We get our locally and naturally raised free range chickens from Rocky Ridge Ranch in Reardan, Washington. Gary & So Angel are quite a team as they work together to bring to market chicken, beef, duck/chicken eggs, wooly pigs and all kinds of greens and veggies in the summer months. You can buy their duck eggs and frozen chickens now at the Spokane winter Farmer's Market at the Community Building from 1 pm to 5 pm on Thursdays.
We love the way So describes the chickens. She says, "I love my chickens. They walk around, they eat, and they're so happy." We've never met someone so enthusiastic about the mental health of chickens. So is also good for human mental health because you won't get through a purchase without a warm hug and an encouraging smile.
Gary has told me some interesting information about non-free range chickens. He explains that they have been bred through the years to plump up so quickly that they can't stand on their legs, so they spend their short lives sitting in a cage. He also clarified something for me about hormones. I've seen signs that describes some poultry as hormone free but then I've also heard that all chickens are hormone free. Gary explained to me that it's not that they are injected with hormones, but that when chickens are raised packed together in small spaces the stress they experience causes them to release hormones. I guess it's kind of like when we are stressed our bodies release adrenaline and cortisol.
Maybe the opposite is also true. Just like when we are happy we release happy hormones, So's happy chickens have all sorts of good happy hormones running through their systems.
I'm sure there are a variety of perspectives on this. Maybe someone can add more information or give a different perspective.