Small Flock Information for County Extension Personnel
Few county extension personnel have degrees in poultry science or extensive
experience with poultry. Yet, on a fairly regular basis county extension agents
must answer questions about poultry production. More often than not, agents are
dealing with a situations involving death or severe illness of the birds
involved, but extension poultry specialists are not always in the office to
address these situations. While there are many good poultry publications posted
on-line, it is confusing and time consuming to find the information needed.
In view of this situation, the links below have been organized to assist
county agents in addressing client questions. The information is organized into
the eleven categories described below. We hope that this information will assist
county agents in dealing with poultry issues.
Frank T. Jones
Associate Center Director for Extension
General Small Flock
Commercial Poultry Breeders with Birds or Hatching Eggs for Sale •
Poultry Housing and
Incubation and Hatching
Poultry Feeds and
Small Poultry Flock
• Poultry Problems and
Parasites • Home
Processing of Poultry • Avoiding
Avian Advice (An Arkansas newsletter published quarterly aimed at
commercial poultry production personnel)
Poultry Glossary (The meaning of
Market News Glossary of Terms (USDA Agricultural Marketing Service)
- General terms used in market reports
Glossary of terms used in incubation and embryology projects (University of
Illinois Extension Service)
Diagram of a Male and Female Chicken
Diagram of a Male and Female Turkey
Diagram of a Poultry Digestive Tract
General Poultry Information for
Small Flocks (Comprehensive guides to small poultry flocks)
FeatherSite - The Poultry Page - An on-line zoological garden of
domestic poultry, including photos, video and information about various
breeds of fowl, such as chickens, ducks, geese, guinea fowl, peafowl,
pigeons, and turkeys. Various wildfowl are also included.
Small Poultry Flocks (Texas A&M) - This publication is designed to
assist those individuals who wish to maintain a small poultry flock either
for producing eggs or meat or as a hobby. General management principles are
discussed and suggestions are made on housing facilities, equipment, and
methods of starting the home flock.
Raising Fowl And Small Animals In Urban Areas (Virginia Cooperative
Extension Service) - Raising hobby fowl like pigeons, cage birds,
ornamental fowl and small laying flocks is an increasingly popular pastime
for urban residents. While at the same time, city limits and subdivisions
seem to advance further into the rural countryside.
Small Poultry Flocks (North Carolina State University) - Raising poultry
as a small backyard project has gained popularity in recent years. High
quality food products can be produced from this type of flock. In addition,
youngsters can learn to care for animals and experience the enjoyment of
keeping animals as a hobby. But before investing time and money in such an
enterprise you should consider the economics, practicality, and technical
aspects of the venture. It is the objective of this Poultry Science and
Technology Guide to provide the information needed to properly care for a
small chicken flock.
Poultry for the Smaller Producer (Oklahoma State University)
- Although the major supply of eggs and poultry meat in the U.S. is produced
by commercial producers, many people prefer to produce their own. A variety
of reasons can be given for home production, not the least of which is the
desire to care for and be around growing animals.
How to Keep a Small Poultry Flock
The Home Flock
Raising Your Home Chicken Flock
Commercial Poultry Breeders with Birds or Hatching Eggs for Sale
Stromberg's Chicks & Gamebirds Unlimited, Pine River, Mn
Murray McMurray Hatchery, Webster City, Iowa
Poultry, Cameron, Texas
Poultry Housing and Accessories
Small Scale Poultry Housing (Virginia Cooperative Extension Service) -
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. Designs of a few small poultry structures.
Small Chicken House
- Design for 8 foot by 8 foot house
Resource Guide for Owners of Small Poultry Flocks (Kansas State University)
- The following list of hatcheries and supply stores may not be all inclusive,
but should be a good starting point for persons interested in producing
poultry and gamebirds on a small scale. This resource guide has been made
available to assist small flock owners with locating sources of chicks,
waterfowl, gamebirds, peafowl, pigeons and places to purchase equipment
supplies from Kansas producers and others.
Incubation and Hatching Eggs
Candling Eggs (University of Illinois) - Eggs are candled to determine
the condition of the air cell, yolk, and white. Candling detects bloody
whites, blood spots, or meat spots, and enables observation of germ
development. Candling is done in a darkened room with the egg held before a
light. The light penetrates the egg and makes it possible to observe the
inside of the egg.
Incubating Eggs (Virginia Cooperative Extension Service)
- Many domestic bird owners incubate eggs to help sustain their flock
over time. This fact sheet is designed to assist those who wish to incubate
small numbers of domestic poultry eggs.
Small Flock Series: Incubation of Poultry (University of Missouri)
Hatching eggs - watching an egg turn into a baby chick - is a
learning experience for students of all ages as well as a practical way for
you to start a small poultry flock. This publication focuses on care of
incubating chicken eggs.
(Oklahoma State University)
Understanding the Avian Embryo and Incubation (Mississippi State University)
- Small incubators, suitable for use in the home, can be purchased from
stores that sell farm equipment. An egg incubator can be built at home with
a little work and expense. This publication contains plans for two still-air
Care of Hatching Eggs (Mississippi State University) - Novice poultry
producers usually become interested in artificial incubation of their own
chicks. The success of this type project depends on proper care and
incubation of the hatching eggs so healthy, vigorus chicks are produced. The
topics discussed in this publication will help improve the producer's
Contamination of Hatching Eggs (North Carolina State University)
- Bacteria and mold which can affect hatching eggs are found everywhere in
the environment--in soil, in manure, and even on the dust particles in the
Basics of Incubation for the Home Flock
Poultry Feeds and Nutrition
Nutrition for the Backyard Flock (West Virginia University) -
For a backyard flock to be successful, one necessary thing to
provide, aside from good management, is the proper nutrition.
Water for Poultry
Poultry Flock Nutrition
Poultry Diets for Small Flocks
Nutrition for the Backyard Flock
How to feed your laying and breeding hens
Feeding Chickens (Mississippi State University)
Feeding Quail (Mississippi State University)
Feeding Ducks (North Carolina State University)
Small Poultry Flock Management
(Requirements, care and raising)
Management Guide for the Backyard Flock (University of Georgia Cooperative
Extension Service) - This booklet has been prepared for those desiring
to raise a small flock of chickens (50 or less) for meat as well as eggs for
hatching or eating.
Management of the Small Flock of Chickens (Kansas State University)
- A small “backyard” flock of chickens can provide your family with a
source of high quality food, possibly some added income, and can serve as an
excellent learning experience for children.
Small Flock Series: Managing a Family Chicken Flock (University of Missouri)
- Maintaining a small poultry flock can be rewarding and will provide
an opportunity for various family members to participate in animal care.
Chickens are best maintained as a flock and are well suited for such
Raising Ducks (University of Minnesota Extension Service) - About 22
million ducks are raised annually in the United States. Most are produced
under confinement on specialized duck farms in a few commercially important
duck production areas. However, many farms still raise a few ducks primarily
for family use or local sale. This publication is intended for the latter
Raising Ducks in Small Flocks (University of California Cooperative
Extension Service) - In California, ducks are raised to gain a source of
food, a family learning experience, insect control, or interest and beauty
in yards. There are numerous breeds and varieties, and stock can be obtained
by purchasing hatching eggs, ducklings, or adult birds from hatcheries,
retail sales outlets, or breeders.
Game Birds (Pheasant, Chukar Partridge and Quail)
Raising Game Birds (University of California)
- There are many reasons for participating in game bird farming. It can be
an enjoyable hobby, a way to fulfill a 4-H project requirement, a means of
establishing or increasing local game bird populations, or a business
Partridge Production (Pennsylvania State University) - Partridge
producers typically raise one of two distinct species, the chukar or the
Pheasants (Pennsylvania State University)
- Pheasants, originally from Asia, are very popular game birds in the United
States. They are gallinaceous birds, relatives of grouse, wile and domestic
turkey, quail, partridges, and chickens.
Raising Chuckar Partridges (University of California - Davis) - Raising
red-legged partridge, commonly referred to as the "chukar" can be an
enjoyable hobby, or if properly managed, a profitable business.
Bobwhite Quail Production (Pennsylvania State University)
- Bobwhite quail are game birds indigenous to the United States. Their
distinctive call, color, and flight patterns make them popular with hunters
and wildlife enthusiasts. More than 250,000 birds are produced in the United
Game bird Management Topics (Mississippi State University)
- Various guides for the game bird producer, shooting preserve operator
and wildlife manager to aid in the propagation and well being of all types
of game birds, especially Bobwhite Quail.
Breeds of Geese
(Oklahoma State University)
Raising Geese (University of Minnesota)
Management Requirements for Laying Flocks (Virginia Cooperative Extension
Lighting programs for table egg layers
The Home Broiler Flock (Texas A&M University)
- 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 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.
Peafowl Do’s and Don’ts
Marketing your peafowl
Ratites (Ostriches, Emu and Rheas)
Raising Ratites (Oregon State University)
Ratite Nutrition and Feeding (Virginia Cooperative Extension Service)
Management Requirements For Waterfowl (Virginia Cooperative Extension
Service) - The breed of waterfowl you raise depends on your reason for
raising them. First, which is best to raise--ducks or geese?
Raising Waterfowl (University of Wisconsin - Extension) - Ducks and
Geese are popular meat animals.
Brooding and Rearing Ducklings and Goslings (University of Missouri -
Understanding and Control of Diseases of Poultry
Diseases of Poultry (Mississippi State University) - The diseases
included here are only the more commonly encountered diseases of poultry,
game birds and waterfowl. The discussion of each disease includes a summary
of causative agents, symptoms, lesions and treatments.
Common Poultry Diseases in Small Farm Flocks in Oklahoma (Oklahoma State
University) - 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.
Common Poultry Diseases (University of Florida)
Avian Disease Fact Sheet (Virginia Cooperative Extension)
Diseases Transmissible to Humans
Less Common External Parasites in Poultry
Parasitic Diseases (Internal and External)
Poultry Diseases and Medications for Small Flocks
Vaccination of Small Poultry Flocks (University of Florida) -
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.
Poultry Problems and Parasites
Cannibalism and other problems
Cannibalism in the Small Poultry Flock (Kansas State University) -
Cannibalism is a problem that may occur at any age and among all breeds of
poultry. Cannibalistic birds cause injury to another bird by picking at each
other’s feathers, toes, etc. Birds have a natural tendency to imitate each
other. Therefore, this behavior greatly influences the rate at which
cannibalism spreads through a flock. If cannibalism is not closely
monitored, the resulting losses to the flock due to flesh injuries and death
can be substantial.
Cannibalism: Prevention and Treatment (Virginia Cooperative Extension
Service) - Cannibalism in fowl is a costly and vicious habit that
poultry producers can not afford to ignore. It may occur at any age among
all breeds, strains and sexes of fowl.
Causing Poor Pigmentation of Brown-Shelled Eggs
Why have my hens stopped laying? (Virginia (Virginia Cooperative Extension
Service) - 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.
of Egg Eating (Virginia Cooperative Extension Service) - Egg
eating by hens is a habit formed over time which is extremely difficult, if
not impossible, to break. It is important you plan and manage your
facilities so that the hen never gets the first taste of a broken egg.
Common Continuous External Parasites of Poultry (University of Florida)
- Continuous external parasites spend all of their adult life on the host,
in contrast to temporary parasites which feed on the host but don't live on
Common External Parasites in Poultry: Lice and Mites (Ohio State University
Poultry Pest Management (Texas A&M University)
Intestinal Parasites in Backyard Chicken Flocks (University of Florida)
- Intestinal parasites (worms) are very common in chickens in the backyard
type poultry flocks.
Addressing the Consequences of Predator Damage to Livestock and Poultry
Prevention of Predator Damage in Poultry Flocks (Alberta Canada) - This
publication is designed to help poultry producers reduce or prevent
predation by improving or extending care and management of their flocks.
Predators: Thieves in the Night (Oklahoma State University)
- Poultry producers should be aware of the possibility of losses to
predators. Owners of small flocks usually have more difficulty with
predators than those with large flocks, primarily due to differences in
Home Processing of Poultry
Home Processing of Poultry (Oklahoma State University) - Processing is
the final step in the production of broiler chickens. The quality of the
final product is dependent on proper processing. Processing of chickens
involves the steps in the publication.
Processing Farm-Raised Poultry (Kansas State University)
- Home processing of poultry is not difficult and requires a minimum of
equipment. Much of the smaller equipment can be obtained from mail order
supply houses or local Coops and other stores. Raising a small flock of
Cornish Cross meat-type broilers is easy and only requires 6 to 8 weeks to
Avoiding Residues in Small Poultry Game Bird Flocks (Oregon State
University) - Residues in poultry are leftovers of compounds used in the
production of birds to reduce or eliminate disease organism or parasites.