Organic Broiler Meat Production in India An Overview

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Review Article

Organic Broiler Meat Production in India – An Overview

N. Madhan Kumar1*, P. Kangaraju2, C. Pandian2 and G. Srinivasan3 Department of Poultry Science, Madras Veterinary College, Chennai -07, INDIA

1M.V.Sc Scholar

2Assistant Professor

3Professor and Head

*Corresponding author:

Rec. Date: Jul 09, 2017 07:19

Accept Date: Aug 12, 2017 15:56

Published Online: October 30, 2017

DOI 10.5455/ijlr.20170812035657


Organic broiler farming is the emerging system of rearing in all over the world. Organic farming allows exhibiting the normal behavior and also provides welfare to birds that make the birds to exhibit their natural resistant against diseases. In international trade markets, organic meat gains importance due to consumer willingness over organic products. In organic farming, 100 percent organically produced feed ingredients are used for feeding. Brooding managements can be done as similar as to the commercial broiler production. Use of antibiotics in any form for prevention or increase the productivity is not allowed in the organic production. So, bacterial resistance and residual antibiotic level in meat will be decreased. Vaccination is allowed as per certain rules are given by organic farming committee that is when disease areas are known or expected and endemic in the region where the farm is located and those diseases are cannot prevent by management. Desi breeds or locally adaptable breeds of chickens only are allowed for organic broiler meat production. Each poultry house shall not contain more than 4800 chicks. Breeding techniques employing genetic engineering or against natural is not allowed. Slaughter age of organic method of reared birds is 81 days. It’s the time for farmers to think of organic meat production to safeguard the people and increase their economic level.

Key words: Organic Broiler, NPOP, Welfare of Birds

How to cite: Nagarajan, M., Kangaraju, P., Pandian, C., & Srinivasan, G. (2017). Organic Broiler Meat Production in India - An Overview. International Journal of Livestock Research, 7(11), 23-31.


India poultry production is one of the fastest growing industry compare to all other livestock segments.

The production keeps on increasing year to year these due to many integrators and also exporting to many countries around the world. India was exported 659,304.15 MT of poultry products to the world for the




worth of 768.72 Crores during the year 2015-2016, it accounts for 18% of exports. Even though the broiler meat was sold tons and tons there is always consequence about the quality of meat among the consumers. In India 78.1 % of people are above the poverty line (Asian Development Bank, 2017). So, consumers are always willing to pay more to consume the quality meat even though there is low purchasing power among them. As per Van loo et al., 59% of consumers are most responded and occasionally purchased organic chicken. Organic broiler farming is the emerging system of rearing in all over the world. On other side importance for the poultry welfare also emerging adverse implication on trade at international level. To avoid all these, now farmers are focusing on organic meat production. The market for the organic broiler meat is high and growing all around. In 2004 the market value of organic products was 28 billion US dollars (NAAS, 2005). In 2005, the poultry accounts for 75% of total organic meat (Heller, 2006). The annual growth of organic poultry is estimated as 33% in 2008 (Nopar, 2005). In 2015, total market value of organic products was 81.6 billion US dollars (Statista). So it will increase the opportunities to the small scale farmers to market their meat to consumers and also they will gain more profit. Organic refers to the way the broiler are raised and processed that involves complete avoiding of agrochemicals such as synthetic pesticide and fertilizers. Comparison of the organic poultry system with a conventional one from the viewpoint of sustainability showed that all the energy-based indicators are in favour of the organic farming system with a higher efficiency (Castellini, 2006). In India, agro-climatic conditions and agriculture biodiversity are more conducive to the organic poultry meat production.

Organic farming reduced risks in farming and investments in/costs of farming (reducing dependency on external inputs, including bio-inputs); increase in profits and viability of farming (ASHA, 2015).

Regulations for Organic Meat Production

FAO / WHO Codex Alimentarius commission defines organic farming as “A unique production management system which promotes and enhances agro-ecosystem health including biodiversity biological cycles and soil biology activity and this is accomplished by using on farm agronomic biological and mechanical methods in exclusion of all synthetic off-farm units”. In India ministry of commerce and industry, Government of India launched National Program on Organic Production (NPOP) in the year of 2000. This provides information on a standard for organic production systems criteria and procedures for accreditation of inspection and certification bodies the National organic logo and their regulations governing its use. Organic agriculture means a process of developing a viable of sustainable agro-ecosystem. The time between the start of organic management and certification of broiler farm from normal conditions is known as conversion period. The conversion period of three years is required to convert the whole farm in to the organic farm according to standards. The certification program should only the certify production which is likely to be maintained on a long term basis of management




techniques in broiler production should be governed by the physiological and ethological need of the birds.

General Considerations on Organic Farming

1. The choice of breed, strain shall be consistent with the principles of organic farming that is their adaptation to the local climatic conditions and the socio-economic conditions. And also their vitality and resistance to the disease.

2. The producers shall follow an all-in-all-out system of rearing and different age group of birds, species, breed, strain should be avoided.

3. Cage rearing is not permitted (Anne Fanatico, 2008).

4. Mixed farming of poultry shall not permit in the organic broiler production.

5. Brought-in birds which may be grown on the organic farm from day two onwards. The day one considers as hatch at the hatchery.

6. Genetically modified or genetically engineered breeds or stains should not be used for organic production because of the gain higher body weight at a lower mean age which is against to the natural physiology.

7. Organic poultry must have access to the pasture or outdoor as seasonally appropriate

8. Broilers are hatched from the hatcheries which are from organic parents or offspring can be raised as organic.

9. Transfer of birds between organic and non-organic units may not be permitted.

Hosing and Living Conditions for Organic Poultry

The broiler is maintained under natural conditions as possible, housing should be given sufficient space to ensure free movement and given an opportunity to express normal behavior. Organic farming allows exhibiting the normal behavior and also provides welfare to birds that make the birds to exhibit their natural resistant against diseases. The housing of poultry in cages shall not be permitted. The floor shall be solid construction. Code of practice for poultry housing shall be as per IS 2732:1985. Housing should be designed and constructed such a way that birds can be protected from predators. Maintaining the good sanitation condition in poultry house and regular cleaning is must. For organic poultry production birds reared only under deep litter system (Biradar et al., 2011). Each poultry house shall not contain more than 4800 chicks. Housing should minimize the stress to the birds and provide sufficient protection against natural climatic conditions and predators. These systems may be stationary or mobile units, mobile units are famous in developed countries it has an advantage of reduces the risk of parasite and disease transmission but have a disadvantage of the use of labor power. In India stationary houses are good enough for organic production. Birds need access to the outdoor area or pasture area. Shades or shelters given either natural (trees, shrubs) or artificially (sun shelter) to the birds to encourage the range use.

Outdoor stocking density and the group size should be balanced with the soil type, a productivity of the land and environment impact. The farm should be fenced with an appropriate manner which not cause




harm to the birds. The positive effect on the health of birds seen under stress-free conditions. Stock density maximum of 580 chicks per hectare is permitted as per NPOP standards.

Stocking density may vary with every system but the basic requirement on stocking density depends on region, general climatic conditions, production capacity, stock health, nutrient availability, environmental impact. Pop holes to the outdoor area should measure at a minimum of 45cm x 100 cm for chicks. Other requirements for housing are as usual as commercial broiler house. Poultry must have easy to the access to an outside grazing area, fresh air, clean water, balanced ration, dust-bathing facilities and an area for scratching, and hence presents an emphasis the welfare of the animals.


Indoor area

(net area available to birds)

Outdoor area (exercise area, excluding

pasturage) No. of birds / m2 cm per birds / bird

Fattening poultry (in fixed housing)

10 with maximum of

21kg live weight/m2 -

4 broilers produced that the limit of 170 kg of N/ha/year is not exceeded Brooding and Litter Management of Organic Chicks

Brooding of organic chicks may be by the artificial brooding method. The chicks are received within 24 hours from the hatchery. The brooding procedures are as usual as normal broiler chicks brooding. The optimum temperature for the chicks can vary depends upon their breed characteristics, so the behavior of chicken in a brooder should closely watch for their thermal comfort it is the real indicator for good brooding management. Birds should provide with dry litter material and free from any sharp objects. Dust free soft wood shavings are an ideal bedding material (Tony little, 2010). The requirement of litter material is based on stocking density, birds health, ventilation, seasonal difference, birds do dust bathe to maintain their feather integrity. So the litter material should be dry as much as possible. The moisture level should not exceed 20 % if exceed it may produce distress to the birds.

Breeding Considerations on Organic Poultry

Poultry breeding methods shall be in accordance with and in compliance with the principle of organic farming shall be taking into account.

1. The breeds and strains most suitable for local conditions should be selected for breeding (Brunberg, 2014).

2. The preference for reproduction through natural mating or artificial insemination may be followed 3. Reproductive hormonal use not be permitted

4. Breeding techniques employing genetic engineering shall not be permitted 5. Breeding techniques against natural is not permitted i.e. Inter species breeding 6. Mutilation in birds are not permitted




The main constraints associated with organic poultry breeding for small scale production in India are a keen interest of farmers and less availability of poultry genetics persons and hatchery.

Nutritional Management of Organic Poultry

Feeding to the birds should be 100 % certified organic feed that may be purchased or produced on own.

All agricultural feed products including pasture should be organic. No synthetic agents are added into the feed or water as premixer or at the time of feeding. The feed stuff should not prepare using chemical solvents and by chemical treatment. In the case of shortage of organic feed or exception situations well define analogic substance may be used. Feed stuff of animal origin like fish meal, bone meal, marine animals, animal byproducts and rendered components with the exception of milk and milk products are not to be used in the birds feed formulation. Synthetic nitrogen or non-protein nitrogen compounds should not be used. The feed provided the birds should satisfy the requirement up to 80% and also fulfill the physiological and behavioral feeding pattern of the bird.

Feed processing aiding supplement like binders, anticaking agents, emulsifier, stabilizers, thickeners, surfactants, coagulating agents, antioxidants, preservatives, coloring agents and all another feed additive which are synthetic should not be added to the feed but if it is available as a natural source it can be added to the feed. Enzymes and microorganisms are allowed but it should be free from genetically modified sources. Cereals are the largest component of organic poultry diet so it should be locally available with good quality and poultry are able to utilize up to 10 % of their diet from green matter its good source for vitamins (except vit.D) and mineral. Feeding green matter to the fattening birds utilized as enrichment aid that helps in decreasing the feather pecking behavior. Vitamins and minerals supplements make up to 5%

of the total diet that may be free from organic. Usually limestone, phosphate rocks are used as mineral supplements in organic farms. The birds must have access to the potable water that should be free from antibiotic and sanitizer. The water should be regularly tested for ground water contamination. Feeders and water space requires as follows (Animal Welfare Task Force).

Feeders space: Pans 70 birds per pan

Troughs 5cm per bird Water space: Bell drinkers 1 per 120 birds

Nipples 5-20 birds per nipple Troughs 2.5 cm per bird Bird’s Welfare on Organic Farming

Bird’s welfare is most concerned part of management in the organic broiler farms. Birds are allowed to the pasture to exhibit their normal behavior like scratching the land, searching the feed and taking dust bathe. Clipping of flight feathers, beak trimming, toe clipping and any other type of mutilation are not




prohibited in the organically growing birds. In chickens feather pecking and the cannibalism are major behavioral problems arises due to improper management activities like over stocking density, non- nutritional feeding, less adequate lights etc. lighting should be provided as 23 hours of light and 1 hour of dark. Perches are provided in the poultry houses and also in grazing area this are one kind of enrichment to the birds so they will get some entertainment and also promote activity and bone strength. Perches for chicken provided with18-20 cm per bird (NPOP, 2001).

Health Cover or Organic Poultry Production

To maintain the flock as healthy all the management practices are followed. It provides the prevention to many diseases and increases the resistant towards some disease and provides a healthy environment. Use of antibiotics in any form for prevention or increase the productivity is not allowed in the organic production (Fanatico, 2009 and MOSES, 2012). Vaccination is allowed as per certain rules are given by organic farming committee (Anne Fanatico, 2008) that is when a disease is known or expected and endemic in the region where the farm is located and those diseases are cannot prevent by management.

Cleanliness of the farm is the best form of defense in disease management. Alternative to the antibiotics homeopathy, probiotics, herbs, hydrogen peroxide, vinegar in water, organic turmeric added to feed to increase the health of birds. Unavoidable conditions like high mortality in flock or disease outbreak farmer can use of antibiotics with the proper advice from the registered veterinarian. But the antibiotic withdrawal time for meat is double the official conventional withdrawal time. In tropical countries when the birds are allowed to the pasture the disease like salmonella, colibacillosis, coccidiosis, and some parasitic infections are more common. To avoid these problems clean grazing system should be established. New pasture areas can be provided for each batch i.e. farmer can follow the rotational grazing methods. Any grazing area has to be kept without birds for the period of at least two months in between batches. Biosecurity of the farm is important to step to prevent the transfer of disease from farm to farm, from person to farm, from one batch to another or from wild birds to domesticate so proper biosecurity measure are followed in the farm. Conceptual, operational and structural biosecurity are followed in organic farms.

Transport, Processing and Packaging of Organic Meat Birds

The maximum transport time for living organic birds not exceed 8 hours, during transport the birds are prevented from stress, injury, thirst, fear, distress, physical and thermal comfort, pain. Uses of electric stimulations are not permitted during loading and unloading of birds. While slaughter is a concern the birds reared for meat should slaughter at the age of 81 days (Berg, 2001 and NPOP, 2001). Before this age slaughtering of organic birds are not permitted. The slaughter should be a humane method which




minimizes stress and suffering. The slaughter, evisceration, and packing of poultry should be conducted in such manner as will result in hygiene processing. Animal must be born to organically managed dams if they are to be slaughtered for organic meat production (Chander et al., 2006). An irradiation method of preservation is prohibited in organic meat. Ecologically sound materials should be used for the packaging of organic meat products. And labeling did such a manner it should clearly convey the accurate information about an organic status of the meat or meat product. Traditional meat quality criteria indicate a slight superior quality of organic chicken meat (Grashorn, 2006).

Record Keeping of Organic Poultry Farm

Maintenance of records is used to preserve the identity of birds flock and also organic farming activities (Jim Riddle, 2013). The records are used for future reference for all kind of management. The records in farms are mainly formed by close observation of activities in a farm. Monitoring of farm activities is recorded in the following registers like parent details record, purchasing details of chick’s record, breeding record, production record, health record, sales record, formulated/purchased organic feed record, and organic pasture record.

Constraints in the Organic Broiler Farms in India

1. Lack of in depth knowledge to the farmers about organic farming and hurdle at production level.

2. Inadequate supporting structure, inadequate available certifying agencies and lack of marketing channels (Biradar, 2011).

3. The sources of chicks or parents are limited and most of hatcheries are not ready to supply less number of chicks which are organic because organic and non-organic chicks should not be kept in the same racks.

4. In concern with measures of sanitary conditions, quality, traceability followed by developed countries is an obstacle for small and marginal Indian poultry farmers to enter export.

5. Training facilities to the farmers on the organic farming are limited at the field and institutional level.

Tamil Nadu Organic Certification Department

Tamil Nadu Organic Certification Department (TNOCD) was established in the year of 2007-2008 to carryout inspection and certification of organic production system in accordance with NPOP (National Programme for Organic Production), which was launched by Government of India in the year 2000 and notified in October 2001 under the Foreign Trade and Development Act (FTDR Act).

Tamil Nadu Organic Certification Department is accredited by APEDA (Agricultural and Processed Food Products Exports Development Authority), New Delhi, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India. The accreditation number allotted to Tamil Nadu Organic Certification Department is NPOP/NAB/0019. Organic Certification carried out by this Department is on par with standards of European Union. Tamil Nadu Organic Certification Department also imparts free training to registered organic farmers on National Standards for Organic Production, and Tamil Nadu Organic Certification




Department Standards. During the year 2010-11, 28114 acres of land have been registered under Organic Certification by 8372 farmers in Tamil Nadu.


India is a well-diversified country in sense of native poultry breed and topographical conditions and has very good opportunities in organic poultry production as in nature. Nowadays consumers are more concerned about quality so they are shifting to organic products even though their purchasing power on the products is less. At the same time, the organic agricultural production also keeps on increasing it will help in feed procurement. If farmers are starting doing the organic farming it will fetch more margin to the farmers and also increase the quality of meat which consumed by peoples. And it will decrease the chances of antimicrobial resistant for more antibiotics in animals as well as in humans. Concerning the export, the organic meat is always most welcomed in the world market. It’s the time for farmers to think of organic meat production to safeguard the people and increase their economic level.


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