Tag: poultry

Get the most out of raising backyard chickens with these tips

Get the most out of raising backyard chickens with these tips

The following information is provided by Nationwide®, the #1 farm and ranch insurer in the U.S.*

Move over cats and dogs; small chicken flocks are rapidly taking over urban, suburban and rural backyards around the country. Raising backyard chickens is becoming more popular for multiple reasons, including as a way to save a few dollars on your family’s grocery bill and provide fun family learning opportunities.

But raising backyard chickens for egg or meat production is more than just a hobby. Every breed has its strengths and weaknesses. Housing, sanitation and protection from predators are all important to consider in how you build your flock. And make sure you’re managing the risks and liabilities raising chickens can create especially if you’re selling to neighbors.

“Spend time educating yourself about all facets of the species,” according to Nationwide Agribusiness Sales Development Specialist Mekenze Cortum. “Don’t forget to consider safety as well as the educational opportunities for kids and teens in learning to care for the animals.”

What to think about when adding a backyard chicken flock If you’re considering raising chickens in a small flock as a hobby or way to diversify existing smallscale ag production, here are the things you should think about.

  1. Check local ordinances/regulations. Many cities and towns regulate backyard flocks. Check with local officials to see if there are any limitations. For example, some cities may limit the total number allowed, or allow unlimited laying hens but not permit roosters.
  2. Find the right breeds. There’s a variety of chicken breeds with a range of traits. Rhode Island red and Ameraucana chickens, for example, are hardy, do well in small flocks and have easy dispositions. Orpington birds are better suited to cool or cold climates.
  3. Keep your birds housed. Native predators and severe weather can endanger a backyard chicken flock. Provide the right housing to minimize these risks. With many options, make sure the coop design you choose provides three to five square feet of space for each bird.
  4. Limit your flock’s exposure to other birds. Like other birds, chickens are susceptible to transmissible diseases like Avian Influenza and coccidiosis. The less you expose your chickens to other native birds, the lower the chances they’ll contract one of a few common diseases.
  5. Keep it clean. Good sanitation and safehandling practices are musts for any backyard flock. This minimizes the risk of disease infection as well as any foodborne illness like salmonella that can be passed to humans when consuming infected eggs or meat.
  6. Be careful with electrical and fire safety. Laying hens need regular light and consistent warmth
    to produce eggs at their full potential. That means many chicken coops include heaters and lights. Keep heat lamps free of debris and inspect them and other electrical components often to prevent fire risk.

Make sure you’re covered

Raising backyard chickens can be a rewarding experience, whether in rural, suburban or urban setting.
Make sure you’re covered so small risks don’t become big ones, whether through a homeowner’s or
farm insurance policy.
“It’s important for folks to consult with their insurance agent regarding potential liability concerns and coverage considerations for raising backyard chickens,” Cortum said.

Visit AgInsightCenter.com for more resources and expert tips on trending topics to help you run a successful business and maintain the safety of your operation.

*A.M. Best Market Share Report 2021.

Nationwide, the Nationwide N and Eagle, and Nationwide is on your side are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. © 2022 NationwideWhen harvested at a higher moisture level, a forage crop sometimes stays damp and res

pires well after
baling. That continued respiration in the presence of oxygen after it’s baled creates conditions that can
cause bales to spontaneously combust. Wet hay that continues to respire can generate heat and
eventually spontaneously combust.

After hay is baled and stored at higher moisture levels, the fire risk from spontaneous combustion is
greatest in the first two to six weeks. And that risk continues if hay bales are stored where moisture can
linger, like a barn with a leaky roof or highhumidity area.

Hay placed in storage should have a moisture content under 25%, according to a report from the
Pennsylvania State University Agriculture and Biological Engineering Department. Higher levels of
moisture require an oxygen limiting storage system. The heat generated by the crop plus the presence
of oxygen increases the risk of a fi


Maryland Farm Bureau Comments on Poultry Transparency
USDA’s Proposed Rules within PSA Affect Poultry Growers

DAVIDSONVILLE, MD. (August 25, 2022) — As contract livestock farming opportunities have risen, Maryland Farm Bureau echoes the American Farm Bureau in seeking more transparency on what poultry growers can expect when contracting with a poultry integrator. MDFB submitted comments to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in light of its proposed rulemaking within the Packers and Stockyards Act on revising the list of disclosures and information that live poultry dealers must furnish to poultry growers upon making agreements.

“We appreciate the USDA’s efforts on increasing transparency in poultry contract farming,” said Wayne Stafford, MDFB president. “The Maryland Farm Bureau believes these revisions can help growers make the best decision for their farm’s resources.”

Published in the Federal Register on June 8, MDFB supports the proposed transparency rules such as financial disclosures and facility modification disclosures, and minimum stocking density in order for growers to make an informed decision before contracting with integrators. MDFB also supports the proposed rules for those involved in integrators’ tournament systems, which can give more business to farms who meet higher production and other goals. 

Poultry farmers need transparency on guaranteed flock numbers, past revenues of the integrator’s farmers – per facility capacity, and disclosure of recent litigation against the integrator.

Additionally, growers in the tournament system need disclosure including input distribution, privacy-protected rankings, and breeder/health, settlement, and regional information, which should be provided on the settlement sheet. Further, the integrators should provide reason for canceled flocks.

Some pitfalls that growers were not aware of ahead of time in the past were not only the requirement of facility modifications, but the expectation of purchasing certain brands of equipment when — sometimes seemingly arbitrary — modifications were required. This, and other lack of disclosure in contracts, led to great expense and disrupted production for the growers. 

In order for any adopted rules to stay relevant, MDFB recommends this to be an interim final rule, not a final rule, and encourage the Ag Marketing Service to be open-minded to other agencies within the Department for their successful livestock farming programs and data.

“The Maryland Farm Bureau appreciates the work the Department has done in crafting a proposal that will increase transparency within the highly integrated poultry industry. We submit these comments on behalf of our poultry growing-members and look forward to a continued dialogue with the Department on this issue,” said Stafford.

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MARYLAND FARM BUREAU®, INC. is a 501(c)(5) federation that serves as the united voice of Maryland farm families. Our organizational strength comes from the active participation of over 10,000 individual and family members who belong to the state’s 23 local county Farm Bureau organizations. Since 1915, Maryland Farm Bureau has been committed to protecting and growing agriculture and preserving rural life. Maryland Farm Bureau is a proud member of the American Farm Bureau® Federation. For more information, visit www.mdfarmbureau.com

Amber Pearson
Director of Media Relations, Maryland Farm Bureau, Inc.
573-268-6853  |  amber@TsnCommunications.com

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