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All Vegetarian Diet in Chickens - Bell & Evans

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 29, 2013 at 5:20 PM

Hi, I have eaten Bell and Evans chicken for a long time as I thought it was better and more natural than buying regular grain fed.

They have this on their packaging:

  • All Vegetable Diet
  • Raised Without Antibiotics
  • No Animal By-Products
  • No Growth Hormones
  • No Hexane Gas
  • No Preservatives
  • No Artificial Flavorings
  • No Fillers or Extenders
  • No Hydrogenated Oils

Been on Paleo diet for about 5 weeks and have had zero beans. I randomly decided to check into the all vegetarian feed that they advertise on their packaging, only to find that it is partly extruded soybeans.

This does not excite me for 2 reasons, 1 being that soybeans is not on the Paleo diet, but more importantly that Soybeans are typically the most GMO'd bean there is.

http://www.bellandevans.com/content/all-vegetarian-diet

What are your thoughts on this product and the use of extruded soybeans in their chicken feed? Given this information and only having 2 practical options of this versus regular storebought chicken, what are your thoughts?

thanks.

582e89904fef55ad5c7dac673653ef8c

(281)

on April 30, 2013
at 02:02 PM

I'm glad you added this. I'm not sure everyone knows that the alternative to vegetarian conventional chickens is ones fed animal byproducts. I would almost probably prefer a vegetarian chicken over a cannibalistic chicken. Might just be my ethics though.

3491e51730101b18724dc57c86601173

(8395)

on April 30, 2013
at 01:20 AM

Second that--pastured chicken is the ideal. And it helps to go to the farm yourself to see the chickens running around. We buy from a farm where they are really, truly pastured and running around with ducks, goats, sheep, and a llama, guarded over by herding dogs. It's really fun to see the source of our food!

3d58b5fb4f9780e2f47d4dcc53338a5a

(2771)

on April 29, 2013
at 05:56 PM

We are what we eat. Chickens are what they eat as well. It's the same reason we prefer to have grass fed beef over grain fed. It's not that the grain or soy is going directly into our system, it's that the fat composition and other nutrient balances aren't as optimal as we like. Yes, conventional chicken is much better than eating soy, but if we're fine tuning our diet and choosing between two types of chicken or beef, I think it's more preferable to eat the meat that was raised more like the animal was meant to eat. Still, I'll eat conventional chicken due to the costs of pastured birds.

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6 Answers

4
3d58b5fb4f9780e2f47d4dcc53338a5a

(2771)

on April 29, 2013
at 05:32 PM

The "All Vegetarian Diet" claim that a lot of chicken manufacturers throw about isn't necessarily good for several reasons. The first is the one you mentioned, with soy being part of the diet.

The most important thing to remember is that chickens aren't vegetarians. If left on their own, like pastured chickens should be, they will eat bugs. They're opportunists and will eat pretty much anything, but like bugs, like most birds. Chickens that eat more bugs usually have higher concentrations of omega 3s in their eggs and just seem all around better for you.

Also, I believe that chickens in the US aren't allowed to have hormones, so that's just a marketing ploy. That's like saying "Chicken - Now gluten free!"

Please note that cage free doesn't equate running around in the yard finding bugs.

It's good that this company doesn't use a lot of chemicals, but try finding a pastured chicken instead.

3491e51730101b18724dc57c86601173

(8395)

on April 30, 2013
at 01:20 AM

Second that--pastured chicken is the ideal. And it helps to go to the farm yourself to see the chickens running around. We buy from a farm where they are really, truly pastured and running around with ducks, goats, sheep, and a llama, guarded over by herding dogs. It's really fun to see the source of our food!

3
D60b434d731c50fd3ea86fe4fc52caf0

on April 30, 2013
at 12:40 AM

Chickens are not naturally vegetarians! You see a chicken in the field pecking at the ground, they are eating bugs! Try to find some free-range chicken.

2
A6e2b231f69366ce825476c5a6dcfff6

(1967)

on April 30, 2013
at 01:28 PM

Vegitarian fed means they are not grinding up the dead chickens and feeding them to the live ones. It's a good thing, but still not at as good as pastured.
I would buy the eggs you listed if my usual farmer was out for some reason.

582e89904fef55ad5c7dac673653ef8c

(281)

on April 30, 2013
at 02:02 PM

I'm glad you added this. I'm not sure everyone knows that the alternative to vegetarian conventional chickens is ones fed animal byproducts. I would almost probably prefer a vegetarian chicken over a cannibalistic chicken. Might just be my ethics though.

1
04a4f204bc2e589fa30fd31b92944549

(975)

on April 30, 2013
at 05:09 AM

Chickens are natural omnivores. Forcing them into vegetarianism is unnatural and probably affects the nutritional value. Otherwise, sounds pretty healthy to me being antibiotic free and all that. I'm not sure if the proteins in soy find their way into the meat or eggs. I'm thinking not, since I have a horrible soy allergy and wouldn't be able to eat chicken if this was true!

0
D7cc4049bef85d1979efbd853dc07c8e

(4029)

on April 30, 2013
at 02:16 AM

For all the things they get correct, Vegetarian diet is a mark against the producer and product. Better than CAFO probably, but there is no note you gave us on the living environment of the chickens. Cage-free is slightly above conventional, free range is better than cage-free, pasture raised is often a step above free range because the chickens are allowed to eat everything they can catch (bugs, worms, snakes, etc.) in addition to the seed and grains the farmer gives them.

0
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on April 29, 2013
at 05:46 PM

Chicken fed soy is still chicken, not soy. Soy making up a part of the ration is fine. The product itself sounds fine. Don't sweat it.

3d58b5fb4f9780e2f47d4dcc53338a5a

(2771)

on April 29, 2013
at 05:56 PM

We are what we eat. Chickens are what they eat as well. It's the same reason we prefer to have grass fed beef over grain fed. It's not that the grain or soy is going directly into our system, it's that the fat composition and other nutrient balances aren't as optimal as we like. Yes, conventional chicken is much better than eating soy, but if we're fine tuning our diet and choosing between two types of chicken or beef, I think it's more preferable to eat the meat that was raised more like the animal was meant to eat. Still, I'll eat conventional chicken due to the costs of pastured birds.

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