I was challenged by this question and I can't really think of an answer to that. I was curious at your thoughts.
The quality of free-range, organic chicken is superior in taste and texture. Also, the bird isn't stressed out as they are in factory farmed environment. And there are health issues with factory farmed birds and anti-biotics. This article is worth reading. http://www.grist.org/article/2011-02-15-chicken-antibiotic-resistant-bacteria-and-regulatory-independenc The question is not in preparation, but in thoughtful research and discovering what big-ag is really doing to not only our health but the environment.
Thanks for the question!
Yes, if you are making salmonella Buffalo wing you will definitely want to go with the factory farmed version. On the other hand Paula Wolfert, in context of foie gras, said "I'd rather be a force fed duck than a Zacky Farms chicken."
I like the responses so far.
The challenge I got was "But you can’t use it (free ranged 'silky but I'm guessing the person meant a breed ideal for roasting) for fried chicken – it simply lacks the intramuscular fat and expanded breast meat that the standard broiler has. In that preparation, the factory farmed broiler is more appropriate."
I got chickens from the Marin Sun Farms meat CSA and was certainly able to fry up my free range broilers. I don't know that I've ever had a chicken, free range or factory farmed with much intramuscular fat--beef, certainly, but not really chickens. Also, there was plenty of subcutaneous fat in the free range birds for me to trim and render.
As for the factory farmed, I imagine they might be better for making the goo from mechanically separated chicken parts that goes into the making of industrial chicken nuggets. Their spongy texture might be an asset in this application, plus their soft bones are bound to add some nutritious calcium to your kids' diets.
Well, any recipe that calls for "chicken thighs" or any other collection of parts is usually from a factory farm, since a real bird has only 2 thighs, 2 legs, etc. Packaged parts are assembly line parts.
Since we raise our own birds, often I'll cut up a bird and freeze the "parts" separately, to use later if I only want, for instance, thighs.
Sometimes birds that are really free range (as opposed to the ones that are uncaged but essentially still cooped up by the thousands) can be firmer in texture; you can achieve a juicier bird by brining.
Biologically, a chicken is a chicken. CAFO chickens are no different from a free range chicken in any muscular or structural fashion. I also hate to break the hearts of all out there a free range chicken DOES NOT have less pathogens than a conventional chicken. I know, because I am in the organic livestock business and I deal daily with all of the USDA required testing for pathogens. What you are getting is a more humanely raised chicken without any drugs, including antibiotics, ionophores, arsenic, growth promotants, etc. You are also getting a better tasting chicken. Your organic chicken will always shine in any meal you prepare.
I would also recommend to use the term CAFO, concentrated animal feeding operations, over factory farming. The conventional livestock business loves this term, but I think it is a worst term than factory farm. It kind of says it all!
I agree with prettypeas, those factory birds work much better in applications which require you to puree the whole bird.