Find out where to get information about everything you need to know to start raising chickens on a small to medium scale, and learn about poultry processing options too.
1) Introduction; 2) Where to go for Information; 3) Books and Articles; 4) Information on small scale poultry processing
1) Raising chickens is becoming more and more popular with small farmers, urban farmers, homesteaders, others. Many people are realizing that the difference between pasture raised chicken meat and eggs, and those from large confinement operations is similar to the difference between fresh seasonal heirloom tomatoes, and those picked green, ripened with ethanol, and shipped across the country.
Chickens can also be beneficial in diversified farming operations by helping to control pests, providing an alternative, year-round source of income, and producing high-nitrogen manure for fertilizer.
Interest in raising chickens has grown quickly in the last few years, accompanied by a resurgent interest in heritage breeds, pastured poultry, and on-farm processing.
Here I try to offer a broad range of resources, applicable to small-mid sized farmers and hobbyists alike. Below I provide links to websites, magazines, articles, and books about raising chickens and other types of poultry, and information about small scale poultry processing.
2) Where to Go for Information to Start Raising Chickens
- Chickens 101 – offers basic information about raising chickens, starting with eggs, coop plans, chicken breeds, and more.
- Chicken Breeds List doesn’t just list breeds, as their name might suggest. They also provide great information and articles on chicken care, breeding, and much more.
- Raising Poultry – an information packed site that provides a broad range of information and resources regarding all aspects of raising poultry. A great place to start.
- BackYardChickens.Com – is a terrific, comprehensive site focused on raising chickens on a small scale. They feature a learning center, links to great forums and message boards, coop designs, breed information, and a great photo gallery.
- Poultry One – offers articles and guides for getting started in raising chickens, and other poultry. The provide great information for the beginner, with lots of information and resources.
- The City Chicken – “a web site to encourage city folks to take the plunge into poultry!” Articles, Laws, Brooding Chicks, Pictures…
- Backyard Poultry – “A magazine dedicated to more and better small flock poultry.” The also have an excellent website with great information, resources, and links.
- Chicken Crossing Forum – A very active forum with great information and answers. The site also has links, photos, a coop gallery, and a store.
- Backyard Egg – “[Their] goal is to collect information related to raising a backyard poultry flock, providing Backyard Egg Lovers everywhere with simple and straightfoward information concerning their pets!”
- Chickens on Camera is a fun website with lots of great information on raising chickens and farm web cams of chickens in ‘action’.
3) BOOKS and ARTICLES on how to Start Raising Chickens
- Raising Poultry on Pasture: Ten Years of Success from the American Pastured Poultry Producers Association has over 130 illustrated articles. It’s divided into fourteen chapters and is fully indexed for ease of reference. The enormous range of viewpoints and techniques, not to mention the APPPA spirit of starry-eyed pragmatism, make this book unlike any other.
- A Guide to Raising Chickens: Care, Feeding, Facilities by Gail Damerow is a useful guide.from the American Pastured Poultry Producers Association has over 130 illustrated articles. It’s divided into fourteen chapters and is fully indexed for ease of reference. The enormous range of viewpoints and techniques, not to mention the APPPA spirit of starry-eyed pragmatism, make this book unlike any other.
- Humane and Healthy Poultry Production is a manual for Organic farmers published by NOFA, written by Karma Glos. A small book, but packed with information.
- Pastured Poultry At Joel Salatin’s Polyface Farm – Weston Price Article.
- Small-Scale Poultry Keeping: A Guide to Free Range Poultry Production – by Ray Feltwell – Publication Date: October, 1992
- Raising Chickens For Dummies: by Kimberly Willis & Rob Ludlow – Publication Date: 2009
- Living With Chickens: Everything You Need to Know to Raise Your own Backyard Flock – by Jay Rossier – Publication Date: March, 2004
- Pastured Poultry Profit$: Net $25,000 in 6 Months on 20 Acres – by Joel Salatin – Publication Date: July, 1996
- Storey’s Illustrated Guide to Poultry Breeds: Chickens, Ducks, Geese, Turkeys, Emus, Guinea Fowl, Ostriches, Partridges, Peafowl, Pheasants, Quails, and Swans – by Carol Ekairus
- Keep Chickens!: Tending Flocks in Cities, Suburbs, and other Small Spaces – by Barbara Kilarski
- The Chicken Health Handbook: by Gail Damerow
- Building Chicken Coops: by Gail Damerow
4) Start Raising Chickens – Small Scale Poultry Processing:
a) general information; b) mobile processing units; c) more info on specific mobile units; d) mobile unit videos
a) General Information on Small Scale Poultry Processing:
ATTRA: Small Scale Poultry Processing Information
Killing Chickens at Home: Would you do it?
b) List of Mobile Slaughter Processing Units Currently in Operation in the US from Cooperative Extension:
c) More Information on Specific Poultry Units:
Kentucky Ag. Extension Mobile Poultry Processing Unit
Vermont Mobile Poultry Processing Unit
New Entry Sustainable Farming Project (MA) Mobile Poultry Processing Unit
About Equipment for Mobile Poultry Processing Units
d) Mobile Processing Unit Videos from YouTube:
Mobile Poultry Processing Unit Video
NEFSI Mobile Poultry Processing Unit Video
Start raising chickens today!