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#2657 - 02/17/03 07:50 PM raising chickens organically
Anonymous
Unregistered


Hi there. I have another question for all you knowledgeable folks. I want to raise my laying hens organically... BUT I am having a dilemma. I want to have a healthy flock and I realize some vaccines may be necessary. Do any of you know of any good organic sites that may be able to answer my questions as to which vaccines are "allowed" and perhaps natural approaches to flock health? I am going to be buying chicks in the early spring and need to know what I CAN give the little ones for thier health. Thanks in advance

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#2658 - 02/18/03 08:49 AM Re: raising chickens organically
Anonymous
Unregistered


that is an excellent question.
as you may know- for vegetables to be labeled 'prganic" they must have no unapproved materials used in the growing process- i believe this extends to th epoint of no fungicide dust on seeds.
dont know (why am i answering) but try the rodale institute, the organic gardening magazine publisher- they might have those contacts.
i suspect the 'organic' label and its legal implications are lost on most consumers- so unless you are sellin gmeat/eggs to a big organic store I would not bothre with the issue. Try small scale sales. Safe words for you would be
"hormone free" (cows) "antibiotic free" (chickens)
'natural' 'no vaccine'(if yu hatch yourself) or choose your own label- just not the 'organic'
at one time you couldnt use ground rock powder or greensand (mined source of fertilizer) and call it 'organic'.

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#2659 - 02/18/03 10:43 AM Re: raising chickens organically
Aram Seattle Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 547
Loc: Washington
I don't think organic means you can't use vaccines. I think it means you can't use hormones or inorganic feed. But if you still care, I have never vacinated my chickens, allowing them to develop their own immunity. No dead chickens yet. I don't feed medicated chick starter either and all of my chicks seem to grow up to be strong healthy adults.

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#2660 - 02/18/03 12:06 PM Re: raising chickens organically
Anonymous
Unregistered


Thanks for the replies. It is reassuring to hear that you have raised your chickens without all the medication. What breeds do you have and are there any you know of that are more disease tolerant that others?
The Hobby farm

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#2661 - 02/18/03 12:26 PM Re: raising chickens organically
J. Henderson Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 08/16/02
Posts: 674
Loc: New York
The general rule about vaccine use by organic farmers is that they should not be used, but are permitted when there is a specific disease risk. My interpretation of that is that having day-olds vaccinated against Marek's Disease as a general precaution is frowned upon, but administering Newcastle vaccine is allowed if you live in an area with the disease is known to be a present and a clear danger.

Going organic and being certified as organic are two different things, and may be an important concern here. If you are a hobby farmer, you probably don't want to go through the expense and bother of being certified organic, and short of certification you can't legally market your products as organic. Therefore, short of certification you have the freedom of practicing organic techniques as best you can without having to worry about violating some particular standard that you aren't aware of.

Information about the National Organic Program of the USDA can be found at http://www.ams.usda.gov/nop/
There are many organic groups around, and can be found by doing a google search. Just remember that only the USDA provides official policy regarding what is and what isn't organic.

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#2662 - 02/18/03 12:58 PM Re: raising chickens organically
Big Boy Offline
Ruler of the Roost

Registered: 07/17/02
Posts: 845
Loc: Kansas
There are people at the Farmers' Market who market under the pseudonymn 'Mainly Organic': sounds good but doesn't mean a thing except that they do try to stay IPM, and I give them credit for that.

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#2663 - 02/18/03 01:52 PM Re: raising chickens organically
Aram Seattle Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 547
Loc: Washington
The breed that I found worked very well with no vacinations for me is Rhode Island Reds (production, not hybrid). I never had any problems with them. Even when my ameraucanas were developing bumblefoot through the same terrain, the RIRs were just fine. My progeny of RIRs with other breeds is just as strong. So, I highly recommend that breed. I am sure there are other dual purpose breeds that will do well. You just have to get their immune systems started developing early, and the rest should take care of itself. Good luck.

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#2664 - 02/19/03 11:32 AM Re: raising chickens organically
Anonymous
Unregistered


Hey hobbyfarm
We raise our meat birds "natural" (we buy them from a feed store where they've had thier shots) and that's all they get.After that I put APPLE CIDER VINAGER in the first 2 waterings. approx 3 tbsp in one of those small bell waterers. All of our birds (layers and meat) have never been on medicated food. They are all free range and free choice food. We have waiting lists for our meat birds and regular customers for our eggs.(we feed little amounts of grower ration and the rest is our own blend) We have a very low fat count on our birds and we keep them for 12 weeks. Out of the 100's we raise every summer we can count on one hand the number that die.
Good luck

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#2665 - 02/19/03 01:43 PM Re: raising chickens organically
Anonymous
Unregistered


I am so glad you started this thread as I was just about to. I too am considering organic, not for selling purposes, but for our own health and well-being. I am considering the feed costs though. Does anyone have any experience with buying organic feed or mixing their own? If you buy organic feed, where do you get it?

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#2666 - 02/19/03 04:55 PM Re: raising chickens organically
BC Breeder Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 434
Loc: Canada
I too have taken the organic approach without worrying about "organic" standards which are more about politics than anything. There several organic standards around the world (even multiple ones in the US) and there is alot of inconsistency with most of them. It's easiest to simply ignore it and just follow your personal priorities.

For instance, I don't get my chicks vaccinated and let them build their own immune systems naturally. Keeping them dry, warm, and on a healthy diet goes along ways. As does avoiding overcrowding. One trick I heard of for helping build the chicken's immune system is to raise them with a turkey. I'll let one of the more knowledgeable explain this one.

I don't feed my chickens feeds that contain animal byproducts or homones, only vegetable based feeds. Veggie based feeds that are supplimented with flax and Vitamin E (omega3 enrichment) along with what they get from free ranging.

The few eggs that I do sell are sold as veggie fed, omega 3 enriched, and free ranged. Not much room to worry about a political word such as "organic". Oh yeah, I did feed my birds a bag or certified "organic" feed once, but the chickens didn't like it and I had to mix it into their regular mash just to use it up, haha.
_________________________
Omega Blue Farms
http://www3.telus.net/OmegaBlue/

Pictures related to my blue eggers can be viewed at:
http://groups.msn.com/BCsBlueEggers

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