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Title Summary Date ID Author(s)
A Brighter Idea: Eggs! Sep 22, 2009 408-032
A Small-Scale Agriculture Alternative: Poultry

The low investment and small area required to raise a flock of domestic poultry makes this an ideal venture for the beginning small or part-time farmer. Domestic poultry can supplement family food supplies, and small specialized poultry producers can sell to several niche markets. For example, producers can consider selling organic meat and eggs, brown eggs, range-reared meat and eggs, live birds for ethnic markets, and birds for hobby, leisure, and purebred exhibition purposes. Most small specialty poultry enterprises raise chickens or waterfowl.

May 1, 2009 2902-1099
Addressing the Consequences of Predator Damage to Livestock and Poultry May 1, 2009 410-030
Ammonia Emissions and Animal Agriculture

Agricultural producers are under constant pressure to minimize the impact their management practices have on the environment. Although most environmental concerns related to animal agriculture have focused on water quality during the past two decades, air quality issues have become an increasing concern. Odors have been the main air quality concern related to agricultural animal production. However, ammonia emissions from livestock and poultry operations have recently received significant attention. New air quality standards that cover ammonia emissions in the United States were adopted in 1997. These regulations will have a significant impact on the future of animal production operations. The purpose of this publication is to provide an overview of ammonia production associated with animal agriculture and to explain why it is receiving greater attention from those concerned with environmental quality.

May 1, 2009 442-110
Avian Disease Fact Sheet


I. Disease: “Any deviation from normal state of health.”

  1. How diseases are spread:
    1. Through feed and water
    2. Bird to bird contact:
      1. Poultry and swap shows
      2. Carrier birds
      3. New stock
      4. Free flying birds
    1. Visitors or attendants
    2. Equipment, carrying cases, feed sacks, etc.
    3. Contaminated litter and soil
    4. Flies, mosquitoes and parasites
    5. Lack of nutrient
May 1, 2009 2902-1094
Beginning of Life Nov 9, 2009 408-029
Beginning of Life Record Book Nov 9, 2009 408-027
Brooding of Domestic Fowl

If you plan to raise baby chicks, waterfowl, or any other fowl, it is very important to realize that the baby fowl is totally dependent upon you to meet its needs.

Baby fowl need proper environment, proper nutrition and protection. This fact sheet will help you get your flock off to a good start.

May 1, 2009 2902-1087
Cannibalism: Prevention and Treatment

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.

May 1, 2009 2902-1095

Let’s have a Chick-N-Que! It’s fun; it’s easy; it’s good eating; and it’s so very economical. It suggests the tantalizing aroma of golden, crusted chicken lying lazily over pit and grill – the cheer of glowing coals and gay
chatter of family and friends pleasantly hungry – appetites sharpened by fresh air and bright sunshine – good
fellowship warmed outwardly by glowing coals and inwardly by the aroma of pungent sauce.

Sep 23, 2009 408-287
Composting Dead Poultry

An acceptable system of disposal for dead birds is essential to any well run poultry farm operation. Moreover, Virginia law requires that poultry producers have an approved means for disposing of dead birds. There are generally two categories of disposal problems: (1) Normal mortality, which is typically about 0.1 percent per day, but fluctuations up to 0.25 percent per day are not uncommon, and (2) Whole flock disposal.

May 1, 2009 442-037
Estimating the Value of Domestic Fowl

This fact sheet was developed to aid poultry owners determine fair indemnity values for birds in case of eradication or insurance claims. The indemnity values are based on the cost of producing and/or replacing the bird. Foregone or lost profits are not considered as part of the indemnity value. Regular markets for domestic fowl are for day-old, broiler-fryers, started pullets, breeders, spent hens and hobby/exhibition. There are no established markets or prices for domestic fowl at other stages of development.

May 1, 2009 2902-1093
Fertilizing Cool-Season Forages with Poultry Litter versus Commercial Fertilizer

The Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and some other regions produce more manure nutrients than local crops need. This manure has traditionally been applied to row crops and overapplication has led to soil-test phosphorus (P) being well above agronomic optimum in many cases. In 2008, it was estimated that nutrient-management regulations now require that approximately 85 percent of poultry litter be applied off poultry farms, as they do not have sufficient land to beneficially recycle their manure nutrients. There is a substantial area of nutrient-deficient forage production in the Shenandoah Valley that could benefit from this poultry litter. This publication summarizes two years of field research on fertilizing nutrient-deficient forages with poultry or commercial fertilizer. It also evaluates split versus single annual applications of nutrients and addresses a common misconception that poultry litter contains weed seeds.

Sep 16, 2009 418-142
Guidelines for In-House Composting Poultry Mortality as a Rapid Response to Avian Influenza

Composting is a biological heating process that results in the natural degradation of organic resources (such as poultry carcasses) by microorganisms. Composting has been successfully used throughout the United States for nearly two decades to control outbreaks of avian influenza. Composting can be effective with most bird types and poultry house designs.

Sep 24, 2015 CSES-142NP
Impact of Changing From Nitrogen- to Phosphorus-Based Manure Nutrient Management Plans

Animal manures are a good source of nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) for agricultural crops, but they have an imbalance in their N to P ratio, so that if they are applied to meet crop N needs, then P is overapplied. For many years, manures have been applied to meet crop N needs, which has resulted in some soils containing more P than crops require, leading to environmental concerns. Regulations have been developed to limit P losses from manures and soils high in P by moving manure nutrient management from an N basis to a P basis.

Sep 16, 2009 442-310
Incubating Eggs

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. The words "fertility" and "hatchability" are often used incorrectly by small producers. These terms are important and have very important meaning.

May 1, 2009 2902-1090
Land Application of Broiler and Turkey Litter for Farming Operations Without a DEQ Permit

Poultry litter (poultry manure and a bedding material such as sawdust, pine bark, or peanut hulls) is a good source of nutrients and organic matter for growing crops. Land application of poultry litter on farms has been the mainstay of effective and safe usage for years. Unfortunately, improper management of litter applications may cause nutrient enrichment and/or contamination of surface and ground water resources. The key to proper management is an understanding of the nutrients available in the litter, the nutrient requirements of the crops to be produced, and the potential for the litter and/or nutrients to reach surface or ground waters.

May 1, 2009 442-052
Leg and Foot Disorders in Domestic Fowl

Most leg and foot disorders in fowl can be prevented through proper nutrition and management. However, some problems can be genetic. In today's large meat chickens and turkeys the problems become very complex since the birds put on weight faster than they build their bone structure to support the weight. Since large meat birds and waterfowl are prone to leg and foot problems, let's consider the causes of these problems in fowl.

May 1, 2009 2902-1098
Management Requirements for Laying Flocks

Best Breeds To Raise: Commercial White Leghorn-type hybrids produce white shelled eggs and are the most economical converters to feed to eggs. Commercial production Reds or Sex-linked hybrids will produce large brown shelled eggs and are usually preferred for small family flocks. Production Reds or sex-linked hybrids also produce meaty carcasses as well as a good supply of eggs. The brown egg laying hybrids tend to be more docile than white egg layer hybrids. Pure bred poultry will lay eggs, but they are not as efficient.

May 1, 2009 2902-1085
Management Requirements for Meat Bird Flocks

Best Breeds To Raise: Meat-type crosses (Rock-Cornish) or commercial hybrid broilers are the most efficient birds available. Purebred poultry most commonly raised for meat are Cornish, Plymouth Rocks and White Jersey Giants. Purebreds are less efficient and take up to 14 weeks to develop a desirable carcass. When considering birds for meat production, select birds with light colored plumage. Dark feathered birds are less desirable because of their dark pin feathers left after slaughtering.

May 1, 2009 2902-1083
Management Requirements for Waterfowl

Best Breeds To Raise: The breed of waterfowl you raise depends on your reason for raising them. First, which is best to raise--ducks or geese? Ducks are small and require less space to raise. However, ducks require a grain supplement year round and are more prone to predators. Geese require twice as much space. However, geese do well on limited grain when they have plenty of area to graze and are seldom bothered by predators.

May 1, 2009 2902-1084
Manure Management and Environmental Stewardship Apr 1, 2010 442-309
Nutrient Management for Small Farms Oct 8, 2010 442-305
Poultry Yearly Plan and Record Book Nov 6, 2009 408-042
Poultry and Livestock Manure Storage: Management and Safety Nov 19, 2009 442-308
Poultry: Beginning of Life Nov 9, 2009 388-801
Prevention of Egg Eating

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.

May 1, 2009 2902-1096
Proper Handling of Eggs: From Hen to Consumption

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.

May 1, 2009 2902-1091
Raising Fowl and Small Animals in Urban Areas

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.

May 1, 2009 2902-1086
Ratite Nutrition and Feeding

There is limited quality research concerning the nutritional requirements of Ratites. However, some dependable guidelines have been established because of work completed in Australia and Africa. As in all diet formulations, a variety of high quality ingredients should be used to meet the nutrient recommendations of the Ratite. Using a wide variety of ingredients helps to decrease the effect of variations that are inherent in all ingredients.

May 1, 2009 2902-1089
Selection and Location of Poultry and Livestock Manure Storage

If you raise dairy cows, broilers, layers, turkeys, horses, beef cattle, sheep, goats, alpacas, or swine for income or a hobby, you will have to deal with the manure they produce. The amount of manure produced by the birds or animals you keep depends on their type, age, size, and diet.

Nov 19, 2009 442-307
Small Scale Poultry Housing

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 as long as you provide the following:

May 1, 2009 2902-1092
Storing and Handling Poultry Litter

In recent years, large concentrations of poultry on small parcels of land have made the manure disposal problem more critical. When nutrients from manure or commercial fertilizers exceed the ability of crops to utilize them, surface runoff and groundwater pollution problems develop. This fact sheet outlines management steps to take advantage of the fertilizer value of poultry litter while minimizing potential damage to Virginia’s water resources.

May 1, 2009 442-054
The Egg-citing Egg Nov 9, 2009 408-030
The Egg-citing Egg - Teacher/Leader Guide Nov 6, 2009 408-031
Transporting Poultry in a Humane Manner

During the summer and fall months, poultry owners are hauling poultry to fairs, markets and other gatherings. Unfortunately, very few people put much thought into how to best transport their fowl. As a result, birds don't show well, get sick or die in transit. These results can be avoided with a little planning and extra care. Consider the following factors before transporting fowl.

May 1, 2009 2902-1088
Troubleshooting Poultry Mortality Composters
Composting of poultry carcasses has become the method of choice for disposal of normal mortality losses on many Virginia poultry farms. Principles of dead poultry composters are presented in VCE Publication 442-037, available from your local VCE Office. There are several different versions of composters available, but they must all meet the following requirements:
  • Must be practically odorless.
  • Must operate at temperatures high enough to destroy pathogenic bacteria (150° F).
  • Must provide for complete decomposition of carcasses-only minimal amounts of feathers and bones remaining.
  • Must be adequately protected from flies so that larvae are not a problem.
  • Must keep out vermin, wild, or domesticated animals
  • Must reduce risk of disease spread
May 1, 2009 442-038
Why Have My Hens Stopped Laying?

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.

May 1, 2009 2902-1097