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Alternative Poultry Production Graduate Student/Program Associate Program Specialist Small-Scale Poultry Training Apr. 27, 2006 Anne Fanatico.

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Presentation on theme: "Alternative Poultry Production Graduate Student/Program Associate Program Specialist Small-Scale Poultry Training Apr. 27, 2006 Anne Fanatico."— Presentation transcript:

1 Alternative Poultry Production Graduate Student/Program Associate Program Specialist Small-Scale Poultry Training Apr. 27, 2006 Anne Fanatico

2 Poultry Production Systems Conventional Layers – cages Broilers – litter

3 Alternative Poultry Production Systems Enriched cages Cage-free Aviaries

4 Outdoor access Allows birds to express natural behaviors (foraging, dustbathing). Can provide a healthy environment Ample space UV sunlight Fresh air “Extensive production” vs. “intensive production”

5 USDA definition for free-range poultry; not very specific “Free-range” permitted on labels after review process Producer submits description of production Livestock have free access to out-of-doors for at least 51% of their lives”

6 Example of Definitions: European Union Free-Range Finishing feed must at least 70% cereal (low protein) Minimum age at slaughter: chickens must be 56 days of age or older Maximum stocking density for indoor area: 13 chickens per 10.8 ft 2 (with a maximum of 59.5 lbs of total liveweight) 13 ft of pophole per 1076 ft 2 of house Outdoor area mainly covered by vegetation Birds must have outdoor access for at least half of their lifetime Maximum stocking density for outdoor area: 1 chicken per 10.8 ft 2 (4033 chickens/ac)

7 Traditional Free-Range Strains: only slow-growing Minimum age at slaughter: chickens must be at least 81 days Finishing feed must be at least 70% cereal Maximum stocking density for indoor area: 12 chickens per 10.8 ft 2 (with a maximum of 55 lbs of total liveweight) Maximum stocking density can be increased to 20 chickens if doors are left open at night 13 ft of pophole per 1076 ft 2 of house Flock size (house): House can’t have more than 4,800 chickens Flock size (site): 17,222 ft 2 of poultry houses at a single site (limits number of birds) Chickens must have outdoor access after 6 weeks Maximum stocking density for outdoor area: 21.6 ft 2 per chicken (2026 chickens per acre)

8 Free-Range Production Systems: Fixed House and Yard

9 Large-scale Automated house Subdivide yards In order to rotate Or rest pasture

10 Portable housing Moved frequently or infrequently

11 On wheels Eggmobile

12 Skids

13 Floor vs no floor

14 Use of portable electronet fencing

15 Houses moved frequently

16 Houses moved infrequently


18 Pasture pens Cons: Very labor-intensive to move pens daily by hand, provide little protection from the elements Pros: Flexible, low-cost, good for beginners

19 Portable shelter Pasture pens are moved daily



22 Floorless Shelter

23 Many different types and modifications


25 Integrated Poultry Production Poultry manure good for building soil fertility for gardens and pastures, organic fertilizer encourages earthworms Cattle parasite control Sheep manage sward for poultry Stagger species in paddock Graze simultaneously Cattle and goats may disturb poultry housing Exclusion feeding Complementary with vegetable production

26 “Chicken Tractor” Poultry raised with vegetable production for: fertility tillage weed control pest control

27 “Stack” enterprises: hoophouse overwinters rabbits and layers; grows early vegetables

28 Poultry and corn in vineyard

29 Urban Poultry

30 Eglu for the suburbs

31 Look back in history

32 Land Management Provide the same services outdoors as indoors Feed and water outside encourages birds to go outside

33 Provide shade and shelter Chickens do not like open range

34 Provide sufficient popholes so birds can find their way outside

35 Pasture management Poultry obtain limited nutrients from forage Keep forage short and vegetative

36 Forage is usually planned for the ruminants Diverse pasture needed Cool season: oats; warm-season: clover, alfalfa Legume forages increase omega-3 fatty acids in eggs and meat

37 Dryland provides little green forage but has other benefits of outdoor access

38 Rotate pastures every 2-3 months Mobile house is ideal If house is fixed, subdivide yard into at least 4 yards

39 Multiple yarding Source: Thear, 1997

40 Consequences of not rotating/resting: Turf damage Pathogens build up Excessive nutrients

41 Predator Control Ground predator control: Electronet fencing Humane traps Overhead predator control: Net covering Interfere with flight Long rectangle yards String Guardian dogs

42 Housing Housing protects chickens from rain, wind, sun, predators, Insulation reduces temperature extremes Many styles depending on Shelter vs. house Fixed vs. portable

43 Materials: Built of wood, sheet metal, poultry wire Concrete, brick Developing countries: Adobe, bamboo, thatch Roof: Rainproof: Tarps, sheet metal, shingles, wood Roof should have a large overhang to provide shade and prevent rain from getting in Insulated Power

44 Orient so birds are not exposed to direct sunlight Floor: dirt, gravel with wire mesh to keep out rats, concrete Raised floor: wood, slats Solid floor: use litter Make house easy to clean



47 Ventilation Usually natural because popholes open Makes use of air movement (hot air rises, cold air falls) Build roof high above floor to create differential Open side walls or curtains for cross ventilation Mechanical ventilation (fans) can help exhaust air out building more quickly Ventilation tricky in winter because producers keep house more tightly closed

48 Temperature If house is not heated, birds eat more in cold weather to stay warm Heat stress is more of a problem Should not be over 85 F in house, birds pant Use a thermometer to display recent high and low

49 Lighting Dark period is needed for good health Usually natural in alternative poultry production Usually bright Reduce intensity if aggression occurs Incandescent or fluorescent Artificial light important for managing layers Electrical, battery-powered, kerosene

50 Litter Litter dilutes manure Wood shavings, rice hulls Keep litter in good condition; wet litter causes many problems 30% moisture Clean out Litter provides nutrients for crops and forage Compost is good soil amendment

51 Alternative litter management Interest in composting litter to reduce volume and to provide a healthy, probiotic environment Requires more carbon

52 Air Quality Measure ammonia levels Paper strips Drag tubes Meter

53 Small-Scale Brooding Heat lamps Hovers

54 Standing, insulated Hover; electrical

55 Outdoor access during brooding

56 Warm litter before chicks arrive Put feed in pans Keep chicks at 90 F and with full light for first few days

57 Rodent Control Habitat reduction Physical exclusion from facilities and feed Trapping Predators Rodenticides/Baits Anticoagulents Vitamin D metabolites Single dose toxins Sulfur dioxide (smoke bombs) for underground control

58 Equipment: Waterers Simplest type of water Can inverted on a pan To keep litter dry, place waterer on wire-covered platform

59 Buckets can provide small reservoirs, but carrying buckets of water is labor-intensive; Serving mobile houses or pens is difficult

60 To reduce having to refill waterers often,use a large barrel connected to the waterer; gravity fed


62 Pipe in water Reduces labor



65 Types of waterers: Founts (not automatic) Float value Bowl Bell Nipple


67 Cleanliness Water sources Water quality Don’t let birds drink out of puddles Too cold Use bucket heaters or heating tape to prevent freezes Use all metal values for freezable systems; plastic splits Too hot Shade water Use a large reservoir

68 Feeders Troughs Put a spin bar on top to prevent roosting Enough feeder space should be provided so all birds can feed at one time

69 Troughs: Only put in a small amount of feed at a time to prevent wasting (feed several times a day)

70 Old style trough Height of ledge can be adjusted


72 Bin Feeders Store feed so no need to feed several times per day

73 Hanging feeder Adjust feeders to bird back level Feeder and waterer should be raised here

74 Range feeders

75 Bulk feeders

76 Automated systems Pan feeders

77 Perches Chickens like to roost at night Nestboxes Baskets, cardboard boxes, pots Dust-bath

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