Urban Agriculture Business Information Bundle
Poultry are one of the most popular choices for urban producers who want to raise livestock. Chickens and ducks can be a source of eggs, meat or both; turkeys and gamebirds are raised for meat.
None require a lot of space (see the National Farm Animal Care Council's Code of Practice for Chickens' Turkeys and Breeders from Hatchery to Processing Plant). However, the right nutrition is critical for proper growth and egg production. For details, see OMAFRA's Introduction to Poultry Nutrition.
If backyard poultry are permitted, be sure to follow good biosecurity practices to prevent the transmission of diseases like avian influenza. Poultry can be noisy, so if you have neighbours nearby, avoid roosters and opt for quieter species of birds. Odour and flies need to be addressed with proper manure management, while feed should be stored securely to avoid infestations of rats and mice.
Poultry are often a prey species for foxes, skunks, raccoons, cats, dogs and rats, so proper penning and housing will be required. If birds are to be kept over the winter, they will need a properly insulated building that will provide protection from the elements, enough heat to keep the birds comfortable and proper ventilation to remove the ammonia that will be generated by the manure. Visit these resources for information and check local building codes before building a poultry structure that has insulation and ventilation for our climate.
Building plans from Mississippi State Extension Service:
On-site disposal of poultry mortalities may be problematic in urban settings. For more information, see deadstock disposal.
Recommendations for Small Flock Poultry Owners
Backyard Poultry Magazine
Urban Farm Online's Chicken Keeping
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Managing a Small Duck Flock
OMAFRA's Gamebirds page
OMAFRA's Basic Husbandry for Turkeys
For more information:
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