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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Mid-Atlantic Small Flock Poultry Expo Recap

On Saturday, February 4, over 400 poultry enthusiasts from seven states gathered at the Agriculture Center in Westminster, Maryland to learn more about raising poultry in their back yards. And what a buffet of information they were treated to from the University of Maryland Extension. Twenty-one seminars, presentations, and demonstrations provided over 125 cumulative hours of instruction. A farmer brought in his processing trailer to describe poultry harvesting. At mealtime people watched a 45 minute documentary video on Dale Johnson’s backyard broiler production. 4-H leaders organized 4-H displays and activities. The Fine Feathered Friends 4-H Poultry Club made over $1,700 from catering breakfast and lunch. They will use the money to fund national poultry trips for 4-H Youth. Vendors from three states plied their wares. The Maryland Poultry Fanciers Association signed on many new members. To top off the day, a big Maryland chicken roamed the rooms to keep everyone happy. In all, hundreds of questions were answered and hundreds of publications with useful information were distributed. It was an incredible day!
 Uncle Dale with two coworkers

 Dale discusses a pasture coop design with the vendor who builds and sells them.

 Dale teaches livestock economics at one of the seminars

 4-H poultry exhibit
Vendor building

 Hundreds of poultry enthusiasts attended the concurrent seminars

 Bad hair day


Michelle said...

I love the Polish chicken in the last shot. I used to have a few!

LindaG said...

Haha. Mike loves those frizzle chickens.

What a fantastic time. Thanks for sharing your experience with us. :)

Autumn said...

I have about 28 chickens of my own- I would love to attend an event like this!

Sunnybrook Farm said...

Did they have any solution to the high cost of feed other than butchering the flock? We are thinking of really cutting back on chickens this year.

Dale Johnson said...

A thick vegetative cover with a large diversity of plants in the pasture or backyard is the best alternative to high feed costs. When my layers were on good pasture last summer, their feed consumption dramatically decreased. On a farm where there are other species of livestock, pasturing the poultry behind the other livestock also decreases feed consumption as they go through the litter left behind the other livestock. This is very synergistic. Small backyard flocks can get substantial nutrition from table scraps and garden refuse. Broilers are another matter. Broilers can get some nutrition from the pasture but they naturally want to eat concentrates.