Your Guide to Raising Healthy, Organic Chickens

hardworkinghippy/flickr

hardworkinghippy/flickr

By Jordan Walker

Raising chickens has gained popularity as more people have learned about the health risks and ethical issues around factory farming—and discovered how fun it is to raise these friendly, interesting animals. Jordan Walker, the lead content curator of Coops and Cages, shares the numerous benefits brought about by organic chickens and how to raise them.

It isn’t easy to raise organic chickens, but the return is pretty spectacular. Organic chickens pass through rigorous standards and are highly opted by consumers. That’s why they are always sought after in the market. Although the definition of organic varies from location to location, there are actually some notable similarities. If you are interested in raising organic chickens, here’s how you pull it off.

Feed Them an Organic Diet

Organic food refers to food that is not subjected to pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. Organic chicken feed is known to be safer and healthier for ingestion. Likewise, these also contain many more nutrients than their conventionally grown counterparts.

If you are planning on marketing these chickens, there are standards in place that dictate how much organic food they need to have and when they need to be fed such. Usually, these standards state that the chicks should be fed organic food as early as two days after hatching and should last for the rest of their life. Natural grass is the preferred choice among others.

Avoid Certain Substances

Antibiotics, drugs, and hormones that are used to promote growth are absolutely out of the question. These contain substances that will not get it accredited as organic. In some states, it is also illegal to use hormones due to their unnatural effects on poultry.

Vaccinations and medicine, too, should be limited and remains at the discretion of the owner.

Allow Them to Free Range

SMcGarnigle/Flickr  

SMcGarnigle/Flickr

 

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What this means is that the chickens should not be cooped up in cages. Creating custom miniature homes is a good idea. But it should have exit holes that lead to wide fields for them to freely roam around. Also, the nearby pasture should be secured and monitored well as there’s no telling when a predator might be able to enter and devour them. Even if the predator is subdued early on, the stress on the other chickens could cause them to grow unhealthy.

Keep Them Happy and Safe

Ultimately, the key to raising healthy organic chicken is to keep them happy. Allow them to roam in a pasture and eat fresh grass. Aside from that, provide them the company they need. Chickens are actually social creatures and are happier when they are comfortable with their owner or handler.

Additionally, chickens should have access to clean water. Their containers should be cleansed occasionally as bacteria, insects and contaminants can develop on stagnant water.

Advantages of Organic Chicken

Organic, free-range birds are happier, healthier and pass exponential benefits on to their caregivers. A chicken's organic diet translates into higher quality manure for your garden or yard, better eggs and better meat. 

Jordan Walker is the lead content curator for Coops and Cages as well as other pet-related blogs. His passion for animals is matched by his passion for “attempting” to play the guitar. If you would like to catch more of him, you can visit his Google+ or Twitter accounts.

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Nicole Caldwell

Nicole Caldwell is a self-taught environmentalist, green-living savant and sustainability educator with more than a decade of professional writing experience. She is also the co-founder of Better Farm and president of betterArts. Nicole’s work has been featured in Mother Earth News, Reader’s Digest, Time Out New York, and many other publications. Her first book, Better: The Everyday Art of Sustainable Living, is due out this July through New Society Publishers.