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Organic Chicken Farming Advantages And Disadvantages Environmental Sciences Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Environmental Sciences
Wordcount: 1599 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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One of the main goals of organic chicken farming is self sufficiency. Taking responsibility from beginning to end of the life cycle of chickens, and creating a more sustainable farm is one of their missions. Organic chicken have been found to have fewer toxins than commercially raised poultry which often contains hormones, antibiotics, and trace amounts of pesticides (Wozniak 2010). Organic farms use brooders; chicken tractors, organic feed, as well as the Government Districts provided the basic equipment needed to do the processing. The District purchases a set of Kill Cones, a Scalder and a Plucker from the Featherman Company to rent out to small farmers for on farm use, and we were the first farm that used this equipment. When analyzing the advantages of organic poultry, flavor, nutrients, and lack of chemicals being present tend to outweigh the price change. Many aspects about meat quality are also taken into consideration when processing organic chicken. Many things need to be identified such as; age at slaughtering, physical activity, pasture intake, and genetic strains (Castellini 2008). The chickens at the majority of organic farms are not given any growth hormones or antibiotics. This process is creating new awareness about commercially raised chicken, which may also be exposed to contaminants, like heavy metals, which appear in some commercial chicken food (Fakayode 2003). Health risks for commercially raised chickens compared to organically grown locally processed chickens, is prevalent throughout our food industry, and farms need to take action.


Organic chicken farming is seen as more beneficial than other forms of organic meat production because the animals take up less space and grow to large sizes relatively quickly. Organic chicken is raised without antibiotics due to hormones being illegal in the United States. The health of your chicken flock is more difficult to keep up with due to the lack of drugs to speed development. Organic feed costs more than conventional feed, but organic chickens are sold for higher prices. The good outweighs the difficulties when it comes to organic chicken raising and processing. The use of organic feed, has been produced without chemicals and has not had any chemicals that were applied for at least three years. The price increases for organic chickens are due to the cost of feed, production, and labor needed for processing and the extra care that is used for organic chickens. The materials used for disinfecting livestock facilities should be non-synthetic or they should be on the National List and consistently used with any restrictions. Currently, the only synthetic equipment and facility cleaners allowed in organic farms are chlorine products such as sodium hypochlorite, calcium hypochlorite, and chlorine dioxide; hydrogen peroxide, and phosphoric acid. Organic food production has increased 20% a year, which is far ahead of the rest of the industry, all over the world (Fakayode 2003).


Organic Chicken Processing begins with an area called a brooder. A brooder is a heated container that can have it’s temperature controlled in at least one area. It is used to confine chickens with their feed and water until six weeks old then placed outside. After six weeks old the broiler chickens are taken and transferred into chicken tractors which are made out of all recycled material, and includes recycled corrugated plastic roofing. With half of the roof open and the other half plastic roofing, it allows the chickens to be protected from weather conditions. The enclosed box is without a floor, a bell drinker is used for water, and chicken feeders are placed along the tractor, under the enclosed area. Chickens are fed twice a day organic grain blend. These chicken tractors keep chickens protected from predators such as, coyote, raccoons, and owls. It also allows chickens to fertilize the pastures. They are placed on a strict rotation schedule of two to three times a day rotation to clear grass areas. The pen is then moved two times a day so that the chickens manure will be spread out more and won’t kill the grass as easily. It will also allow the chickens more fresh grass. A special dolly is placed under one of the 10ft. sides. The pen is then pulled from the opposite end. A wire with a piece of cut garden hose on it is attached to the bottom board at each of the corners of the 10ft. side. The person then lifts up the end of the pen with the wire, holding on to the garden hose and pulls the pen with the makeshift dolly 12ft. until the back edge of the pen is where the front end was before moving. On farm slaughter is truly a process, requiring specialized equipment, planning and hard work. The Pierce County Conservation District provides organic farms of the area basic equipment needed to continue with the processing. The District purchases Kill Cones, Scalder, and a Plucker from the Featherman Company to rent out to small farmers for on farm use. The “processing” begins with inserting the chickens head down into the kill cones, grasping the head and cutting the carotid arteries to efficiently bleed the chickens. The next step is hanging the birds two at a time on the dunker and scalded them in 150F water to loosen the feathers. A 5-7 second dunk into the dunker allows for the feathers to be pulled out by hand without resistance. The birds are then placed into the plucker, which looks like a washing machine, and it plucks them clean. The last steps are; cutting the feet off, pull off head, eviscerate, rinse and chill the birds. Refrigerate the birds and freeze them in gallon bags.


Organic farming allows for the earths increasing population to contribute to a healthy, happy, and natural world. The variation of benefits that are created when farming organically, create positive aspects for the direct species and the environment. The recycling of organic wastes as soil additions is especially promoted in sustainable agricultural farming systems. Due to the area the chickens are raised in, we as consumers depend on organic meat quality, which is easily determined. There are many things that need to be identified such as; age at slaughtering, physical activity, pasture intake, and genetic strains (Castellini 2008). Organic food production is extremely regulated industry, different than that of private gardening. Special certification is used in order to market food as “organic” within state borders. Some certifications allow for certain amounts of chemicals and pesticides to be used so consumers need to the standards of “organic” in there area. Commercial chicken has the possibility of being exposed to heavy metals and other contaminants (Fakayode 2003).

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Organic chicken meat has many positive aspects that come along with it. Organic meat has been found to have a shorter shelf life and have less fat content compared to traditionally raised and commercially processed chicken (Lewis et al. 1997). The variety of additions that are found in commercially raised poultry include hormones, antibiotics, and various amounts of pesticides, all that could affect a population’s health (Wozniak 2010). This creates an increase in the health effects for organic chicken and allows for the absence of chemicals into our systems. Health can also be negatively affected if the organic chicken is raised improperly, and could possibly carry a higher case of salmonella. Health risks that are associated with commercially raised chickens and the antibiotics that are used on them, have been shown with research to increase risk of cancer, onset of puberty, and germ resistance in some people (Salter 2010).

On organic farms, soil fertility is maintained mainly with organic matter from animals that are present, in contrast to conventional farmers who use fresh manure, chemical fertilizers, and large amounts of pesticides. Organic chicken has many different flavors due to the lack of these pesticides and fertilizers. There is also more flavor in chicken that’s not commercially produced, it tends to be tenderer and have more complex flavors (Castellini 2006). The benefits outweigh the costs of creating an organic farm.

Some issues revolving around organic chicken have been found to have more fat than protein in some farms due to type of organic food intake (Wang 2010). Enhancement of biodiversity through organic farming should not be assumed to be perfect; the benefits may be offset by crop type, organic management practices and the specific habitat requirements in the surrounding landscape. Due to the large varieties of organic farming practices each farm has it’s own requirements based on state issued regulations. Cost is also of issue due to the high prices of feed grain for organic chicken and this in turn is causing an increase in chicken prices at markets.

Organic chicken has many health benefits and also some disadvantages to consumers. These issues are thoroughly being researched in the environmental world, and will continue to break new ground. Cost, production, and handling techniques are all measured and calculated in order to show the known advantages of organic farms processing chickens. Sustainability is an important issue to organic farms and with fully processing chickens it will create a circle of balance between the chicken egg all the way up until it is processed.


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