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Poultry Production (BF 130)

Profiting from Layers, Broilers, Turkeys, and Ducks


Many new farmers get started with poultry, because it’s a relatively low-investment enterprise with a fairly quick turnaround time from investment to revenue. The margins can be slim though, and farmers need to develop the necessary skillset in order to produce a product that is both safe and profitable. This course will help you get started with all the basic information to build a successful poultry enterprise.

”As someone new to raising poultry, all the information was very eye opening. I can plan properly now that I have concrete information. I have a clearer idea of what is involved and I am still excited to try!” –Gregg D, Atlanta, GA


Target Audience

BEGINNER – The course is for aspiring and beginning farmers (individuals with limited or no experience with poultry rearing) seeking to learn about poultry production and the marketing, processing, and sales of poultry and poultry products in New York State. (NOTE: You do not have to be farming in NYS to benefit from the production-oriented information in this course). 


Course Objectives

At the completion of this course, you will:

  • Understand of the basics of poultry production from field to plate.
  • Have knowledge of breed selection, production systems, flock management practices, and cost of production.
  • Identify rules and regulation for sale of poultry products to various market outlets in New York State.



The bulk of the course happens on your own time, with discussions, readings, and assignments in MOODLE, our virtual classroom. To add to the experience, webinars will be woven into the online interface of the course to allow you to meet on a weekly basis to learn from outside presenters, ask questions, and collaborate with other participants and the instructor to address your farm issues in real time. If you miss one, they are always recorded and posted for later viewing. Access details will be posted in MOODLE once you have registered and logged in. 



September 29 – November 3, 2016, with webinars each Thursday evening from 7:00-8:30pm Eastern time.



Lynn Bliven, Extension Educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Allegany County, NY


Course Outline

Week 1: Introduction to poultry production 
Topics covered: Navigating in Moodle (our online classroom), course expectations, student introductions, introduction to poultry production, breed selection, basics of chick rearing, housing and equipment.

Week 2: Understanding cost of production and regulations for poultry products 
Topics covered: Developing enterprise budgets for meat and/or layer production based on potential markets.

Week 3: Processing and food safety concerns for meat & egg producers 
Topics covered: Navigating regulations; food borne illness and disease; meat and egg quality; on-farm processing; producer’s role in consumer education; certification programs.

Week 4: Poultry nutrition  
Topics covered: fowl digestive systems, nutrition levels based on age, production and breed; feed sources and balanced rations, production issues/diseases associated with improper nutrition.

Week 5: Health and disease
Topics covered: anatomy and physiology; understanding normal behavior, recognizing abnormal behavior; biosecurity; common diseases; flock health management.

Week 6: Business planning, bookkeeping, and marketing 
Topics covered: Planning and record keeping, poultry enterprise plans, course wrap up and time for individual farm specific questions/concerns.


Cost and Registration

Course fee is $200. Registration is currently closed and will re-open in mid-August 2016.