicken are stricter compared to the US. You should also know that farmers incur the costs of being certified. A lot of small farmers meet or exceed the organic standards in the country but prefer not to pay for labelling certification because it can get costly. 


With so many labels and names, it’s crucial to be aware of what type of chicken you’re buying. You don’t want chickens that are infused with so many chemicals; you want the healthiest chicken out there for you and your family. Use this information to help you identify the right chicken to serve on the table. Also, make sure you only buy chickens from a reliable brand to guarantee the highest quality and safety. 

Looking for ethically raised poultry delivered to your door? Northern Raised is known for its ethical farming in Brampton, ON. We are an online meat delivery service. Contact us today!

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Northern Raised

Northern Raised delivers the highest-quality meats & fish from local, ethical, and sustainable Ontario farmers dedicated to raising their animals in a natural way.
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At Northern Raised we have a vision for deeper connections to personal wellness and the world around us. Our vision is to create a solution that enables individuals and families to experience that connection, starting with the food on our plates. We see opportunity for a richer, more meaningful human and culinary experience through connecting with our food chain in an intentional way.
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