NO. Maybe. I don’t know????
I should stop and leave it there, but that wouldn’t be fair. In an attempt to clear up my opinion I will offer the following information. After reading everything and doing your own research, you can make the choice for your farm or backyard flock.
Starting with GMO FREE.
This is an easy choice for me. I don’t think there is such a thing as GMO free corn or soy in the US. Something over 90% of all corn and soy in this country tested as being GMO. The bottom line is that you cant escape cross-pollination. It is everywhere. Unless your feed comes from corn grown indoors that was hand pollinated it most likely isn’t GMO FREE. A better label would be “Round-UP Free”. I think the real issue is that nobody really wants to eat food that is soaked in weed killer. As far as I know this label does not exist. Until then I personally think “GMO FREE” is a marketing ploy. At $50-$60 per 50lb bag somebody is getting rich.
Now for “Organic”.
This is much more of a gray area for me. If I had a small backyard flock that could not free range I would probably feed organic feed. However, I raise thousands of “free range” chickens every year. They are not in pasture pens. I have large coops and they are free to come and go as they please all year. In summer they have multiple fenced pastures that move. In winter they have one smaller pasture (max 200 chickens) to roam. Since I cant prove the grasshoppers they eat are organic I cant sell organic poultry. The bottom line for me is that I don’t know what my neighbors are growing on their farms. In summer bugs and grass equals 50% of my chickens’ diet. I only know for certain where half of what they eat comes from. For this reason I don’t spend the extra money on Organic feed. I will admit I can see where it could come into play. It just doesn’t work for my specific operation. At $25-$35 per 50lb bag it isn’t cheap either. However, if you can get organic certification you can make more as well. In that case it is a trade.
In my case I sell my broilers and fryers as “pasture raised poultry.” I can get feed in bulk for around $8.50 per 50lb bag. It takes me about 1600lbs of feed to raise 250 chickens to size in the summer. My feed cost per chicken in summer is around $1.10 or less. In winter months it doubles. There is no way I could make any money with GMO FREE feed, and I would have mighty thin margins using organic feed. Remember, feed is only a small portion of the overall cost of a chicken from hatch to processing.
In closing I would say for backyard flocks or small homesteads “organic” feed is worth it. If you are raising chickens for personal use eggs and meat then go for it. If you plan on marketing your poultry to others it isn’t so simple. As with everything else in farming it all comes down to the over all cost. However, one thing to remember is that all of these options are far better than factory farming options. The key in the end is to know where your food comes from!!!