Questions about organic chicken

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by momofchicks, Sep 30, 2008.

  1. momofchicks

    momofchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    431
    0
    149
    Apr 23, 2008
    Kentucky
    Okay, does organic stand for what they eat (free range vs. feed) or is it that they have no antibiotics (like in the chic food)? Do you all sale your processed chickens? Do people want organic more? The farmer I got my chickens from is selling everything and I may be buying some meat birds from him for myself. About 10 I guess. Oh, also, if you have someone else process your chickens how much do they charge? In Kentucky they are charging about $4 a bird, is that good, or should we do our own?
    Thanks for all your advice.
     
  2. greyfields

    greyfields Overrun With Chickens

    4,889
    16
    261
    Mar 15, 2007
    Washington State
    Quote:Organic is a set of growing practices which cover what the animal eats, how it is housed and what synthetic substances can be used in their production. In a nutshell:

    1) Organic chickens must be fed with organic feed from day 1 of their life onward. You can get organic feed from most feed stores.

    2) No synthetic drugs or antibiotics may be used in their production. This includes coccidiostats.

    3) They must be raised on certified organic pasture and allowed access to the outdoors, sunlight, etc. Tractors qualify as long as they are moved and the birds get to see the sun regularly.

    4) If you sell over $5,000 worth of product in a year, you must be certified organic to even use the term in casual conversation or as marketing. Even if you are under that threshold, you still can be randomly inspected by any organic certification agency (WSDA, Oregon Tilth, etc)

    Quote:Sometimes they ask if our birds are organic, which I say no they are just "naturally raised". I find it very easy to sell pasture raised chickens and don't need to take the next step to organic. Given the choice, people will buy a bird raised humanely over a grocery store chicken if they at all are exposed to how 98% of the birds are industrially raised in the US.

    Quote:In my state, in order to sell broilers, they must be processed at a state inspected facility. Other states require a USDA inspected facility. Poultry (and rabbits) are on a state-by-state basis, unlike ruminants and pigs which are federally inspected. It costs me as much as $7/bird and as little as $4/bird for inspection depending where I can get an appointment.

    Quote:Call your extension agent. They get asked these questions weekly. They'll give you the straight answer up front.
     
  3. momofchicks

    momofchicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    431
    0
    149
    Apr 23, 2008
    Kentucky
    Greyfields, Thank you so much for all your answers, that's great to know.
     
  4. AnthonyT

    AnthonyT Out Of The Brooder

    81
    1
    31
    Jun 26, 2008
    Franklin, KY
    In KY you must have your birds processed at a state inspected or certified facility in order to sell them. The state does not recognize the USDA exemption for home processing due to health department regs. Near Bowling Green is a processor (USDA inspected) that charges $2.65/bird, and personally I would not pay more than that. Unless you live in Louisville or near a large metropolitan area it will be hard to sell pastured birds for what they are worth in Kentucky. Almost 99% of the birds I sell go out of state, which is why I have to use a USDA inspected processor. Also, if you are not certified organic save yourself a ton of trouble and just don't use the O word. If you are just getting meat birds for yourself just go ahead and process yourself. It is not very hard and won't take to awful long with 10 birds.
     
  5. greyfields

    greyfields Overrun With Chickens

    4,889
    16
    261
    Mar 15, 2007
    Washington State
    I wasn't aware of a USDA exemption for home production and hadn't heard of that until now. AFAIK, poultry sales/production is entirely State inspected, except for certain states who punted and said "take it to the USDA and do what they tell you" to avoid having to set up inspection programs themselves. I think Oregon is this way.
     
  6. greyfields

    greyfields Overrun With Chickens

    4,889
    16
    261
    Mar 15, 2007
    Washington State
    One more thing, you can vaccinate organic animals. You just cannot medicate.

    If you read the NOP law, they stress wanting animals to be treated humanely and with respect. Denying them vaccines against preventable diseases would be considered cruel. Therefore vaccines are allowed.... antibiotics are not.
     
  7. Cason

    Cason Chillin' With My Peeps

    If they're sick, you can't administer antibiotics? That seems almost cruel.
     
  8. AnthonyT

    AnthonyT Out Of The Brooder

    81
    1
    31
    Jun 26, 2008
    Franklin, KY
    All meat and poultry sold in interstate commerce must be inspected by the USDA. The USDA also exempts in state sales of up to 20,000 birds per year, but states can have stricter regulations. KY does not follow the exemption for in state sales due to health code regulations. Every state is a little different when it comes to in state sales, but if you want to sell across state lines it has to have a USDA sticker on it.
     
  9. AnthonyT

    AnthonyT Out Of The Brooder

    81
    1
    31
    Jun 26, 2008
    Franklin, KY
    Cason, just saw your post. I agree 100%. If an animal is sick and in your care it is your responsability to care for it. If the best course of action is antibiotics then so be it. I raise my birds without any meds but if something broke out I would treat it. I would then tell my customers what happened. Some may cancel orders on that batch but most would not. They would rather the birds receive proper care and not be "natural" (funny thing, most anitbiotics are produced from mold toxins).
     
  10. dancingbear

    dancingbear Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,836
    26
    191
    Aug 2, 2008
    South Central KY
    Quote:If you're only thinking of getting 10 birds, it doesn't sound like you plan to sell them. All of the above advice for processing is for selling your birds to the public after processing.

    If you are planning to eat them yourself, you may want to do the processing at home, and save the money and gas it takes to get them to a processor.

    There are several threads about butchering, lots of good info, and the first thread in Meat Birds is Butchering Chickens, it had links to several sites that give detailed info and photos.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by