KOL Foods sells the only organic, pastured kosher chicken on the market. While the below is information about the benefits of pastured chickens, our chickens have the additional benefits of being antibiotic free and given feed that is hormone, chemical and animal by-product free.
Nutritional Differences Between Pasture-Fed Chickens Vs. Non (including most Organic)
by Dawn Walls-Thumma, Demand Media
Left to their own devices, chickens will forage for grass and seeds, like many other livestock, and supplement their diet with a hearty portion of insects. Animal welfare or environmental considerations often motivate consumers to seek out pasture-fed poultry, but increasingly, they can look to nutritional studies of pasture-fed chicken.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's labeling for meat and poultry products can be misleading. For example, the labels "free-range" and "free-roaming" chicken simply require producers to demonstrate that the birds had access to the outdoors (see References 1). Regulations do not state how much space the flock must be given or require that the chickens have access to a pasture diet. A 1999 study funded by the USDA's Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program and two 2008 studies published in "Poultry Science" found health benefits from eating pasture-fed chicken meat. All three studies compared the nutritional quality of meat from birds raised conventionally -- indoors in poultry sheds and fed a grain-based diet -- to those raised on pasture, not merely granted outdoor access, as required by USDA regulations. When purchasing chicken, select birds labeled as pasture-raised.
In 1999, using a grant from the USDA's Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program, chicken farmer Barb Gorski compared the nutrition of her chickens to USDA data for conventionally raised poultry. Her pasture-raised poultry contained 21 percent less fat than conventional chicken, and 30 percent less saturated fat. (See References 2)
Gorski's study also revealed 50 percent more vitamin A in her pasture-raised chicken meat when compared to conventionally raised broilers. Removing the skin from the meat equalized vitamin A content between pasture- and conventionally raised birds, however. (See References 2)
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Two 2008 studies out of Portuguese universities and published in "Poultry Science" found that pasture-fed chicken contained significantly higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids than chickens raised without access to fresh forage. One study found significantly higher levels of eicosapentaenoic acid, one of the omega-3 fatty acids. The second study found higher levels of four different omega-3 fatty acids in grass-fed birds (see References 4).