Kill An Organic Chicken
by Luchie Richter
Kill An Organic Chicken: Can you let me know when is the right time to kill an organically raised chicken for tender meat?
I am trying to study the business of raising organic chicken, can you provide a good resources for me to start or a training that I can go to?
I'll start with the when do you butcher a chicken question, which depends on a few factors. First off,what breed is the chicken?
Different breeds mature at different rates. Most Cornish X varieties that are commonly raised for commercial meat are butchered as early as six weeks, while other common backyard breeds such as Orpingtons or Wyandottes may take 12 to 14 weeks to begin with and on to sometimes 18 weeks.
If you are truly raising them organically, they may take even longer because organically grown food is going to be free from many of the growth stimulants that a lot of commercial feed has. Which is the whole point, right?
It's often learned through experience. You want the bird to weigh out usually around four pounds when dressed, but you don't want to wait until they are so mature that the meat begins to get tough. It is a balance.
Now for the question on raising organic chickens. The first thing you can do is to browse our
organic chicken page to get some of the basics as to what constitutes organic and decide if this is something you want to do.
If you sell less than $5000 worth of product a year in the U.S. you do not have to get certified, but if you are starting a business I would think that you would be shooting for a higher number than that.
In that case, you would have to be certified by an official organization. The USDA does not have set organic standards for chickens, but you must be recognized by an organization in order to get their organic stamp.
This will cost a little money to have them come out and look at your set up and make sure that you meet their standards and then for the final stamp.
I would begin by researching organic standards for chickens and possibly picking up a book or two (the Storey's Guide books have some good organic information) and then researching organic certification organizations online.
I haven't heard of any classes around my area, but I would check with your local County Extension Agent and they may can point you toward something like that.
They can probably be a great help with the organic certification process as well.
The best of luck Luchie! I hope this helped.
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