Raising small-flock poultry

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 The Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AF) website’s Small Flock Poultry page contains useful resources and information on husbandry practices, disease prevention tips and good management practices for backyard and urban chicken owners.
Small poultry flocks provide many benefits to those who keep them, but before you purchase any poultry, you need to understand the regulations in your own community, and the health and safety guidelines required for owning small-flock livestock.

Raising chickens in Alberta

This 10-module workbook, available on the AF website, is designed as a guide for small flock, backyard and urban chicken owners. Use this guide as a resource to help you raise your chickens. After you have completed the workbook, you will be able to:

• determine if regulations allow you to raise chickens in your area;

• meet the basic needs of your chickens including feed, water, light, ventilation and housing;

• identify diseases and inappropriate behaviours of chickens and how to prevent them;

• adjust your management of the flock to address Alberta’s extreme weather conditions;

• take steps to keep your flock safe from predators and disease (biosecurity); and,

• keep your family safe from disease that can come from live poultry and poultry products.

Keeping your flock, your food, and your family healthy

Did you know that even healthy birds, their eggs, and meat can all be sources of bacteria that can make you sick? With some basic hygiene and handling practices you and your family can care for your birds safely.

This online pamphlet contains tips and advice to help you care for your birds in the best way possible.

Egg handling and cleaning

Bacteria can be found in many places in a chicken coop: in the dirt, litter, nest boxes, or manure. Egg shells may seem solid, but they have microscopic openings called “pores” to allow gases and moisture to move through. Bacteria can also enter the egg through these pores and create a food safety hazard.

Proper handling of eggs is crucial to keep these pores clean. The use of proper egg handling and washing techniques can reduce the risk of unwanted bacteria, and promote food safety.

Check out the full list of resources for small flock poultry operators here.

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For more information about the content of this document, contact Eileen Kotowich.
This information published to the web on June 5, 2018.