Start Raising Chickens

Find out where to get information about everything you need to know to raise 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.Frozen Chickens

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

  • 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.
  • The Country Chicken – is about the care and raising of backyard chickens. There is information about chicken coops, daily care, pictures of breeds, and an excellent links page.
  • 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.
  • Sustainable Poultry is a great site which includes all of ATTRA’s publications on poultry, as well as presentations, videos, databases, and other poultry information.
  • 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.
  • International Foul Breeders Association –  would “like to be the first place you think of when you need more birds! They offer memberships for FREE, which includes a breeder’s listing on their “breeders & hatcheries” page, a listing in their newsletter, and banner ad eligibility.
  • The City Chicken – “a web site to encourage city folks to take the plunge into poultry!” Articles, Laws, Brooding Chicks, Pictures…
  • The City Bity Poultry Pages have lots of pictures of small henhouses, simple yet detailed information about coop building and raising chickens, as well as web links and news items. A great site for beginners.
  • 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’.

Hatchery

3) BOOKS and ARTICLES

4) 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 – http://attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/poultryprocess.html

Northeast SARE Outreach and Training for Small Scale Poultry Processers: http://nesare.org/get/research-and-education-examples/outreach-training-and-education-for-small-scale-poultry-producers-using-a-mobile-poultry-processing.html

Article on Slaughtering Chickens: http://www.goodeater.org/2009/10/28/birds-in-hand-slaughtering-chickens-with-pete-jen/

Killing Chickens at Home: Would you do it?: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/08/25/killing-chickens-at-home_n_268663.html

b) List of Mobile Slaughter Processing Units Currently in Operation in the US from Cooperative Extension:

c) More Information on Specific Poultry Units:

About the Sierra Foothills (CA) Mobile Poultry Processing Unit: http://ceplacer.ucdavis.edu/files/46807.pdf

Kentucky Ag. Extension Mobile Poultry Processing Unit: http://www.extension.org/pages/Kentucky_Mobile_Poultry_Processing_Unit

Washington State Community Ag Development Center’s Mobile Poultry Processing Unit: http://www.communityagcenter.org/Poultry%20Unit.htm Pictures: http://www.communityagcenter.org/Poultry%20Unit_Pictures.htm

Article about Vermont Mobile Poultry Processing Unit: http://www.wcax.com/Global/story.asp?S=10704669

New Entry Sustainable Farming Project (MA) Mobile Poultry Processing Unit: http://nesfp.nutrition.tufts.edu/resources/mobilepoultry.html… Article About: http://www.ediblecommunities.com/boston/fall-2009/mobile-poultry-processing-unit-you-can-take-it-with-you.htm.

Small Scale Mobile Poultry Processing Unit in Eastern Mass: http://peteandjensbackyardbirds.com/Documents/EMassMPPU_dec172008.pdf

Article: Mobile Poultry Processing Unit Licensed in Montana: http://www.worldpoultry.net/news/us-mobile-poultry-processing-unit-licensed-id4140.html

About Equipment for Mobile Poultry Processing Units: http://www.fao.org/docrep/003/t0561e/T0561E06.htm

d) Mobile Processing Unit Videos from YouTube:

Mobile Poultry Processing Unit Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rTmD5ojqaE0

NEFSI Mobile Poultry Processing Unit Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnIwhX3KSII

Mobile Unit