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Organic chickens are not necessarily vaccine-free. The agricultural codes pertaining to this section state that baby chicks can be administered antibiotic before 2 days old. Most poultry farmers buy day-old baby chicks from hatcheries. This means that the baby chicks are not a product of a natural brood or hatched by a mother hen. When chicks are hatched by machine they do not have a strong immune system and, are susceptible to disease and illness. Baby chicks can be vaccinated and treated with antibiotics while still incubating since, the shells are porous. In this instance, technically the chicks were not vaccinated or treated with antibiotics but, the egg was. 

Antibiotics kill bacteria. Antibiotics do not target only bad bacteria but also the good bacteria. Good bacteria are critical for beneficial digestion and strong colon health. Have you ever been prescribed antibiotics? if yes, you may remember the doctor saying "don't drink milk, avoid yogurt and cheese". The reason is because the antibiotics can have a difficult time doing their job of killing bacteria when, you're adding good bacteria.

Consuming poultry from chickens which are fed or, administered antibiotics is a leading source of antibiotic resistance. One of the most widely known resistant bacteria is Staphylococcus-Coccal. This is a gram-positive bacterium which is resistant to even the most advanced antibiotics. Having a strong immune system is vital to preventing disease, inflammation, illness and of course, important to healing quickly. Antibiotic resistance can be  painful and in cases where the infection can not be treated, even deadly. 
When chickens are fed antibiotics, the poultry is saturated with those antibiotics, which is passed onto the consumer.  Most poultry farmers who feed chick starter to their baby chicks have the option of buying "medicated" otherwise, most farmers add powdered antibiotics to the water supply as a preventative measure. Preventative measures (vaccines, antibiotics, anti-parasitical applications) are endorsed by the USDA, National Organic Program. 

When chicks are hatched out by the mother hen she passes beneficial immunoglobins and, bacteria onto her baby chicks. She leads them to mineral rich water sources and nutritious small seeds and, tiny insects that her chicks can benefit from. When it's cold she shelters them under her wings to keep them warm. Baby chicks can not regulate their own body temperature until they feather. It can take a few weeks for chicks to get their feathers. From the day the baby chicks hatch from their shells they follow the mother hen into the sunlight, absorbing much needed, vitamin D. When the chicks are tired, the mother hen gathers them and protects them under her warm feathers. Chicks raised in captivity are often given a heat lamp.

Mother hens do not vaccinate their baby chicks. They do not administer antibiotics. They do not give their babies anti-parasitical drugs. This is not ethical, organic nor, natural. Under ideal conditions chickens can breed, brood and hatch all year-round even in cold temperatures.

Whenever possible, choose to consume ethical food. 

Xenia Stavrinides

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