Unfortunately, the term"pastured" isn't regulated, so it can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Pretty labels with pictures of green fields on them aren't worth the paper they're printed on. A much better approach is to find a farmer who's open about exactly what pastured means.
What is Pastured Chicken? Questions to Ask
- How often do you move your chickens? This is the most important and obvious question. Ideally, chickens should move every day or two. It might be a bit longer if a farmer is using portable electric fencing to make more room for each chicken, but it shouldn't be weeks.
- Can I visit? Even if you don't have plans to make a trip, any farmer should be more than happy to have you stop by. If you do go to a farm, look to see if they are on fresh grass.
- What else do you feed your chickens? Unlike beef, there is no such thing as grass fed chicken. Chickens raised for meat must have a concentrated feed source, which usually means grain. Be skeptical of any farmer who tries to hide this fact. Chickens eat grain, and that's okay!