The effects of organic diets, with or without supplements of betaine, saponin, fructo-oligosaccharide and methionine, on the health, performance and gut flora of pullets were investigated. A comparison was also made between birds fed organic diets and those fed a non-organic diet. Day-old Lohmann Tradition pullets were reared in 24 groups of 64 chicks indoors until 11 weeks, and then in 48 groups of 24 to 27 chicks with access to range until 17 weeks of age. Groups of birds were fed one of eight diets, a conventional rearing diet with supplementary amino acids, an organic basal diet, organic basal plus methionine and organic basal supplemented with one of the test ingredients. At most stages of growth the birds fed the conventional diet and those fed the basal diet with methionine performed better than those that had no supplemental methionine. Other dietary treatments had no consistently significant effect on growth, the microbial populations within the gastro-intestinal tract of the birds or the number of parasite eggs excreted. After 5 weeks with access to range, the birds that were fed three out of five diets regarded as deficient in sulphur amino acids achieved similar weights (P > 0.05) to birds that received diets adequate in sulphur amino acids. Health and welfare of birds fed organic diets was not adversely affected; however, an investigation of birds housed in larger flocks and taken into the laying phase, when physical demands on birds are greatest, is required.