Where food labels are concerned, it’s generally a case of do your homework before you shop. And when shopping for chicken, labels like “natural” and “farm raised” don’t really help to inform you about where or how the chicken was raised. “Organic,” on the other hand, tells you that the hen was given USDA certified organic feed and by definition, these birds are free range and have been given no drugs, antibiotics or hormones.
“Certified Humane” is a label given by the Humane Farm Animal Care organization to farms which raise, transport, handle, and slaughter animals in a compassionate manner. “Vegetarian fed” and “No Antibiotics administered” are both important labels as well, these indicate that the hen was fed no animal by-product and was not given antibiotics during the course of its life. “Heritage” denotes a hen from an heirloom breed with a slower growth rate.