We keep chickens, but for eggs only, not for eating. We have lost a lot, they tend to get taken out by birds of prey, or the odd fox, or just when you think everything is ticking along nicely - they get sick and drop dead, for no apparent reason - but they are all little characters. We currently have nine. It is because they are more of a pet (rather than the fact that we tend to buy brands which are layers rather than eaters), that we find ourselves having to buy chicken for food.
I totally agree with Hugh's 'chicken out' campaign and would love to see all chickens raised to the same standard of welfare as we raise our own at home. Add your voice to the 'Chicken Out' campaign here http://www.chickenout.tv/home.html
But if your budget won't stretch to a Free Range chicken then see if you can switch to a 'higher welfare' chicken, such as the Co-op Elmwood or the Tesco Willow Farm. When you invest in a whole chicken for your Sunday Roast, buy the biggest one you can afford, and ensure that you have room in your weekly menu to ensure that each and every part of the left overs are used up.
However with the cost of chicken spiralling ever upwards - (with the increasing price of corn alone having a big hand in the this), rather than buying chicken breasts I have been focusing on how we can use the cheaper cuts of the chicken, including legs and thighs, to make delicious family food.