Found a good "Small Chicken Farming" link? Let Us Know!
Vicki, a viewer wrote to us with this link:
you checked out the "My Pet Chicken"
website? It includes a free e-book on the care of chickens and also sells
supplies, feed, hatching eggs, day-old chicks and young chickens."
Poultry House & Run: This chapter should be of interest to the keeper of poultry on a small scale, for even if the instructions given are not followed out quite as they stand, they may suggest modifications to suit the taste and means of the reader.
Choosing a Chicken Breed: Eggs, Meat, or Exhibition (Purdue University) There are many reasons for raising chickens. People raise chickens for eggs, meat, exhibition, and rare breed preservation, as well as for the enjoyment of raising, caring for, and watching their interesting behavior. Some people raise them to hear a rooster crow to symbolize past days on the farm. There is a wide array of chicken breeds. Choosing the right type of chicken can be difficult. The purpose of this publication is to help beginners determine which types of chickens are most suited to their needs.
Small Chicken House Small scale poultry coops seem to be built in almost every possible shape and size. Those building a new coop often ask for plans for the perfect chicken coop. However, few plans for small poultry houses are available. Many existing buildings can easily be adapted to accommodate poultry. Poultry housing can be as crude or elaborate as you wish to build. See HERE and HERE 2 also.
Growing Broilers (University of New Hampshire) To obtain the most economical amount of chicken meat, you need two things: (1) meat type broiler chicks and (2) broiler feed. Whether you order chicks through the mail or from a feed store, specify meat-type stock, such as Rock Cornish. Male chicks of this stock grow the fastest but both males and females make good broilers. Male chicks from table egg production types aren’t good for meat. Even if you could get them free, they aren’t worth it! See also: Broiler Management - The First 24 Hours (University of Florida) Broiler Performance from Cull Eggs (University of Florida) Broiler Production (University of Georgia) Broiler Production and Management (University of Georgia)
The Home Broiler Chicken Flock (University of Florida) Broilers are meat-type chickens. Sometimes they are called fryers or frying chicken. Commercial broilers are crossbreds, primarily involving White Cornish and White Plymouth Rock. Today's commercial broilers are marketed at 4-10 weeks of age, depending on the body weight desired. Broilers are used for products such as Cornish Hens (2.85 lb live weight at about 4 weeks of age), chicken for fast food restaurants (4.1 lb at about 6 weeks of age), chicken for grocery stores (6.0 lb at about 7.5 weeks of age), and deboned chicken for sandwiches, nuggets, etc. (6.5 lb at about 8.5 weeks of age). See also: The Home Broiler Flock (Texas A&M University)
Small Scale Poultry Housing The following are some designs of a few small poultry structures. However, remember, most existing structures can easily be adapted to accommodate a small poultry flock. Plans for 3 different structures accommodating 15 up to 80 hens.
A Small Hen House - explained by The Bantam Roost's Terry Towe. Because of the inquires being posted on bulletin boards requesting information on housing we have posted plans and a Bill of Material for the building that we built in 1980, and are still using.
Importance of Proper Blackout Housing (North Carolina State University) The major environmental cue for control of reproduction is day length. Reception of light for reproductive purposes by the pullet is not primarily through the eyes but rather by the light energy penetrating the skull, skin and feathers and then perceived by an organ within the brain.
Management of Hatching Eggs and Broiler Performance (University of Florida) Broiler performance in the field is dependent to a large extent on egg management practices. Quality management for each step of the broiler production chain involving formation of the egg, oviposition, egg handling, incubation, hatching, brooding, and broiler grow-out is essential and will affect profitability. The ultimate objective of any integration is producing high quality, healthy and vigorous chicks that have the potential to yield meat at the lowest cost per pound.
Management of Nipple Watering Systems for Broilers (University of Tennessee) Nipple watering systems for broilers have become very popular in recent years. This is mainly because these systems save labor by eliminating the chore of cleaning waterers. Although labor is greatly reduced with nipple watering systems, this does not mean that they require less management. In fact, nipple waterers demand more time, knowledge and effort to operate properly than do open systems. Problems caused by insufficient or improper management of nipple watering systems can have a serious impact on broiler performance.
Learning to Drive a Chicken Tractor - by Jim Satterfield and explains a movable pen.
Moveable Pen - plans for a mobile pen. The easiest pens to make and to move are made from plastic water pipe and 1" x 2" welded wire. They can be moved by one person and they tend to fit the lay of the land better than wood. During times of high winds they need to be anchored.
Production of Eggs and Home-Raised, Home-Butchered Broiler and Turkeys (Kansas State University) Home-raised, home processed poultry is becoming a popular alternative farm enterprise. The scale of operation may be small; only a dozen or twenty broilers raised in one’s back-yard for home consumption, or up to several thousand broilers.
How to tell a bad egg a friend of ours showed us that you could judge the freshness of an egg by placing it in water about an inch deeper than the egg is long. As an egg ages, the air cell expands. So, depending on how the egg lies in the water, you can tell whether the egg is fresh enough to eat on its own, or if it is old enough that, because of the taste, you should use it only for baking, or if it is best to just discard it.
Raising Meat-Type Chickens: From the Hatchery to the Freezer (Powerpoint) (University of Wisconsin)
The Small Flock for Poultry Meat (University of Minnesota) A well-planned and well-managed flock can be a good source of fresh poultry meat. Large scale commercial broiler production and merchandising techniques often result in market prices difficult to match with a backyard flock. Small flock owners should not plan to produce more birds than the family can use or market, either live or dressed, to friends and neighbors.
|PDF files (Adobe Acrobat)||Curing and Smoking Poultry||The Home Broiler Flock||The Small Laying Flock|
|Raising Guinea Fowl||Small Poultry Flocks||Pest Control on Poultry Farms||Processing Poultry at Home|
|Prepare Poultry Meat Safely||Broiler Chicken Deboning||Freezing Poultry for Home Use||Incubating and Hatching Eggs|
|Chicken Breeds and the Colors of Their Eggs||Biosecurity Guidelines in english and spanish||Poultry Facility Biosecurity||Pest Control|
|Poultry Pest Management||Dead Poultry Disposal||How to Produce Broilers and Roasters for Show||Nutrition and Feeding of Show Poultry|
"Commercial Chickens" Rather long article on one man’s experience raising chickens
commercially. While this may not be your intent, the insight provided may be
of use to smaller scale endeavors.
Contents of Chicken Egg (Mississippi State University) The avian egg, in all its complexity, is still a mystery. A highly complex reproductive cell, it is essentially a tiny center of life. Initial development of the embryo takes place in the blastoderm. The albumen surrounds the yolk and protects this potential life. It is an elastic, shock-absorbing semi-solid with a high water content. Together, the yolk and albumen are prepared to sustain life - the life of a growing embryo - for three weeks, in the case of the chicken. This entire mass is surrounded by two membranes and an external covering called the shell. See also: The Process of Egg Formation (Purdue University)
Proper Handling of Eggs: From Hen to Consumption (Virginia Tech) To insure egg quality in small flocks, egg producers must learn to properly handle the eggs they produce. This article will discuss how you can insure that your eggs will be of the highest quality and safe for consumption.
Why Have My Hens Stopped Laying? (Virginia Tech) A common question from small backyard laying flock owners is "Why have my hens stopped laying?" There are many factors which can cause hens to stop laying and in many cases there are multiple causes which add up to few or no eggs. The most common causes of decreased egg production include: decreasing day length, improper nutrition, disease, advancing age and stress.
Good Management Practices for Salmonella Risk Reduction in the Production of Table Eggs (University of Minnesota) Chickens have been found to be especially susceptible to salmonellosis from 1 to 14 days of age. Increased susceptibility also may recur when pullets are relocated to laying houses. Consequently, extra effort to reduce potential salmonella exposure and enhance bird vigor and resistance (optimal nutrition and husbandry) is highly advisable at these two critical ages.
Packing Eggs on the Farm for Direct Sales (Kansas State University) There are limited opportunities, particularly in the less populated areas of the state, for small flock owners to process and sell their eggs directly to consumers, institutions, restaurants or retailers. However, with a little marketing savvy, niche markets could be developed from which small egg producers could derive extra income. Also, large distributors are less interested in supplying eggs to small accounts such as in remote areas.
Avian Disease Fact Sheet (Virginia Tech) and Avian Diseases Transmissible to Humans (University of Florida)
Better Farming Series 13 - Keeping Chickens (FAO - INADES, 1977, 48 p.) This is an FAO manual intended for African farmers. As such, it is pretty simplistic, though surprisingly broad in scope. These make it an excellent starter manual, though experienced farmers/ranchers will probably get nothing out of it... See also: UNDERSTANDING POULTRY MEAT AND EGG PRODUCTION and Raising Chickens and Ducks
Chickens and Their Daily Needs by Chickman(external link) - Great article to read if you are thinking about starting a poultry flock.
Causes for Thin Egg Shells (Mississippi State University) Calcium is the primary mineral that makes up eggshells and when not supplied in the diet, the hen does not have the basic materials needed to make the shell. The problem is produced when whole grains or feeds deficient in minerals and vitamins make up the bulk of the laying hen diet.
Concepts of Eggshell Quality (University of Florida) Much information has been learned about eggshell quality during the past fifty years. During this period of time, the genetics of the chicken, diets, house design and management practices have changed dramatically. In the future it is very likely that additional changes will have to be made by the commercial egg industry. No matter what changes occur, the eggshell needs to be as strong as possible to maximize the number of eggs reaching market.
Causes for Hens Eating Their Eggs (Mississippi State University) The causes that incite hens to eat their eggs usually result because of poor husbandry or management practices. Chickens do not naturally eat their eggs. Once the management of the flock is restored to an acceptable state, the egg eating will stop.
Causes of Pecking and Cannibalism (Mississippi State University) Cannibalism is a prevalent problem in chicken and game bird flocks. It usually begins as simple pecking among the birds and escalates until it is out of control. There are many conditions that increase the likelihood that it will become a serious problem. The problem usually begins by innocent pecking during the establishment of a social order or by pulling of the feathers in certain cases.
Causes of Poor Feathering (Mississippi State University) The absence of feathers on birds can result from any of several causes and can be separated into two groups: 1) those birds that cannot grow feathers and 2) those birds that pull or break them off. Either situation can be reversed by correcting the problem's cause.
Culling Hens (Mississippi State University) Culling hens refers to the identification and removal of the non-laying or low producing hens from a laying flock. Unless the birds are diseased, they are suitable for marketing or home cooking. Removing the inferior birds reduces the cost of producing eggs, reduces the incidence of disease, and increases the available space for more productive hens. Hens eat feed whether or not they are laying. Removing the cull birds will make more feed and space for more productive birds.
"Poultry Science Virtual Library" I don’t know, folks, this is mostly links to other sites. Haven’t checked them out. Try some of the other articles first and use this link site as a last resort for boredom.
Farm Flock Poultry At one time most Minnesota farms had their own poultry flock. Now few farms have poultry on them, so small flock-owners find a ready market in their own area. You have to have suitable housing and be willing to process the birds for most of your customers. By waiting until the cold weather is over you minimize housing needs and reduce brooding costs. You usually won't be able to compete with the production costs of commercially grown poultry, but your farm poultry may bring a price that gives you a very satisfactory labor return.
Free-Range Hens and Small Flocks of Chickens Our farm is in Oregon's Coast Range, which has a mild climate that allows our free-range hens to maintain an outdoor lifestyle year-round, even during rare winter snow, as shown in the photo. We have a flock of about 500 chickens in our free-range egg operation, and around 1500 pastured broilers during the six-month broiler season. We also raise a batch of turkeys for Thanksgiving.
Introduction to keeping farmyard poultry This is the first in a 12-part series on the “Care of Farmyard Poultry”. The aim of the articles is to help you, the lifestyle farmer, obtain and manage a healthy backyard flock for eggs and meat. The articles also celebrate the fact there is sheer pleasure in having a little flock of contented and productive free-range poultry in your backyard. They contribute hugely to the lifestyle.
Common Poultry Diseases in Small Farm Flocks in Oklahoma Small farm flocks of poultry are common in Oklahoma. Disease control and prevention is essential in order to maintain a healthy, productive flock. This fact sheet discusses diseases diagnosed in poultry from small farm flocks.
Poultry Manure Management Planning Manure contains the nutrients needed by crops. Taking advantage of manure's nutrient value can reduce your fertilizer costs by about $50/acre. Many Indiana poultry operations generate large volumes of manure. For example, 30,000 layers produce 40 tons of manure a month or nearly 500 tons a year. Proper handling, storage, and application of manure from poultry operations protect Indiana's water resources and can increase profits of bird and crop enterprises. Managing these nutrients for maximum benefits and minimal environmental impact requires some planning.
Composting Poultry Carcasses Current methods for the disposal of poultry carcasses include hauling to a rendering plant, incineration, burial, or composting. Rendering plants are rapidly decreasing in number and of those that remain, many do not want to process poultry mortality. Unless proper equipment is used, incineration may cause air pollution. The fuel requirement for incineration is expensive also. Disposing of carcasses in the ground can result in water pollution. Composting therefore, appears to be the logical solution for many poultry operations.
Commercial Egg Production and Processing This publication is designed as an overview of typical layer management and commercial egg production in the United States. The first part of the publication contains text regarding an overview of the poultry industry, raising layers, hatching and placement, lighting and temperature, feeding, and egg collection. The second part of the publication is a powerpoint presentation depicting commercial egg production and processing.
Curing and Smoking Poultry Great info, horrible format
The Home Broiler Flock Many families are interested in producing their own broilers for home consumption. It may cost more to raise broilers than to buy them at the supermarket, but the recreation and satisfaction derived offset the slightly higher cost. In addition, manure and litter from the broiler enterprise can be used to fertilize the family garden and flower beds.
The Small Laying Flock Many families are interested in maintaining a small laying flock to produce their own eggs for home consumption. It may cost more to produce eggs at home than to buy them at the supermarket, but the recreation and satisfaction derived offset the slightly higher cost. In addition, manure from the enterprise can be used to fertilize the family garden and flower beds.
Small Poultry Flocks Pretty good info, really bad format. See also: Pest Control on Poultry Farms
Processing Poultry at Home see also: Prepare Poultry Meat Safely and Broiler Chicken Deboning and Freezing Poultry for Home Use
Vaccination of Small Poultry Flocks Vaccination is an effective means to prevent and/or reduce the adverse effects of specific diseases in poultry. Poultry refers to birds that people keep for their use, and generally includes chicken, turkey, duck, goose, quail, pheasant, pigeon, guinea fowl, pea fowl, ostrich, emu and rhea.
Small-Scale Poultry Production the Department of Animal Science of the University of Minnesota compiled this HUGE list of links that we see no need to duplicate here. Most of them seem to work.
Avian Influenza in Small Poultry Flocks Avian influenza is a disease caused by a virus; in fact, a large family of viruses. In birds the disease can be either mild, like a cold, or severe, resulting in death. The Asian H5N1 virus is a very bad member of this large family and because of this, it has been in the news. So much information has been presented, that people may be confused.
Global Poultry Industry is the Root of the Bird Flu Crisis While panic in the media and at government levels is focused on the threat from migratory birds and small-scale free-range poultry operations, the real reason for the development and spread of the disease has been quietly ignored.
21st Century Lives: Joel Salatin -- If you missed the pioneering grazier, pastured poultry producer, and relationship marketer on ABC News, you can read the text or view the video.
Mobile Poultry Processing Unit -- Trailer-mounted facility helps cut processing costs for small-scale poultry producers. Includes Photo Gallery of the unit in action.
Greenhouse Style Pasture Poultry Pen -- An interesting variation on the Salatin pen by Maine grazier Chris Bailey, featuring a picture and construction details. Part of dairyman F.W. Owen's highly recommended Owenlea Holsteins site.
Biosecurity and the Poultry Flock (University of Nebraska) Biosecurity for Backyard Flocks (West Virginia University) Biosecurity for Poultry (Ohio State University) Biosecurity for Poultry (University of Maryland) Biosecurity Guidelines (English and Spanish) (Texas A&M University) Poultry Facility Biosecurity (Texas A&M University)
Cleaning and Disinfection of Poultry Facilities (Ohio State University) General Characteristics of Disinfectants (Mississippi State University) Sanitation (West Virginia University) Sanitation: Cleaning and Disinfectants (Mississippi State University)
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