We hope our website helps Maine poultry growers in their pursuits. Whether you view our links detailing accurate husbandry techniques, eliminating mites, or you are looking for upcoming educational opportunities, you will find something useful. We encourage you to browse the websites for other Cooperative Extensions across the country. Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, California and Virginia are just a few of the states that have quality websites with many fact sheets free to download. Penn State University and Cornell University are two excellent sources for poultry information. Please take some time to view our Resource page. Here you can view links to poultry topics. Remember that Maine's Cooperative Extension has many well-researched publications for your consumption.
Maine Poultry Growers Association
Provide strong and enlightened leadership to Maine poultry
growers and poultry fanciers
Enhance the rural living experience
Strengthen sustainable poultry production
Encourage environmental and animal care stewardship
Encourage the development and consolidation of specialty
markets through alternative methods of husbandry
The production of unique and wholesome products
To encourage youth to acquire positive life skills by raising and
caring for poultry for fun and profit.
Winter is on the way...are you ready?
Winter is a challenging time for those who overwinter their flocks, or can be "down time" for those who raise broilers. For egg producers, significant questions arise about housing, water sources, ventilation and light. This is a great time to go over a checklist:
1. Is your litter dry? Is it deep enough to keep the birds warm? Are nest boxes picked out daily and cleaned weekly?
2. Is there adequate ventilation? Remember that if you can smell ammonia, there is probably far too much present to be healthy for the birds. Avoid drafts, but be sure there is good air quality in the birds' housing.
3. Is there adequate space? On the floor, on the perches, number of nestboxes, at the feeder, at the waterer? All birds should be able to perch, eat or drink simultaneously. It helps to have extra space so "low-status" birds can avoid being pecked while eating. Extra nest boxes can reduce the chance of "floor" eggs.
4. Is your feed appropriate for the age/status of the birds you are feeding? Is it stored in a rodent-proof container? Is it dry, and in-date?
5. Do you have a vitamin supplement available to the birds? This can help with disease resistance.
6. Do you have grit/fine gravel available for the birds? The gizzard functions much better, and your birds will have better feed conversion with this natural substance.
7. Is there light available? Birds need at least a bit of natural light to allow vitamin uptake. Even a window will do. If you supply prolonged lighting, the birds can keep laying in the winter.
8. Do you have a resource for problem-solving? There are many useful resources: other producers (see the Maine Poultry Growers Association site), Extension, or even a poultry vet may be able to help. In Maine, we have a network of companion animal vets who are willing to see poultry cases. If you need help, our lab can help diagnose a problem, and even help connect you with a vet in your area.
For broiler producers, now is a good time to clean, disinfect and let your facility "rest" for at least a few weeks to allow natural decontamination to occur.
Extension periodically posts useful information for owners on a searchable site online (http://extensionpubs.umext.maine.edu/).
I hope you'll let us know if there is a problem with which we can assist. Calling your local Extension office can be of help with routine questions, and if there are health-related problems, we are here to assist you in finding a solution. Thank you (and have a Happy Thanksgiving!)
Anne Lichtenwalner DVM PhD
Cooperative Extension/Dept. of Animal and Vet. Sciences
Director: UMaine Animal Health Laboratory
5735 Hitchner Hall, Room 136
Univ. of Maine, Orono, ME 04469
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