Tuesday, June 18, 2013

How to choose organic chickens

How to choose wholesome, organic poultry.

Ask questions, such as:

A. What breeds of chicken do you grow?
You want to choose slow-grown, old fashioned, heritage breeds, vs. the fast-growing, commercial or production breeds. If the chicken is grown in less than 3 months, you could be robbing your family of high density, nutritional values.

Besides, fast-growing commercial breeds, are the same chickens that large poultry producers grow, and you are probably looking for wholesome, and nutritious chicken. 

Commercial, fast growing breeds, include Cornish-Rocks, Cornish Cross, Broilers, Freedom Rangers, Black Broilers, Red Broilers, and similar. (Label Rouge, is not a chicken, it is a method in which the birds are grown) 

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B. Are the chickens grown on a free-range?
You want to choose chickens that are free to forage, scratch, and range outdoors, vs. the chickens grown beneath chicken tractors, in cages, or barn-raised. 

It is especially important to know that the ranges, forage areas and foods that are being consumed by the birds, are 100% pesticide and herbicide-free! 

Remember, even Certified Organic feeds, are allowed to be grown with pesticides, herbicides, sprays etc. and the only difference is that they are OMRI, or C.O. approved. If you are looking for extremely-organic chicken, your best bet is to avoid chicken being  fed a sack-feed, containing any, and all grains, including Certified Organic grains. 

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C. What are chickens being fed? 
First, you want to hear, that they are grain-free. No corn, no soy, no wheat, no pesticides, no G.M.O's. 
Second, they are foraging from the ground, scratching for insects, grubs, worms, and native vegetation.
Third, that the foods are natural to the chicken digestive system, from the garden, native foraging, heirloom source, or U.S.D.A. Certified Organic.

Besides, if they are being fed, the same types of grains, as large producers are using, what is the difference, in nutrient quality? Even commercial producers use feed labeled, organic corn, organic soy, organic wheat, and we all know what a controversy, that carries. 

If you have a grain intolerance, be sure you are selecting, grain-free, foraged poultry.

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D. Are the chickens grown by sustainable means?
If the chickens do not mate naturally, or do not lay eggs, then it stands to reason, that they are not self-sustainable. If the chickens are not designed to lay eggs, they are not an old fashioned, heritage-breed, not self-sustainable. Not all heritage breeds are excellent layers, however, they should lay, in order to procreate, right?

E. Ask to see photos, videos, or take a tour.
Most farmers are proud to show you around. Farmers are hard working, and often work 15+ hours in a day, 7-days each week, without vacations, holidays or days-off. Be patient, understanding and respectful. 

F. Ask about medicated feeds, worming, and vaccines.
Most farmers start chicks with a medicated feed formula, and often the baby chicks are vaccinated, especially if the farmer is buying day-old chicks from hatcheries. 

If you are looking for a clean source of poultry, be sure that the farmer is not using vaccinated chicks, no worming medications, and that they are not being fed a medicated feed starter. 

G. Ask about parasite and disease prevention.
Ask the farmer, what measures they are taking to prevent disease in their flock, and  how they are treating parasites. The last thing you want, is to get a fast-growing bird, fed grains, that was butchered in someone's back yard, that may be contaminated with health problems, disease or parasites. One of the reasons that fast-growing commercial poultry breeds are often butchered at a U.S.D.A. inspected plant, is to ensure that these birds are healthy, and wholesome for human consumption. At a U.S.D.A. inspected processing plant, If the bird shows any signs of health problems, they are immediately discarded. 

Heritage breeds of chicken are hardy, and have excellent immune systems. They perform well as multi-purpose breeds, and that is one of the many reasons why our grandparents, grew these wholesome, healthy, and delicious birds. Heritage, old fashioned breeds of chicken are not prone to leg weakness, lung disorders,  parasites, or congestive heart failure, such as the fast-growing, commercial and production breeds, are often prone to.

H. Ask about health and safety protocols.

How do you ensure the customer, a safe, healthy and wholesome chicken?
you want to know that the poultry you are getting, has been examined by an experienced, knowledgeable person, in avian health, especially when the poultry is being processed without U.S.D.A. inspection. 

How do you ensure that the poultry is safe for human consumption?
You, as the customer, want reassurance that the poultry has been processed by standards, that meet or exceed, health and safety regulations. Customer reassurance is important, especially when buying poultry from a farm, without U.S.D.A. inspection. 

Small farms that process a limited amount of chicken, on-site, or outside, even indoors, are considered safe, by the Federal standards of poultry processing. 

Ethical and humane standards.
Chickens should be free to roam, in a safe and clean environment.
Chickens should molt at least once, prior to being processed. Twice is best.
Chickens should be handled carefully, with respect, and love.
Hens should have roosters, ranging along side them.
Hens should have a safe, clean place to lay eggs, set, and hatch their chicks.

Facts To Consider:
Chickens, turkeys, ducks, game birds and similar, are birds. They have crops, and not intended for pasture-based growing. Ruminant, pasture-based animals are cows, sheep, goats, and similar. 

Chickens are omnivores, and mostly carnivorous. They do not perform well on pasture based systems. Chickens are forage animals, that derived from the jungles. Ask yourself, are there pastures in the jungles? Answer: No.

Chickens are foragers, hunters, and prefer insects, bugs, grubs, worms and a diet comprised of native vegetation. You know the saying "eat local"? This mindful philosophy, applies to livestock too. 

1. Fast growing, commercial or production breeds are genetically altered to grow 1.0/lb each week, on a grain-based diet. This is true, even when the farmer is growing the birds outside, on a free-range, or on grass/lawn. Fast growing chickens,  are ready for processing between 4-6 weeks. 

Fast growing, commercial and production meat-breed chickens, are less flavorful, and low in nutrient density. Even when they are 6.0/lbs they are not mature, and neither is their body. In fact, they never have the chance to molt, and most often, the organs can not keep up with the fast growth, and the chickens suffer from leg weakness, heart failure, and lung problems. 

Cheap Chickens, click to check this out!

2. Slow grown, old fashioned, heritage breeds, are designed, by nature to grow without grains. They are ready for processing in 3.5-5 months. Slow grown, heritage chicken breeds, fed a clean and native diet, one that is appropriate for them, are high in nutrient density. 

3. The feeding of corn, wheat, soy and similar grains, can cause enteritis, and imbalance of pH in the digestion system. This includes all grains, such as natural, certified organic and conventional. Chickens do not produce enough amylase (digestive enzyme), to break down grains. These grains simply add cheap fat to the chicken, which can be added weight/fat, for profit purposes. 

Dare to compare, click to check this out!

Ingredients to avoid, like the plague, in all poultry feeds:
Flax Seeds> Click to  Check this out!
Fish Meal
Artificial Colour
Artificial Flavour
Artificial Bacteria
Artificial Digestive Enzymes
Useless Fillers

High Risk For GMO, click to check this out!

Our Weston A. Price Foundation, chapter leader, does not approve of fast growing, production breeds, nor the use of grains, in chicken feed. To speak directly with our Weston A. Price, Chapter leader, please join us, during our monthly Weston A. Price Stone Soup, event, and potluck. 

1 comment:

  1. Chickens prefer insects, bugs, grubs, worms and a diet comprised of native vegetation. Poultry feeds should be easy to eat, digest and have nutritional value.Different types of feeds are available as bulk or bagged mixes.