Raising organic chickens starts with the right feed—organic feed. Feeding chickens organic feed has numerous benefits, such as:
- Raising a healthier chicken
- Creating a healthier end product (poultry & eggs)
- Reducing your impact on the environment by avoiding pesticides and chemicals
- Allowing your poultry to be labeled “organic”
Of course, there are other requirements for raising organic poultry, specifically allowing the chickens access to the outdoors (free range) and not using any kind of growth modification antibiotics on the chickens themselves. You could think of organic chickens as natural chickens—raised without the chemicals or enhancements some farms use in their feed or fertilizer.
It should go without saying but organic chickens (those classified as “free range”) are often the happiest chickens, as they get to enjoy lives that are wholly natural. Organic chicken feed is a way farmers can keep their chickens happy and healthy without exposing them to any harmful additives that could affect their growth. Organic feed is also designed to meet the natural nutritional needs of chickens.
The trend of turning toward organic farming, in general, came from the belief that all of the herbicides, pesticides, and chemicals being used to maintain crops and produce animal feed was, in turn, degrading the environment and creating unhealthy foods for the marketplace. Many naturally adopted practices that cut these harmful chemicals out of their process, and “organic” became much harder to qualify as.
Laws were passed that prevented anyone from labeling their food or product as organic unless it met a set of very specific requirements. This, of course, made the production of organic goods, like poultry and livestock feed, a more lucrative alternative to traditional farming.
People were willing to pay more for food they believed was healthier and safer for the environment.
Do organic chickens taste better?
Studies have been conducted on the taste of organic, free-range chickens versus chickens raised on chemically enhanced feed. They found that with more space to roam, organic chickens were healthier (they moved around more) and thus developed stronger muscles and their bodies accumulated less fat. This created a leaner, meatier chicken.
Along with more opportunities to exercise and a healthier food source, these same chickens were allowed to forage on pasture, which helped their bodies to store more omega-3 fatty acids, conjugated linoleic acid, and alpha-linoleic acid. These contributed to a tasty and more nutritious end product.
While choosing organic over everything else is a simple matter of preference for some, for others, it’s a way of life. For those farmers, manufacturers, and consumers switching to organic, it was the best thing they ever did. It was a way to promote health while minimizing the impact on the environment, and taking a step toward better treatment of farm-raised animals.