Become an expert at raising and caring for chickens and poultry
The Caring for Chickens and Other Poultry Study Guide is a complete
learning guide for people who already own or are considering buying
their first flock! This short course is ideal at encouraging you to
become familiar with the scope of the industry in your area and at
testing your knowledge so you can feel confident handling the practical
issues of poultry care. Perhaps you work in a poultry or pet care
business and would like to formalise what you learn – you will receive a
digital Certificate of Completion at the end.
This short course covers 6 lessons that explores the history and origins
of chickens and other poultry, the overall nature of caring for
chickens, recognising breeds, the fundamentals of feeding and nutrition,
health care, general management of a flock and the industry services
and opportunities. It is designed to take around 20 hours to complete
from start to finish!
Like all of our animal and agricultural courses, this course is founded
on research from history, agriculture, science and business. A wealth
of information comes from academic writers who have years of knowledge
and experience working with animals including poultry.
At the end of each lesson, you will be given a short interactive test to
undertake, which will provide an indication of how your learning is
progressing. Upon completing the very last lesson, you will be offered a
more thorough automated test or examination. This final assessment can
be undertaken at a time that suits you. If you achieve an overall pass,
you will be able to obtain a "certificate of completion" with your name
and completion date on it.
This course covers the following lessons:
LESSON 1: SCOPE AND NATURE OF DOMESTICATED POULTRY
A brief history
- Keeping poultry – profit or pleasure
- Don’t buy sick birds
- How to help hatchings chicks
- How to revive ‘dead’ hatchlings
- Poultry products and uses
- Value adding to poultry products
- Concerns for human health
LESSON 2: BREEDS
- Categories of breeds
- Chicken (fowl) classification
LESSON 3: FOOD AND WATER
- Feeding for stages – starter, growth, maintenance
- Nutrition during reproduction
- Digestive system
- Nutrients from feed
- Water requirements
- Favourite treats
- Feeding fowls
- Feeding turkeys
- Feeding ducks
- Feeding geese
LESSON 4: HEALTH
- A definition of health
- First aid kit for poultry
- Administering medication by syringe
- Common poisonous household products
- General basic care
- Common diseases affecting poultry
LESSON 5: MANAGEMENT
- Housing and shelter
- Managing waste
- Environmental issues
- Regulations for keeping poultry
- Management procedures for breeding
- Meat production procedures
LESSON 6: THE POULTRY INDUSTRY
- Working in the poultry industry
- Farm management – egg, meat or breeder
LEARN TO KEEP POULTRY
- Commercially or as an amateur
- For profit, self sufficiency or as a hobby
There is a high demand for affordable food products with a high nutritional value. People want more protein-rich foods as well as with high vitamin content, and the nutritional value in eggs meets those expectations. Due to this high demand from today’s society, the egg production industry,
whether its small scale or large scale, is rapidly growing.
Egg producers may choose to do the entire process in their plant (“inline” production) or they may choose to process their eggs in one location and process them in another (“offline” production). It is important to take into account all types of operations that are involved when organising a commercial egg producing facility, as well as aspects such as location, financing, breed/breeding, type and size of housing, flock health knowledge (diet and sanitation) and the market to be targeted, among others. Due to a higher survival rate in intense conditions and to a better food conversion, factory farmers in today’s society prefer modern hybrids rather than pure poultry breeds.
Basic farm management generally involves the following processes:
- Controlling and maintaining all aspects of buildings and facilities onsite – these could be open to the public, closed to the public or both
- Controlling and managing all animal husbandry processes – feeding, health care, general care
- Understanding the needs of the poultry and tending to those through providing and maintaining adequate shelter and controlling the environment – e.g. guard dogs, fencing, undercover shelter, indoor, water systems and feed systems,Temperature control, ventilation, transportation
- Financial control of the farm processes
- Knowledge of pasture management and poisoning and rodent control (if applicable in free range systems)
- Managing business processes, risk factors, stock control and marketing and selling of produce
- Staff employment and personnel management
For egg production, the practice of killing day old male chicks by suffocation, crushing or mincing still takes place in many large scale poultry production businesses. The mass culling or slaughter of any animal, including poultry, should be undertaken in the most humane ways possible. We strongly oppose any action which inflicts any pain or distress on poultry, but for someone working in this industry this type of culling activity is a usual requirement of the role.
Commercial meat production is normally carried out by two parties – the processor provides the feed and veterinary care for the birds and the farmer provides the housing (shelter), water and electricity and care of the birds. The return for the farmer is paid as an agreed fee per bird.
Free-range eggs for consumption Commercial chicken eggs are graded according to quality. Guidelines were originally established by the Department of Agriculture in the USA. The grades for eggs are known as AA, A and B.
For AA and A grade eggs the quality and nutritional value are the same. The only visual difference is the thickness (or consistency) of the egg whites, the albumen. Grade AA eggs have a thicker white which generally holds up the yolk high and round. A Grade A egg will tend to have a softer white which allows for the egg to spread further.
B Grade Eggs generally have some minor defects. They may have blemished or irregular shells or they may contain blood spots. These eggs will often be used in the food industry for egg related products where the visual appearance of the egg of less relevant or important.
Grading may not be relevant to eggs from the home producer but knowing about the quality of egg production is important for you to make vital changes to the diet of your hens if necessary.
WHAT CAN YOU GET FROM THIS COURSE?
At the end of the course you will learn to:
- Control and maintain buildings and facilities
- Control and manage animal husbandry processes – feeding, health care, general care
- Understand the needs of the poultry and how to maintain an adequate shelter and controlled environment
- Farm processes
- Manage pasture and control diseases
- Farm management