eXtension Features Poultry Production Information for Small- to Medium-Sized Flocks

| 12/6/2012 1:39:00 PM

A new web resource on eXtension.org provides research-based, up-to-date information on poultry production for small- to medium-sized production and backyard flocks.

It may seem a new trend to raise chickens in the backyard or purchase locally-grown eggs and poultry, but chickens have been raised in this country for eggs and meat since the first English colonists came on the Mayflower in 1620. Egg production on a small scale is one of the oldest animal farming enterprises in recorded history.

In the 1980s and 1990s small-scale poultry and egg production made a comeback in the U.S. as some Americans wanted a direct connection to their food. Raising chickens in the backyard became popular as did small production flocks of 500 to 20,000 birds per year (the maximum annual meat chicken sales allowed without USDA inspection).

Raising poultry is popular in rural, suburban and urban areas throughout the United States. They are suitable for 4-H/classroom projects, backyard flocks as well as small- and medium-sized production flocks. Raising backyard chickens can be a rewarding experience and a great way to teach children about nature, agriculture and the responsibility of caring for animals.

Making informed decisions about management and keeping birds healthy are important whether you raise poultry for your own use, show birds at fairs or are raising a flock as a business.

The Small and Backyard Flock resource on eXtension.org has information on getting started as well as poultry anatomy, behavior, biology and management. The site includes more than 250 frequently asked questions and more than 350 terms in a glossary. And it’s not just chickens. There’s information on ducks, turkeys, geese and other poultry breeds.

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