Raising Organic and Free Range Chickens
In the Beginning: Raising the Chicks
We decided to raise organic, free-range chickens in the summer of 2009. We got our first two roosters for free on our local freecycle list. We ordered chicks soon after that. We have experimented with making our own organic feed mix, growing feed for the chickens and ordering organic feed through Azure Standard.
Raising the chicks has not been as easy as it sounds. The bantum chicks we ordered fly much higher than the original bantum roosters we were given. Our chicks raised from infancy fly quite high and several of them perished by flying up over the top of the chicken pen and meeting the dogs outside.
The space requirement in the US to call a chicken free ranged is not as cut and dry as it should be. Any chicken allowed to roam outside in the day and kept in a coop only at night, is essentially free-ranged.
We have 8 chicken in a fenced area that is 250 square feet. Giving each chicken 30 square feet of their own to range, peck and scratch. They bother each other less if given adequate space. I would ideally like to have them unenclosed, but the dogs prevent that from being possible.
Organic Free Range Chicken PhotosClick thumbnail to view full-size
Organic feed can be expensive. On the surface it seems that growing your own feed would save money. However, the ground and time put into growing feed can be expensive also. If you have a small flock of chickens and some extra space in the garden, growing some extra organic grain in the garden can help provide food and save money.
On a larger scale, machinery required to grow large crops of feed for a large flock of chickens may not be cost effective, unless the machinery were used for other purposes. Azure standard has the most reasonable prices I've found for those wishing to purchase organic feed.
Baby Chick Videos
Watch our baby chicks on YouTube video. They are only a few weeks old here.