The Pros and Cons of Feeding Your Chickens Organic Feed

When raising chickens, ensuring their overall health should always be top priority to their caretaker. Regardless of their purpose, by providing chickens organic feed, they won’t be consuming chemicals, toxins, or additives that can lead to diet-related problems. In the long run, this can help anyone product a top-quality chicken. 

What is Organic Chicken Feed?

Organic chicken feed, for those unfamiliar, is certified to be free of any additives including pesticides, hormones, antibiotics or anything else. This means that the land the seeds grew on is also untouched by any common chemicals that are used to protect crops or foster growth. As for the seeds themselves, they cannot be genetically engineered.

On the micro level, organic chicken feed may contain non-organic components such as vitamins, minerals, or salts. Generally, producing organic chicken feed is a more time-consuming task which results in a higher price tag than inorganic chicken feed. 

Common Ingredients of Organic Feeds

Of the many organic chicken feed ingredients and benefits, there are a few key ingredients that help feed qualify as truly organic. These include:

  • Maize
  • Fishmeal
  • Oyster-shell
  • Oat
  • Wheat
  • Water
  • Barley
  • Rice polish
  • Pearl millet

In general, if you see a chicken feed that has an ingredient list that never seems to end, it is more than likely not organic and can potentially stunt the growth of your chickens. While studies into the effects of GMO foods on chickens is ongoing, we know that there are a variety of health risks associated with GMO foods which affect parts of humans including hepatic, pancreatic, and reproductive effects. 

Organic v. Inorganic Options 

When deciding whether to purchase organic or inorganic chicken feed, the often-lower price tag of the inorganic option may be a driving factor. However, non-organic chicken feed will most likely contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs) that can upset the digestive system of some chickens.

As a result, these chickens’ ability to lay eggs or to be viable as food can be impacted. Additionally, organically fed chickens are reported to have a better taste and additional nutrition. While studies have found that nutritional value, while boosted, is near the same, non-organic options expose people to additional chemicals and antibiotics that may not mix well with a person’s body. Choosing to go organic for your chicken feed can lead to a number of major benefits with very little drawback. 

Pros of Organic Chicken Feed

There are a number of pros to using organic chicken feed that non-organic options fail to bring to the table. Some of the more prominent pros of using this type of feed include:

  • Healthier chickens overall as organic ingredients are less likely to cause diet-related issues in the flock
  • Increased Omega-3 levels which leads to more nutritious chicken as a whole 
  • Organically fed chickens tend to have a richer taste than non-organically fed chickens 
  • Organic feed is safer for the environment as fewer chemicals are able to penetrate into the ground, surrounding crops, or animals 
  • Organic feed is 100% safe for consumption in humans, and won’t result in certain reported health complications

Cons of Organic Chicken Feed

While there are many pros to using organic chicken feed for your flock, it’s also important to look at some of the notable drawbacks that may make the switch more difficult:

  • Using organic feed is the more expensive option due to the limited supply and intensive labor that is required to produce it 
  • Finding organic feed can be challenging as the practice of creating organic feed varies from location-to-location
  • Stricter guidelines must be followed to achieve true organic feed, meaning you need to double-check every brand to ensure they are following all regulations 

While there are nearly an equal number of pros and cons to using organic chicken feed, the weight of the pros far exceeds that of the cons. By using organic chicken feed in your flock, you can see healthier chicken more ready to produce eggs or to be sold as food. Whether your motivation is environmental, health-related, or just choice, making the switch to organic feed can be an excellent decision for the chickens under your care.  

Keep your chickens healthy 

At the end of the day, the best way to prevent digestive or general diet-related problems from forming with the chicken in your flock is to feed them organically. Inorganic options contain too many unknowns that can come back to bite you and your chickens later down the road. Switch to organic feed as soon as possible to start raising healthier chickens for your needs.