Prospective, beginner or intermediate farmers interested in raising poultry flocks on pasture or free-range are invited to attend poultry workshops. The lessons will apply to both egg-laying hens and broilers. UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) and the Farmer Veteran Coalition are partnering to provide training for military veterans who are embarking on careers in farming, but all farmers are welcome to the workshops.
“California has the largest number of farmer veterans in the country, with over 1,000,” said Michael O’Gorman, executive director of Farmer Veteran Coalition, which supports military veterans with the resources they need to launch successful farm businesses. “Pastured poultry operations are a growing and profitable sector of California agriculture, and FVC is excited to partner with the University of California to provide trainings on this burgeoning field!”
Four-Day Workshop Offered in Davis in December
A four-day workshop covering several aspects of pasture-poultry production will be held Dec. 4-7, 2017, from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., at UC Davis. The poultry workshops will take a participatory learning approach, rotating between presentations, scenario discussions, Q & A sessions and hands-on demonstrations. During the demonstrations, beginning farmers will have a chance to perform health and welfare assessments of laying hens, on-site Salmonella enteritidis testing, egg candling and safe handling.
“In addition to the more traditional topics such as flock husbandry, biosecurity, food safety, nutrition or equipment needed, we will discuss records management, marketing options and using mobile apps to capture better data,” said Maurice Pitesky, UC Cooperative Extension poultry specialist in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, who is organizing the workshops.
Speakers and facilitators include experts from UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT), California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) and UC Cooperative Extension (UCCE).
Beginning farmers will gain insightful information on successfully raising poultry flocks on pasture, as well as practical expertise. In addition, there will be an opportunity to forge connections with other farmers and professionals in the field, and to learn more about the available resources and opportunities.
Each day will include 90 minutes of networking opportunities with other beginning farmers. The registration fee is $80 and includes lunch. Register here.
One-Day Workshops Planned for 2018
One-day workshops are being planned for Jan. 17, 2018, in San Diego, May 16 in Santa Rosa and Aug. 8 in Davis. More information will be available here.
Be a Citizen Scientist: Participate in the California Poultry Census
To better communicate with backyard poultry enthusiasts and to protect flocks from disease outbreaks, people who raise backyard poultry are encouraged to participate in a voluntary survey for the UCCE California Poultry Census. If there is an outbreak of the highly pathogenic avian influenza, for example, UCCE will notify participants by email and warn them to keep their birds indoors.
Editor’s Note: UC Agriculture and Natural Resources researchers and educators draw on local expertise to conduct agricultural, environmental, economic, youth development and nutrition research that helps California thrive. Learn more here. Need some background about California poultry? Read our Q&A with UC Davis/UC ANR poultry specialist Dr. Maurice Pitesky.