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 back yard 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).
The Small and Backyard Flock resource on eXtension 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.
Four Webinars for the Public
December 4 from 7 to 8 p.m. Eastern Time, Poultry break even calculator for small and backyard poultry flocks
January 15 from 7 to 8 p.m. Eastern Time, Winter care of small and backyard flocks
February 14 from 7 to 8 p.m. Eastern Time, So you want to raise turkeys
March 28 from 7 to 8 p.m. Eastern Time, Producing poultry meat on pastures
According to the 2007 Ag Census there are more than 143,000 farms with egg production flocks of less than 20,000 hens, up 49 percent from 2002 when the previous Ag census was completed. There were 125,195 farms with less than 50 hens, up 51 percent from 2002. There were also more than 2,500 farms selling replacement pullets, more than 10,000 farms selling less than 16,000 broilers, and more than 5,500 farms selling less than 2,000 turkeys each year.
The poultry resource area on eXtension is led by Jacquie Jacob, Poultry Extension Associate at the University of Kentucky; Anne Fanatico, Assistant Professor at Appalachian State University in North Carolina; Jesse Lyons, Poultry Extension Associate at the University of Missouri; and Brigid McCrea, Assistant Professor at Delaware State University. University researchers and educators from 18 states contributed and reviewed information for http://www.extension.org/poultry.