Despite the disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, U.S. organic chicken feed has seen soaring demand with increased consumer awareness of organic product benefits and the shift towards healthy lifestyles.

The global organic feed market is valued at US $7 billion in 2023 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7.2% within a ten-year span (between 2023 and 2033).

The global organic poultry market was valued at $9.78 billion in 2022 and is projected to reach $12.65 billion in 2027, with a CAGR of 5.2%.

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) recorded $19.5 million in organic broiler sales and $15.7 million in organic layers raised in 2022, translating to excess demand. 

The excess demand is associated with limited organic feed and land availability in addition to high poultry farm maintenance costs. It’s no wonder the prices of poultry products continue to skyrocket as the demand supersedes the supply.

In this article, we walk you through what organic chicken feed is, the types of organic chicken feed, the difference between organic and non-GMO feeds and how to find bulk organic chicken feed.

What is organic chicken feed?

Organic chicken feed is produced through organic farming, meaning all ingredients used in making the feed are free from synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, and genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has set guidelines for organic feed production, requiring organic chicken feed producers to meet the set quality standards from sourcing the ingredients to the processing environment.

Types of organic chicken feed

Different types of organic chicken feed are designed for different chicken growing stages and have varied nutrient combinations tailored to meet the needs of the specific chicken category.

Here are the three main types: 

1. Starter Feed

This type is typically fed to chicks from hatching age until they reach approximately 6 weeks old. It should be high in protein to help them grow strong bones and muscles.

2. Grower Feed

After chicks have been weaned off starter feed at around 6 weeks old, grower feed should be given until they reach maturity at about 20-22 weeks old. The feed is designed to provide balanced nutrition with slightly lower protein levels and essential nutrients for continued growth.  

3. Layer Feed

Layer feed is specifically formulated for hens that produce eggs on a regular basis. It contains calcium carbonate, which helps strengthen eggshells and added vitamins and minerals like phosphorus, which help boost egg production and the chicken’s health. 

Examples of layer feeds include organic corn-free and soy-free chicken feeds, designed to contain a high value of calcium while replacing high-content proteins and carbohydrates with alternatives such as peas and millet, respectively.

Organic chicken feed texture variations

The different types of organic chicken feed come in different texture variations designed for the different chicken categories. Here are the three main chicken feed textures:

1. Crumble

This is the most common type found in stores, as farmers prefer it to pellets. Its texture is oatmeal-like, making it crunchy and easy to feed on.

2. Pellet

Pellets have all the same nutritional benefits as crumbles but come in larger and full-shape sizes. This makes it easier for adult chickens to consume without wasting as the pellets maintain their shape even when the open containers are knocked off.

3. Mash

This soil-like option is suitable for chickens of all ages. It is subject to excessive waste since it easily scatters. You can mix it with water to avoid massive waste and provide an easier way for the chicken to feed. 

Organic chicken feed VS Non-GMO chicken feed [the difference]

Organic certification is a process that requires the production of food to follow strict standards set by an accredited certifying agency, such as the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).

On the other hand, non-GMO refers to products made without genetically modified organisms, which means they have not been created or altered in any way with genetic engineering techniques.

All organic chicken feeds are non-GMO, but not all non-GMO chicken feeds are organic. Organic chicken feed providers label their feeds to distinguish between conventional non-GMO and certified organic feeds. 

Where to buy bulk organic chicken feed 

Organic chicken feed is becoming increasingly popular among poultry farmers in the United States. But where can you find bulk organic chicken feed? Depending on your location, several options for purchasing organic chicken feed in bulk are available.

One of the ways to purchase organic chicken feed is through an organic certified chicken feed miller such as Nature’s Best Organic Feeds in central Pennsylvania. The better part? You can consult with them for the best feed for your chicken.

Another option for bulk organic chicken feed is online retailers such as Amazon, which offer certified organic feeds from brands like Purina, Nutrena, and Mazuri Organics at competitive prices.

Most bulk organic chicken feed providers offer online purchase and shipping options so you can choose your provider depending on the cost, quality and convenience.

While some offer discounted prices and free delivery, online reviews can help you evaluate the quality of service and products. Also, choosing a store near you can be more convenient than waiting until your package is delivered, say in a day.

Can you make homemade organic chicken feed?

Certainly! If you need a cheaper option for your chicken feed, you can buy organic ingredients from a certified organic store and mix the ingredients at home. 

However, you need help determining the rations in which you should mix the ingredients for different chicken categories. You can consult a local farmer or your ingredient provider when purchasing the ingredients.

Alternatively, you can buy homemade chicken feed from providers such as Garden Betty’s Homemade Whole Grain Chicken Feed.