Organic Food and Beverages
Buy Organics: Where and How?
Organic Chicken Farming
Your Organic Chickens Need Organic Chicken Feed
Organic chicken farming is healthy for the environment. Raising organic chickens means using organic chicken feed or organic poultry feed and ensuring that your land is chemical-free for the poultry.
Urban farming is becoming more and more popular, particularly organic chicken farming. No matter the setting, raising organic chickens is a quickly growing market. Consumers want organic chickens that are better for their health, and for the planet.
Advantages of Organic Chicken Farming
Organic chickens are raised without any growth hormones or antibiotics. Theyre also raised on organic chicken feed (without any chemicals, colorings, or preservatives). For those looking to make a business out of raising organic chicken, the good news is that you dont need as much space as you do for other types of organic meats. In terms of profit, the price per pound for boneless, skinless organic chicken breast is around $6.50 per pound. That can translate into some nice income. But there are also costs and strict regulations.
Regional Laws for Raising Chickens
The regulations that govern organic chicken farming are pretty specific. If youre in an urban environment, theyre even more so. You want to do your research before embarking on an endeavor like this to make sure its practical based on the laws of your state, county, city or region.
If you plan to sell your organic eggs or chickens you also have to abide by the organic certification guidelines for organic food production (for example, in the U.S. the USDA would regulate the organic designation or certification).
Sidebar: I live in Vancouver, Canada and this year the city passed legislation that allows city property owners to raise chickens on their lots. Now in Vancouver, the average city lot size is 35 feet wide by 65 feet wide (in other words, small).
I wouldn't want to be living that close to chickens (or roosters for that matter); but even if the owners don't have a rooster, chickens aren't meant to be crammed into ultra small urban spaces. Consider the space requirements for you, your chickens and your neighbors before you decide to raise chickens.
Whats in Organic Chicken feed?
Every part of organic chicken feed must itself qualify as organic before being mixed into a blend. Some folks choose to make their own feed, while others buy pre-prepared organic mixes.
The advantage of mixing your own is that you can make just what you need (organic food doesnt have as long a shelf life). Some of the ingredients commonly found in organic poultry feed include red wheat, hulled barley, oats, sunflower seed, lentils, flax, kelp, etc.
Where to get Live Organic Chickens?
Generally speaking, it's good to shop for chickens at small organic farms or breeders. It's nice if you have local access (it's easier to follow up on guarantees locally, as well as bounce questions off 'experts').
However, in addition to small organic farms and breeders, check out the local farmers' associations and see if they have any information about accessing live chicks for your own chicken farming needs.
Housing for Your Chickens
You want to choose chicken pens that are easy to clean and maintain, as well as a coop thats a healthy size for the number of chickens youre keeping.
You can build your own chicken coop (choose organic materials for the building if possible) but for small numbers of chickens it can be pretty economical to buy a coop for six.
City dwellers are discovering that abandoned lots in a neighborhood make a great place for organic chicken farming. It uses space in an effective and ecologically sound way. On average, the most chickens you can keep in the city are under 6. You may have to get a permit, and you definitely want to do your research about care and keeping.
Chickens are relatively low maintenance, but keeping them organically can get tricky. Take your time and learn as much as you can before you start up, to get it right.
What's New: Grow, Shop, Cook and Eat Organic
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