We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What Is Organic Chicken?

By Cynde Gregory
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGEEK is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGEEK, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Organic chicken, sold as meat, is poultry that has been fed a chemical-free, high-quality diet. In most parts of the world, chickens that are marketed as organic consume vegetable proteins, grains, and cereals along with a supplement or supplements containing essential vitamins and minerals. Some organic chickens are given fish meal as well. Some chickens labeled as organic are given diets that specifically disallow genetically modified feed.

In some countries, traditional chicken farmers give their flocks antibiotic growth promoters on a regular basis. Organic chicken farmers do not allow their flocks to ingest antibiotics; however, in some cases, chickens raised organically that are attacked by disease can be treated with antibiotics and still be sold as organic by law.

Organic chicken feed is not treated with chemical applications to kill insect pests or plant diseases. This raises the cost of production for these types of feeds and, ultimately, the cost of organic chicken. However, many consumers believe the higher price is worth it because the meat is less likely to contribute to serious illnesses, such as cancer, in those who consume it.

Organic chickens can be caged or pastured. Many proponents of healthy food and compassionate treatment of animals raised for meat disapprove of the crowded conditions on intensive farms. In these settings, caged birds are allowed almost no room for movement and are kept in low-light, stressful conditions. Organic chickens aren’t fed the chemicals and antibiotics that nonorganic chickens are given to produce fat hens ready for slaughter in a shorter time period, but they may be more likely to develop disease as a result of crowded conditions. The quality of their meat will likely suffer too.

Pastured chickens are allowed to run free. They forage for insects, seeds, and small game and are given additional supplemental food. They do not suffer frequent disease; this means they aren’t treated with antibiotics. Not all pastured chickens are organic. Consumers who want only poultry that is both organic and pastured should confirm both.

A designation that is falling out of popular use is "free-range." Technically, in some areas, chickens can be marketed as free-range if they are permitted as little as a few minutes of daily outdoor exposure. Like pastured chickens, those labeled as free-range are not necessarily organic. In the case of both free-range and pastured chickens, however, there is a greater likelihood that antibiotic use will be limited or absent. Most farmers raising birds outside of intensive methods are also more likely to feed their flocks higher-quality food that is organic.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

WiseGEEK, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGEEK, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.