Organic Rules and Certification

All differences in one table by Subjects

  • Subject Areas
    • Specific animal standards
      • Poultry
Go back to overview Go to complete documents for this section
Title Description Difference Justification and Comments
Animal fodder, poultry - CZ PRO BIO Standards 2004 A minimum of 10% of the daily corn-feed for laying hens must be given scattered on the ground. (PB Standards, Part II, Chapter 3.5) No similar paragraph is quoted in the EU Regulation 2092/91. he ethology of scratchers/gallinaceans is a justification for this rule.
Conversion, livestock and animal products - CH Bio Suisse Standards 2005 For brought-in livestock not coming from organic farm operations special conversion periods apply, if these animals or products thereof are sold as certified organic. BIO SUISSE standard is identical with EU Regulation 2092/91 except for the transition period for poultry for meat production. Whereas BIO SUISSE requires only 56 days for fattening poultry, EU requires that poultry is reared 10 weeks according the standard before being sold as organic. The deviation is due to the fact, that poultry becomes too heavy when reared longer than 56 days and then does not meet Swiss market demands for broilers .
Flock size, poultry - UK Soil Association Organic Standards 2005
/style/images/fileicons/application_pdf.png /style/images/fileicons/application_pdf.png
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.
Free range conditions, rest periods, poultry - UK Soil Association Organic Standards 2005 Poultry runs must be left empty between batches for specified minimum periods. For laying poultry, the Soil Association standards minimum rest period is 9 months, and it is 2 months per year plus 1 year in every 3 years for table poultry. Soil Association Organic Standards, Paragraphs 20.8.4-20.8.6. Soil Association standards contain further restrictions than the UK Compendium, which sets national rules in accordance with the EU Regulation 2092/91 requirements. UK Compendium, Annex 1B, Paragraph 8.4.6 complies with the requirements of EU Regulation by specifying minimum rest periods for runs accommodating the different classes of poultry in UK. Compared to the UK Compendium, Soil Association standards specify significantly longer minimum rest periods for poultry runs between batches. Soil Association standards for minimum rest periods in poultry runs aim to break the life cycle of parasitic worms. The secondary aim is to give time for the built-up fertility of the land to be used.
Livestock housing and free range conditions, poultry - AT Bio Austrial General Standard 2006
/style/images/fileicons/text_plain.png /style/images/fileicons/text_plain.png
In addition to the general rules for animals there are special rules for free-range broilers about stocking density, the litter, the light, outdoor access and pasture. The total allowable number of broilers per farm is 9600. Maximum 35 animals/m2 of barn area are permissible until the end of the 4th week of age, direct and concentrated glare from the sun should be avoided. No low frequency neon lighting is to be used. In newly constructed barns, the distance to the exit/entry pop-holes may not exceed 12 m for chickens. Barn areas that are farther than 12 m from an opening to the outdoor exercise yard are not calculated as barn area. If there are more than one exit opening, each one must be at least 40 cm wide. 4 weeks are necessary for empty outdoor areas between the runs. A covered yard area right beside of the barn must be at least one third of the minimum barn area requirement and has to be spread with litter. This yard must be easily accessible for the broilers (even when there is snow on the ground) and should be protected from wind. It must be available for the animals during daytime (also in winter) without restriction – apart from temperatures below 0° C (danger of frost). (BA-Rules 2006 chapter 3.15)
The Bio Austria General Standard is very detailed while the EU Regulation 2092/91 does not have such specific requirements for free-range broiler husbandry. Animal welfare and health, protection of the environment. The main reason is to fulfil consumer expectations; integrity of organic farming (husbandry).
Livestock housing, area, poultry - CH Demeter Standards 2005
DEMTER has to comply with the Swiss Ordinance on animal husbandry and rules the area of stable size in the same way as the latter. In the stable not more than 6 hens per m2 can be kept, additionally a wintergarden must be provided with 43m2 per 1000 animals and in addition to this there must be an outdoor area (pasture) of 5m2 per animal.
EU Regulation 2092/91 also requires no more than 6 animals/m2, but the size of wintergarden is not defined, and the size of pasture required is 4m2/animal which is less than the size required by Swiss Ordinance and therefore also by DEMETER. From an ethological point of view a lower number of animals per surface area and a lower maximum number of animals per stable is seen as more animal-friendly.
Livestock housing, area, poultry - DE Bioland 2005
/style/images/fileicons/application_pdf.png /style/images/fileicons/application_pdf.png
With the exception of stock sizes of less than 100 animals and mobile housing systems, an outdoor climate area of at least one third of the total minimum housing area is mandatory for fattening chicken and turkey. (Bioland production standards, 4.2.5. Poultry, Poultry for fattening, Exterior climate area)
The BIOLAND standard contains further requirements. The EU Regulation 2092/91 does not require an outdoor climate area. According to the EU Regulation poultry must have access to an open air run whenever this is allowed by the climatic conditions, and at least during 3/4 of their lifetime. The animals must have the opportunity to execute their natural behaviour.
Livestock housing, area, poultry - UK Soil Association Organic Standards 2005 Soil Association standards have a set of maximum poultry housing densities, minimum space for perching per bird, and maximum number of birds per nest for laying chickens. Soil Association Organic Standards. Paragraph 20.7.3. Soil Association standards contain further restrictions than the EU Regulation 2092/91. Soil Association standards specify a maximum of 6 laying hens for each nesting box, while the EU Regulation figure is 8. Soil Association standards specify separate maximum housing stocking rates for turkeys and geese of 2 birds per sq. metre in fixed housing and 3 birds per sq. metre in mobile housing, but EU Regulations apply the same figure for all classes of poultry, i.e. 10 birds per sq. metre (fixed) and 16 birds per sq. metre (mobile), which are also the maximum densities for all other classes of poultry in the Soil Association standards. The Soil Association standards' lower maximum number of laying hens per nesting box is intended to ensure an adequate level of welfare for each bird by improving access to nesting boxes. The specific housing density requirements for turkeys and geese in Soil Association standards take account of the larger size of these birds. Although both sets of standards include the same maximum weight of birds per sq. metre of housing area, the specific maximum housing densities for turkeys and geese in Soil Association standards help to ensure adequate health and welfare conditions for these larger birds.
Livestock housing, cleaning - UK Compendium 2005 Buildings must be cleaned and disinfected between batches of poultry. Runs must be left empty between batches for specified minimum periods. UK Compendium requires a minimum rest period for poultry runs of 2 months, and in particular, specifies a minimum rest period of 2 months per year for the runs of poultry for meat production. UK Compendium, Annex IB, Paragraph 8.4.6. The UK compendium is more precise with regard to the minimum rest period, whereas the EU Regulation 2092/91 leaves the precise rest period between batches for poultry runs to be decided by member states. UK Compendium follows the requirements of EU Regulation in deciding on national level on minimum rest periods for runs accommodating the different classes of poultry.
Livestock housing, darkness, poultry - SE KRAV 2006
/style/images/fileicons/application_pdf.png /style/images/fileicons/application_pdf.png
The KRAV standards require that both hens and chickens should have at least 8 hours a day without artificial light (KRAV standards paragraph 5.2.19).
EU Regulation 2092/91 Annex 1 paragraph 8.4.4 also requires that laying hens shall have at least 8 hours without artificial light. However, these KRAV standards also apply to chikens. The KRAV standards cover both hens and chickens, the EU Regulation 2092/91 only covers laying hens. There are conventional systems for chicken rearing which use 24 hours of light to get the animals to eat more and as such grow faster.
Livestock housing, general requirements, poultry - DE Bioland Standards 2005
/style/images/fileicons/application_pdf.png /style/images/fileicons/application_pdf.png
Housing systems for laying hens can be floor systems or aviaries with access to open air run (exceptions are possible). Detailed instructions are given about the characteristics of the area (indoors and outdoors), that can be taken into account for calculating the total area, accessible to the hens (including exterior climate area, the scratching area, open air run, covered with vegetation). In aviaries the stocking density is restricted to 12 hens/m² floor space. Details are given concerning the size of the windows, the design of the feeding and watering equipment, the handling of excrements, the perch rods, the nests, the openings. Possibility of dust bathing is mandatory. Housing systems with more than 200 hens must have an exterior climate area of a determined minimum size, which is permanently accessible to the hens. (Bioland production standards, Laying hens,; Bioland production standards, 9.4. Commencement of Validity and Transitional Arrangements)
The provisions of the BIOLAND standard is more detailed than the EU Regulation 2092/91. Bioland requires a permanently accessible outdoor climate area and the limitation of the maximum stocking density in aviaries in relation to the ground area of the building. The EU Regulation does not indicate as many details concerning the housing system, but in addition to the specific indications for poultry (Annex I B, 8.4.) there is the general requirement, that housing systems must be appropriate to the species and account for the biological and ethological needs of the animals (Annex I B, 8.1., 8.2.) In order to ensure that BIOLAND certified laying hens are kept in accordance with the specific needs and natural behaviour of the species.
Livestock housing, general requirements, poultry - UK Compendium 2005
Conditions for poultry housing are specified, regarding their integrity, flooring, bedding, perches, pop-holes and maximum stock numbers. UK Compendium, Annex IB, Paragraph 8.4.3.
The paragraph in UK Compendium contains text not included in the EU Regulation 2092/91, as follows: "poultry houses must be structured with their own dedicated grazing, air space, ventilation, feed and water." This rule is otherwise identical to the EU Regulation. The additional UK Compendium text is designed to facilitate the inclusion of more than one poultry house in a single building. It makes it clear that each house must be completely separate from any others nearby.
Livestock housing, general requirements, poultry - UK Soil Associaition Organic Standards 2005 In poultry houses of more than 100 birds, social grouping must be encouraged by the arrangement of feeders and drinkers, and by the use of partitions. Soil Association Organic Standards. Paragraph 20.7.2. Soil Association standards contain a requirement not included in EU Regulation 2092/91. Soil Association standards require the use of partitions and the arrangement of feeders and drinkers to encourage small social groups to be formed among birds in a large poultry house. EU Regulation does not include this requirement. Natural populations of poultry tend to form smaller social groups than exist in large poultry houses, so the provision of partitions, etc. reduces the incidence welfare problems relating to social alienation among birds in a large house.
Livestock housing, general requirements, poultry - UK Soil Associaition Organic Standards 2005
/style/images/fileicons/application_pdf.png /style/images/fileicons/application_pdf.png
Soil Association poultry housing standards include minimum requirements for solid, unslatted and bedded floor areas, along with minimum areas of pop holes, drinking and feeding space, and numbers of drinkers per flock size. There are also certain stipulations regarding the types and maintenance of poultry bedding. (Soil Association Organic Standards. Paragraphs 20.7.4-20.7.7.)
Soil Association standards are more comprehensive than EU Regulation 2092/91. The Soil Association standards minimum requirements for solid, unslatted and bedded floor areas are set at 50%, but EU Regulation requires a minimum one third of floor area of these descriptions. Soil Association standards require minimum space per bird for various types of drinker and feeder, but the EU Regulation does not include such requirements. The Soil Association standards require the bedding to be topped up regularly, and kept dry and friable, whereas EU Regulation requires enough of the floor space to be available for removal of bird droppings. Soil Association standards are intended to ensure an adequate level of health and welfare for the birds by requiring a larger proportion of the housing floor area to be unslatted and bedded, with minimum feeding and drinking spaces per bird. The requirement for topping up bedding rather than for removing droppings reveals a difference of emphasis between the two sets of standards, in which the Soil Association focuses more on providing sufficient resources for the birds to enable their normal behaviours.
Livestock housing, rest periods - UK Soil Association Organic Standards 2005 Between batches of poultry, houses must be cleaned and disinfected, and must be left empty for long enough to break the life cycle of pests. Soil Association Organic Standards, Paragraph 20.7.6. Soil Association standards are more precise than EU Regulation 2092/91. Soil Association standards specify that the period that poultry houses are left empty between batches must be long enough to break the life cycle of pests. Although EU Regulation requires that poultry houses must be left empty, cleaned and disinfected between batches, it includes no time specification for the period that the houses must be left empty. Leaving the poultry houses empty for long enough to break the lifecycle of pests will mean that there are no established populations of pests to infest the following batch of poultry. This will reduce health and welfare problems for successive batches of poultry.
Slaughter, minimum age - UK Compendium 2005 The minimum ages for slaughter of various classes of poultry are specified, with an exception allowed in the case of slow growing strains. Capons are included in the list in the EU Regulation 2092/91 but not in UK Compendium. Capons are omitted from the list in the UK Compendium, to avoid redundancy of information, because this class of poultry is not reared in UK due to the requirement for a vet for the castration process.
Slaughter, minimum age, poultry - CH Bio Suisse Standards 2005 Minimal age for broilers at the day of slaughter is 63 days. EU Regulation is more detailled than BIO SUISSE. BIO SUISSE sets limits only for broilers, whereas the EU Regulation 2092/91 adds limits for all kinds of fowl. Furthermore BIO SUISSE accepts an age of 63 days for broilers, whereas the EU Regulation requires 81 days for chicken as minimal age at slaughter. Among fowl, only broilers are kept on an an economic scale in Switzerland. Consequently BIO SUISSE has no regulation for other fowl. For broilers the minimum age for slaughter is 63 days due to the lack of market demand for heavier animals. Too quick growth infringes the healthy development of the sceleton and the behaviour of fowl. A sound growth of animals is an ethological requirement in organic farming.