Perhaps you have decided you’d like to raise some chickens of your own. Problem is, what is the best way to raise your flock? Should you stick to the old fashion method, or move on to the new organic fad that is sweeping so many other hobbies? So your question may then become: What does it mean to raise chickens organically? What steps and precautions does one need to do in order to be classified as “organic”? First, before deciding to go organic, understand the facts: It has been shown that chickens, and any food, raised organically are healthier and contain a considerable amount less of harmful pesticides and chemicals in their diet. With the increase in awareness of health concerns, many are now turning to this healthier lifestyle.
With that being said, the question still remains, what does it mean to raise chickens organically? One definition, the one most important for those that are choosing to sell their eggs and chickens on market, means your flock meet FDA standards for organic. They are feed an all organic diet, are not caged, and do not have their wings or beaks clipped. They are in a sense free range chickens. Some will go so far as to say your flock cannot receive certain vaccinations. Additionally, your flock cannot receive any antibiotics, or any drugs for that matter. Basically how one can view it is anything that goes into your bird will ultimately make its way to its consumer, and many of these drugs are not ideal for human consumption, and are a way for large companies to mass produce their chickens for sale. In order to mark your items as organic for market sale, one must get certified.
For those who are choosing to raise chickens organically for their own purposes, and not for market, you can still take into consideration all that is needed for sale. Your chickens should still be fed an organic diet, and allowed to free range. It is entirely up to the owner whether or not they feel their chickens should be vaccinated or should receive medicine when sick. A free range chicken on a healthy diet is unlikely to get sick. The best organic chicken is ultimately a happy chicken. Keep your flock healthy and happy by allowing them daily access to a pasture, as well as giving them attention. Many do not realize that chickens are very social creature and enjoy the human interaction, especially once they become comfortable with that human. Be sure to take all safety measures before allowing your flock to free range to protect against unwanted predators, although allowed to free range the flock should still be monitored. Additionally, be sure your flock has a coop or house to retire too, or flee to if they feel threatened. And last but not least, always make sure your flock has access to water, and be sure to supply fresh and clean water daily as many contaminants and bacteria build up in water left unattended.
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