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Learn to raise your own chickens

Poultry production is a multi-billion dollar industry in Alabama, but a growing number of citizens in our area are becoming more interested in raising their own chickens for home egg and meat production.

Raising “backyard” poultry is a great experience for families, according to County Extension Coordinator Katernia Cole. It gives everyone the opportunity to learn exactly how food makes it to his or her plate. Additionally, kids in the family can learn lessons like responsibility and discipline as they go out to collect eggs or care for the chickens daily. All of these great opportunities come while raising food that can also feed your family.

Even if you live in a city or on a small piece of land, don’t let that stop you. Most cities in our area have ordinances that allow for some level of backyard poultry production, even if it is only for a handful of laying hens.

Chickens can be raised successfully and in a healthy way in a very small space, according to Cole. Each grown bird only needs about two square feet of space, so even a small flock of 10 birds can be raised in something as small as most dog kennels.

If backyard poultry production is something you would like to learn more about, the Alabama Cooperative Extension System is hosting a free workshop called “Backyard Poultry: 101” at the Upper Coastal Plains Research and Extension Center in Winfield, Ala. on March 5 at 6 p.m. Those interested will be able to learn all about the basics of meat and egg production. Everything from incubating the eggs and the care of baby chicks all the way to caring for your laying hens and raising birds for meat will be covered.

Please contact your local Extension office for more information on either program or to register. You can also contact Alex Tigue, the Regional Animal Science and Forages Agent, at 256-309-9496.

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