In descending order, by date published.
In a 4-H poultry judging contest participants are required to rank a group of four hens from the most to least productive. The criteria used in judging the hens are based on pigmentation, abdominal capacity, abdominal fat condition and molt.
The market poultry division now includes one class of ready-to-cook broiler carcasses to grade, one class of ready-to-cook roaster carcasses to grade, one class of parts identification, one class of parts grading, and one class of further processed boneless poultry products. Each class is worth 100 points, for a total of 500 possible points for the division. This factsheet specifically looks at the 24 possible parts that will be selected from for use in the contest. This is an increase from the 17 possible parts in previous years.
Judging contests are a tool used in the development of the life skills of 4-H members. Participation in judging and other competitive events helps 4-H'ers learn to make and defend decisions and to speak in public. Poultry judging also provides an excellent opportunity for 4-H'ers to learn about live chickens and the basis of grade and quality of eggs and poultry products.
The market poultry division now includes one class of ready-to-cook broiler carcasses to grade, one class of ready-to-cook roaster carcasses to grade, one class of parts identification, one class of parts grading, and one class of further processed boneless poultry products. Each class is worth 100 points, for a total of 500 possible points for the division. This factsheet looks at the new class of grading ready-to-cook parts.
It is important that you properly maintain the poultry facility so that you do not attract rodents, flies, or create an odor problem. These are the three main reasons that non-poultry enthusiasts give for not wanting backyard flocks in their communities and neighborhood.
Broodiness is the term used to describe a hen that is preparing to naturally incubate eggs and raise newly hatched chicks. When broodiness occurs in a hen certain behavioral changes may be evident. These changes include increasing the time spent in the nest, being overly protective of the eggs and nest, changes in the consumption of feed and water, and the stopping of egg production.
In 2021, major revisions were made to the market poultry division of the 4-H poultry judging contest. The market poultry division now includes one class each of ready-to-cook broiler carcasses to grade, ready-to-cook roaster carcasses to grade, parts identification, parts grading, and further processed boneless poultry products.
Boneless further processed poultry meat products are common in retail markets as precooked, poultry meat patties, tenders, nuggets, or other boneless products. This factsheet will cover the evaluation of further processed poultry products.
Keeping laying hens in the backyard is popular, but along with a daily supply of eggs, the hens also produce a large supply of manure. Fresh poultry manure has an unpleasant odor and will attract flies. Bedding material, such as pine shavings, is put down on the coop floor to help control odors and flies, but eventually the litter (manure and bedding material) needs to be replaced. While poultry manure can be an excellent fertilizer, it should not be used fresh. "Raw" manure can burn plants and may contain pathogens that could contaminate any plants being grown for consumption. Composting makes the manure safe to use as a fertilizer on any lawn or garden. Composting involves a process by which billions of beneficial soil organisms decompose the organic material. Simply piling up waste is not really composting. With the right proportions for materials, the process has minimal offensive odor and destroys most of the pathogens in the manure. Compost is both science and art.
The terms urban poultry and backyard poultry both refer to flocks kept on a residential lot. Keeping chickens in urban areas is becoming increasingly popular throughout the country. The main reasons given for keeping chickens are as pets and for egg production--pets with benefits. Small numbers of hens kept in the backyard can provide an urban family with entertainment, eggs, and fertilizer. For those with children, backyard poultry flocks can also teach them responsibility and be used for 4-H poultry projects.
Molting is a common event in the annual life cycle of most avian species. Each year chickens lose feathers and grow new ones, and this occurs in both wild and domestic birds. During molt, laying hens go out of egg production and feathers are replaced. Molting, regardless of what stimulates it, is more than just the replacement of the plumage. Hormonal and physiological changes occur as well.
There are several things to consider before starting an egg production operation. The most important is market availability. Before you start production you need to have a market that your production can supply, in terms of both quantity of product and the price you need to get in order to be profitable. You will need to make sure that local regulations allow for poultry production on the land available to you. Cash flow is also an important consideration. A flock will require a considerable investment before the hens start to lay eggs to produce an income. You also need to have a way to deal with the manure produced, and any dead birds. You also need to have a plan for the hens after they have finished laying (referred to as spent hens).
Poultry producers who raise their own replacement pullets have better control over the growth, condition, and development of the flock. The quality of the pullet flock will have a direct effect on the subsequent level of egg production. The two most important quality factors for a replacement flock are proper body weight and uniformity. Pullet weight at 6 weeks of age has been shown to influence subsequent egg production. Once the pullets start to lay, it is too late to solve problems from poor nutrition or management during the pullet rearing period.
Animals eat in order to get the energy and nutrients they need to live, grow and reproduce. Animals use energy to perform normal body functions such as breathing, walking, eating, digesting, and maintaining body temperature. Different types of nutrients provide energy as well as the building blocks needed for the development of bone, flesh, feathers, and eggs. These nutrients include: water, carbohydrates, fats, proteins, minerals, and vitamins. Each of these components is important and a deficit of even one can have serious health consequences for poultry.
It is easier to prevent disease than it is to treat an outbreak. A biosecurity plan is essential to an effective health management plan. "Bio" refers to life and "Security" is protection. A biosecurity program for a poultry farm is a series of common-sense activities designed to keep disease (bacterial, viral, parasitic) out of the poultry flock.
It is important that you comply with all the laws and regulations with regards to the marketing of eggs. Eggs are capable of carrying bacteria such as Salmonella enteritidis. As a result, eggs are considered a hazardous food and their sale is regulated. With regard to small-scale producers, if you sell more than 60 dozen eggs in any one week, you will require an egg handler's license. You will also need an egg handler's license if you sell to someone who sells eggs to someone else. This would include grocery stores, restaurants, or wholesalers. The same will hold true if you sell to a bakery, confectionary or ice-cream manufacturer.
Once you have decided you are going to go into egg production, you need to determine what breed of chicken will best suit your needs. A variety of different commercial breeds are available for use in small-scale commercial egg production operations. Most lay a brown-shelled egg, which is typically preferred by the people purchasing eggs produced in alterative production systems. Most of these commercial chickens are hybrids selected specifically for these systems.
There has been an increased interest in pasture-raising poultry for both meat and egg production in the last decade. Raising poultry on pasture was a common occurrence until the latter half of the 20th century. Fresh forage provided an important ration balancing factor during the years before poultry nutritionists fully understood the required essential vitamins and minerals for growth and optimum meat and egg production. With the development of balanced rations, poultry no longer require access to pasture and year-round production of meat and eggs is possible. However, there are still some benefits from the lush forage, invertebrates, and exercise that pasture provides. In addition, we continue to learn more and more about the positive influence that fresh grasses and legumes have on fatty acid profiles and general bird health. As a result, there is an increased interest in pasture-raised poultry for both meat and eggs.
Periodic examination of your flock is recommended so that infestations can be detected early and a larger flock outbreak contained. It is especially important to detect infestations early in food-producing poultry because there are restrictions on the treatments available.
Feed stores carry a variety of feed types. How do you chose which to buy? You need to read the feed tag. A lot of information is on a feed tag that can help you make your selection and this publication breaks it down for you.
Backyard chicken flocks are becoming popular throughout the country in urban, suburban and rural communities. Preparation is essential for a successful backyard flock. This publication will give you the information you need decide if producing your own eggs is right for you.
Regardless of the number of eggs produced, and whether the eggs are for home use or sale, careful egg handling is very important. This publication will give you the information and guidelines in the proper handling and transportation of eggs for sale.
Anyone raising poultry for eggs, whether for eating or for incubation, should have an understanding of the reproductive system. This will help them understand any problems that may occur and how to correct them.
All animals have a skeleton to allow them to stand up and to protect their internal organs and tissues. The avian skeletal system looks similar to those of their mammalian counterparts, but there are some important differences.
An understanding of the avian digestive system is essential to developing an effective and economical feeding program for your poultry flock. Knowledge of avian anatomy, and what the parts normally look like, will also help you to recognize when something is wrong and take the necessary actions to correct the problem.
If you raise poultry for meat, it is always a good idea to have an understanding of the muscular system of poultry so you can better understand any problems that may occur and how to correct them.
The avian male reproductive system is all inside the bird, unlike the males of mammalian species which have their reproductive systems outside of the body. This is one of the really remarkable things about birds; the sperm remain viable at body temperature.
Knowledge of avian anatomy and what the parts normally look like will help you to recognize when something is wrong and to take the necessary actions to correct the problem.
Size, behavior and egg production vary according to breed, and the right breed of goose for your flock will depend on what you intend to use them for. This publication will help you decide on the right breed for you.
Raising wild turkeys is illegal in some states, including Kentucky. The prohibition includes domestic strains of wild birds. The law is meant to protect native populations of wild turkeys. Learn more about selecting the right breed of turkey in this publication.
As with many domesticated species, ducks are selected for different purposes, primarily meat or egg production. They are also valued for their feathers and down. It is important to choose a breed of duck that best suits your particular needs.
Guinea fowl are rough, vigorous, hardy, and mostly disease-free game birds. They are increasing in popularity for a variety of reasons.
When processing poultry, remember that you are producing a perishable food product that will eventually be consumed by people. The goal is to produce a safe, nutritious product.
When investigating a problem with a poultry flock, the questions in this publication can help you determine the cause and possible solution.
Poultry eggs are part of a unique reproductive system. The egg serves to protect and provide nutrients to the developing embryo. Since the embryo receives no additional nutrients from the hen, the egg must contain all the nutrients essential for life. Nutrients are found in the yolk, the albumen, and the shell of the egg. The egg is a convenient, self-contained package for studying embryology.
Interest in pasture poultry production has been on the rise. This kind of poultry production typically involves housing the birds in a bottomless pen that is placed on pasture and moved at regular intervals. The flock has access to the pasture (plants and any associated insects) while providing them some protection from predators.
Many factors should be considered before selecting a chicken breed for your flock, whether you are planning to start a new flock or to add to an existing one. You might be looking for a meat breed, an egg breed, or perhaps a breed that performs reasonably well at both (referred to as a dual-purpose breed). Perhaps you just want a pet or chickens to show at exhibitions.
Before purchasing chicks (or chickens) it is important to consider the cost of keeping them. Much of this cost is in the feed they consume. So the key question is, "How much will my chickens eat?" Chickens need a complete feed that contains protein (with the right balance of amino acids), energy, vitamins, and minerals. Today we know more about the nutritional requirements of chickens than any other animal. The amount of feed they need will depend on several factors.
As more and more producers begin to have small- or medium-sized poultry operations the issue of liability and responsibility has become a concern. It is important producers are aware of what is expected of them by consumers and society as a whole.
Egg production in a chicken flock follows a typical curve. While the curve is similar for most breeds of chickens, the specific numbers can vary significantly, especially with regards to age at first egg, peak production rate, and egg weight.