Bell & Evans (Farmer’s Pride)

Farm/Brand HeadquartersFredericksburg, PA
ProductsChicken, processed meat
Market AreaNationwide
Total Score1240

They say: “Bell & Evans’ World’s First Organic Certified, Animal-Welfare-Focused Hatchery where 100% of its broiler chickens hatch is a complete departure from traditional poultry hatcheries. The Hatchery is certified organic by Pennsylvania Certified Organic (PCO), a certification process that Bell & Evans helped to define because it did not previously exist. Here, they’ve replaced standard sanitation processes using harmful chemicals like formaldehyde with stringent biosecurity procedures and organic sanitation methods. Bell & Evans was the first chicken producer to remove the use of antibiotics from 100% of its production more than 20 years ago, but it’s worth noting again that no antibiotics are administered into the eggs or chicks.

The most important difference of this Hatchery is that chicks enjoy U.S. grown organic feed, fresh water, and light as soon as they hatch from the egg. In traditional poultry practices, chicks are forced to wait until they’ve arrived at the farm to eat and drink—a process that can take up to three days and leave the chicks dehydrated and malnourished. Additionally, Bell & Evans invested in state-of-the-art chick trailers to transport chicks from the Hatchery to the farms in the same baskets as they hatched with access to the organic feed during the short drive.

Bell & Evans also eliminated the traditional use of machinery handling of chicks at its Hatchery, such as belt drops, shell separators and chick counters. Bell & Evans’ Humane Animal Welfare Standards are the most comprehensive in the industry, beginning at hatch and continuing through the end of the life cycle, with a priority to minimize stress on the birds.”

TOTAL (possible score is 1800) 1240
4-Bird Rating | Excellent
Family Farms and cooperatives receive the most points. Corporations and companies with poor or negligible farm oversight receive the fewest points.
Ownership structure
70Family-owned business—close ties/partnership with farmers and closely involved in management decisions.
100% organic brands receive the most points. Split operations receive fewer with increased penalties for poor segregation at the processor and farm level.
Dedication to Organic Production
70Brand markets both organic and conventional poultry products with superb segregation
Farms that participated in Cornucopia’s research providing full transparency receive the most points.
Transparency and Disclosure
100Full transparency
Points determined by integrity of the brand’s organic certifier.
Organic Certifier
To receive full points, flocks must number 500 birds or fewer (200 for turkeys).
Flock size
20Raises a large number of birds in static (fixed) housing
No more than 1.5 lbs of bird per square foot is required for full points.
Stocking Density
50Decent dedication to stocking density that promotes good welfare, including work to acclimate chickens to larger house when young
Mobile housing receives the highest number of points.
Housing Style
60Fixed housing with dedication to providing quality outdoor spaces, including outdoor spaces with over 50% vegetation.
Heritage varieties receive the highest number of points.
Strain and/or Breed and Slaughter Age
60Raises Das Klassenbester meat bird strain, slaughtering between 6-8 weeks of age.
Birds must spend 3/4ths or more of their lives outdoors for full points.
Timing for Outdoor Access
50Birds spend approximately ½ of their lives with outdoor access
Enrichments include but are not limited to shade structures, water, novel feedstuff (greens, mealworms, sprouted grains), and dust baths.
Enrichments (outdoor and indoor)
70Provides indoor enrichments and ensures outdoor areas are vegetated.
Points awarded for labels that go above and beyond organic.
Other Labels/Standards
Maximum points given for high quality, rotated pasture. Non-rotated pasture adjacent to fixed housing with lower than 90% vegetative cover receives fewer points.
Outdoor Management
60In general tries to have 100% or close to 100% vegetative cover in outdoor runs.
100 points for on-farm production and/or milling of feed. Fewest points given to feed that cannot be verified as domestic and/or birds get poor or no supplementation from outdoor foraging.
Feed Sourcing
70No feed is produced on-farm but feed is confirmed to be domestically produced and local, with signed affidavits required.
Methionine needs met by outdoor foraging receives 100 points. Synthetic supplementation receives 70 points.
Synthetic Methionine
70Supplements 2.5lbs for broiler chickens (the maximum allowed by organic regulations)
Under 5% cull and death rate required for full points.
Cull/death Rate
100Under 5% cull and death rate for all organic suppliers.
Chicks and poults that are certified organic since hatching, or are hatched on-farm receive 100 points. Off-farm or conventional chicks and poults receive 70 points.
Chick and Poult Sourcing
100Chicks are certified organic before hatching (organic breeders); 100% of chicks are sourced from Bell & Evans Organic Certified Hatchery and receive organic feed and fresh water immediately at hatch, with no conventional management needed.
No physical alterations required for full points. Permitting beak tipping results in fewer points.
Physical Alterations
100Brand performs no physical alterations
Measures farm oversight. Farmer owned brands, or daily visits by management required for maximum points.
Farm Support
90Internal Flock Advisors visit farms weekly to confirm organic certification practices and monitor the flocks for health, growth, etc
Non-scoring, category provided for information only.
Slaughter Method (non-scoring)
Pioneered Slow Induction Anesthesia (SIA). Chickens are rendered unconscious over the course of six to seven minutes in the safety of the drawers they are transported in from the farm
Non-scoring, category provided for information only.
Soy Free Ration? (non-scoring)
Maximum transparency, sharing of the organic systems plan, and/or novel practices that sets the brand apart from the rest of the industry can result in extra credit points.
Extra Credit