Organic husbandry of broilers
21 kilos of broilers per square meter
Only 0.6% of all German broilers live in ecological husbandry (in the year 2009) – it's almost impossible to make profit in this sector. Happy broilers in green grass? Illusionary: Factory farming has arrived in the organic sector just like in the conventional farming. 4800 animals per stable, 21 kilos of broilers per square meter – that's the life of the "organic broiler" following the EC-norm, far away from any idyllic consumer idea.
Broilers from the hatchery
The production of broilers isn't very "humane" either: they don't hatch in the nest of their parents, but in incubators after 21 days of breeding. The chicks are male and female in equal parts. The common idea that broilers are the unevitably born brothers of laying hens is not real. Laying hens are genetically enhanced for high egg production and would not fatten enough to make profit as broilers. Only very small farms use them for mast.
27 days theoretical free range within 81 days of life
The organic broilers spend their only a few weeks lasting life with comrades of the same age instead of their mother's care. During those 81 days of life they can legally claim 1/3 of this time in free range. But if these 27 days are in cold winter days or just bad weather days, then even the organic broiler spends his whole short life in the stable. There are more reasons that can turn the legal right into pure theory: Free range areas are often not used. For several reasons: Non-acceptance by the animals because of bad structured cover possibilities. The unnatural breeding without adult hens acting as "teachers and caretakers" increases this problem, often it's only the bravest chicks who dare to step out of the stable.
Fast-growing mast-hybrids with health problems
To make the organic broiler mast profitable, they use fast-growing hybrids, who have problems just like their comrades in conventional husbandry due to their genetical alterations. Those animals have been engineered for fast growing and for the buidling of an oversized breast. The consequences of the fast fattening are heart- and blood pressure problems and problems with the locomotor system. Weak bone solidity, weight excess combined with fast growing and therefor severely limited ability to stand and walk, including malformation of the legs, leed to lack of moving. The animals can only lay on their breast which leads to skin irritation, inflammation and breast blisters. The articulations also often inflame. Many animals can only move under heavy pain. The concentration of animals and permanent stress increase the health problems.
If they take stronger broilers than the above described "turbo mast broilers", then the organic husbandry faces yet another problem: The "organic broiler" almost needs twice as much food, the waste of resources is everything but "ecolocical": The production of 1 kilo broiler meat needs 3 kilos of food.