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Monday, May 21, 2012

Backyard Flock Demonstration Part 1

Backyard poultry flocks are all the rage right now as people want to produce their own eggs and meat. In February, the University of Maryland organized the Mid-Atlantic Small Flock Poultry Expo. We expected 100-200 participants. Over 400 people showed up from 7 states. People are eager to learn about how to keep backyard poultry. So at the University of Maryland research farm, we are constructing demonstration facilities that people can visit and where we can conduct education programs. Below is a photograph of the complex. Our farm manager Dave Wyand, who stands in the middle, built these facilities for us.  At the right is a large layer coop that houses two free range layer flocks. It opens onto a large pasture at the rear where portable electric netting is used to optimize pasture grazing for the flocks. This demonstrates larger scale backyard production. At the left is portable pasture coop, a “chicken tractor” as some people call them. We can load it in a pickup and take to various education events to show people with small back yards how they can keep layers. In the next few days I will post more articles that describe these systems in more detail. I want to thank Dave Wyand for the work he put into building these facilities.