What is Organic

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by countryboy1, Nov 28, 2009.

  1. countryboy1

    countryboy1 Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 26, 2009
    Waterloo Illinois
    I was just wondering how do I make my eggs organic. I don't really want to deal with the law. Because I'm 14. I thought I would try to make my flock organic and upsize it. And depending on how much I sell the USDA will care or won't. But I want to ensure that they are organic. Oh and if I shoul d put this in a different section please tell me.
  2. bibliophile birds

    bibliophile birds Chillin' With My Peeps

    there are several "levels" of organic really, depending on what you want to accomplish.

    if you are only talking egg production, then hens could eat regular food until they started laying, and then you would need to switch to organic, but it's best to start organic from day one. since you probably aren't trying to make a big business out of this, you can sell some eggs as organic without being certified (check locally for specific #s as it is different everywhere). you need to clearly state that you are not certified organic, but that you feed organic. certification is expensive and most people will understand that. also, you need to try to avoid medications such as chemical dewormer and antibiotics. if you HAVE to use them, make sure to find out how long the medication is in their system and discard all eggs you collect from them until that time is up.

    if you are talking meat production, those birds need to be fed organic from day one. some vaccinations are allowable, such as Marek's and cocci, but medicated feed isn't. absolutely no medications other than vaccinations are allowed for organic meat. if a bird gets sick and needs to be treated chemically and there isn't an organic alternative, do it. being organic doesn't mean neglecting the health of your birds. process it with the rest of your birds and sell it as "natural" instead of "organic" (this will require very good records and identification of your birds because you really can't mess this up) or sell the bird to someone who raises non-organic.

    most importantly, learn as much as you can about poultry nutrition. there are some great sites on my BYC page for getting you started. the more you know about poultry nutrition, the better quality feeds you will find, and the better your organic business with thrive! you also need to learn about poultry illnesses and alternative treatments. BYC and the sister site SufficientSelf (look under this thread) are great resources for alternative treatments.

    lastly, be proud of yourself! most 14 year olds don't even know or care where their food comes from and here you are, already thinking about organics! it's very impressive. you, young man, are the future!
  3. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

    May 25, 2007
    SW Wisconsin
    To raise them organically means to raise them naturally with no synthetic substances. For layer hens and eggs to be organic they have to be raised that way since the second day after hatch. They need to eat only organic food. That means either raising or buying organic food, food that is not genetically modified and was not fertilized with synthetic fertilizers. Birds need to have access to the outdoors and be allowed to do the things that come naturally to them. Any pasture (or backyard space) that they have access to needs to be maintained organically. That means no synthetic fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides for the previous three years (under the USDA organic standards anyway).

    If you want to label your product "Organic", the standards of the USDA program must be met. Those standards are laid out in the U.S Code of Federal Regulations found here: http://tinyurl.com/yktlzdm

    you gross less than $5000 a year from your products, then you can use the term "Organic" to represent your product as long as you have followed the regulations.

    If you gross more than $5000 and want to use the term "Organic" then the USDA expects you to be certified by a third party certifying agency. Once you are certified then you can use the term "USDA Certified Organic" to promote your products.

    Obviously, if this is something just for your own peace of mind, then you can make them only as organic as you want to, but to sell anything as "organic" the USDA says you must follow the rules they have laid out.

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