Organic Rules and Certification

Flock size, poultry - UK Soil Association Organic Standards 2005

Padel, Susanne and Lowman, Steve (2005) Flock size, poultry - UK Soil Association Organic Standards 2005. [Organic rules - Differences between other regulations/standards and EEC No 2092/91]

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There are recommended maximum flock sizes for poultry, and Soil Association permission is required to keep larger houses. The Soil Association standards' recommended maximum poultry flock sizes are for a maximum of 500 chickens, ducks, or guinea fowl, or 250 turkeys or geese. Permission is required for larger units, and will depend on good health and welfare levels, good environmental conditions, and sufficient available range with vegetation within suitable distances of the housing. Beyond this, Soil Standards standards restrict the maximum poultry flock size, in any case, to 2,000 birds for laying chickens, and to 1000 birds for other classes of poultry. (Soil Association Organic Standards. Paragraphs 20.7.10-20.7.13.)


EU Regulation 2092/91 has higher maximum flock sizes of between 2,500 for turkeys and geese, and 5,200 for guinea fowl, and it has no smaller recommended flock sizes. The two sets of organic standards differ only in the maximum individual poultry flock (house) size, not the size of the production unit.


The Soil Association standards' smaller, recommended and maximum flock sizes for poultry are to help ensure adequate health and welfare. Restricting flock sizes will limit the size of any disease or pest infestation, and will enable closer monitoring of birds' condition, Smaller flock sizes are closer to the maximum group sizes found among wild poultry, and therefore contribute to reducing stress that may be caused by social alienation among the birds.

EU Regulation

Annex I. Principles of organic production and processing > B.Livestock and livestock products - Annex I B > Housing and free-range conditions - Annex I B8, see also Annex VIII

Item type:Organic rules - Differences between other regulations/standards and EEC No 2092/91
Subjects:Specific animal standards > Poultry
Animal husbandry > Animal housing
Specific animal standards
Country/Standard: Europe > UK > Soil Association Organic Standards
Principles:Principle of fairness
Principle of health
ID Code:199
Deposited On:18 Dec 2005
Last Modified:16 Apr 2010 13:00

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