Organic Chicken Farming

People are trying to live healthier lives and that has increased the demand for organic foods.  It’s not just vegetable farmers that have chosen to meet this demand and go organic it’s also dairy, cattle and poultry farmers.  Organic chicken farming is being practiced more and more, but what does that mean?  To be an organic farmer your chickens need to be raised without the use of any synthetic chemical.  These chemicals have been proven dangerous to the birds and it gives the buying public the choice for healthier meat and eggs.

Organic Chicken Farming

Free Range or Not?

People are demanding more organically raised chicken for both the meat and the eggs and several big companies are trying to meet that demand.  However while they technically meet the definition of organic it isn’t exactly humane either.  Commercial farms are calling themselves free range farms, which is what the public is looking for but there are still too  many chickens crammed into too small an area.  This doesn’t allow the chickens to roam freely and get food on their own.  Chickens raised in big commercial poultry farms shouldn’t really be classified as “free range”.

Free Range Chicken Farming

Organic chicken farming starts with free range poultry farming.  In this case you allow the chickens to roam around the yard rather than having them stuck inside a wire cage for their entire life.  While you do allow your chickens to roam free you’re going to have to take measures to protect them from natural predators like coyotes or foxes.  You can do this in two different ways, either fence off an area big enough for them to roam.  You can also train your chickens to stay near the chicken coop so they don’t end up going walk about.

Chicken Feed

Letting your chickens roam allows then to find food on their own, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t supplement their food.  Your chickens still need a balanced diet.  You can buy premixed feeds for them that are also organic, these feeds will include the grains chickens like such as corn, wheat, oats and soybean meal.  You can also find grit in the feed to help the chickens with digestion.  You should also note, that contrary to popular belief chickens aren’t vegetarians they will also bugs and insects.  Here is a closer look at what chickens eat naturally so you have an idea of what to feed yours.

The demand for free range chicken is growing every day and it isn’t that difficult to convert your farm to one that raises organic chicken and eggs.

Starting Your Own Chicken Farm

Starting your own chicken farm isn’t difficult, in fact it is far easier than raising cattle or even planting vegetables.  You will need adequate space although you don’t need a huge tract of land for a chicken farm.  You also want to make sure that your farm has the right zoning and then you need a market for your chickens or your eggs.  Here is a guide on getting started.

Starting Your Own Chicken Farm

Do Some Research

Chicken farming is a huge commitment so you need to be ready to do the work that will be required, a little soul searching might be in order.  Do you want to produce eggs or poultry?  You should know a thing or two about chickens, like the various breeds you will need for egg production or poultry production.  Which breeds will do well in the climate that you live in.  You can find all of that information online, asking a farmer wouldn’t hurt either.  A farmer can tell you things about chicken farming you won’t find in books or on the internet.

Building Your Chicken Coop

You are going to need shelter for your chickens.  You can either by one or build yourself, there are plenty of plans online for putting together a chicken coop.  Your chickens should also have enough space to roam around.  However you need to make sure that the pen area is well secured.  You want to make sure that your chickens can’t get and that predators can’t get in.  Foxes and coyotes will dig under your coop so the fencing should extend underground for almost 2 feet.

Getting Some Chickens

Once you have your chicken coop built then it is time to fill it with some chickens.  You want to buy your chickens from a commercial supplier with a good reputation.  You need to make sure that all your chicks have been vaccinated and they are old enough to lay eggs before you buy them.  Your chicks need to be between 16-24 weeks old.  Chickens are noisy so make sure that your community allows them before you start spending money.  Your chickens will also need to see a vet to make sure they stay healthy and free of disease.

Before you start your chicken farm you need to make a commitment to making sure that this works.  Chickens will need to be tended to and fed everyday so you need to be dedicated to their welfare.