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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 you need all the skill you can acquire in order to produce a safe product and have a profitable enterprise. This course was designed to help!

”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

The course is for aspiring or beginning farmers (individuals with limited or no experience with poultry rearing) seeking to learn about poultry production, marketing, processing, and sales of poultry and poultry products in New York State. (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.


The Fall 2014 offering of this course is full. Registration will open again in Aug 2015 for a Fall 2015 offering of the course.


Lynn Bliven, Extension Educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Allegany and Cattaraugus Counties, NY, Kelly Franke-Scott and Gia Codispoti, Cornell Cooperative Extension educators at the CCE Suffolk County Farm & Education Center.

Course Outline

  • Week 1. Introduction to Poultry Production
    Navigating the program site (Moodle): to get the most out of your experience with the class, we will spend some time in our first week together on using the Moodle classroom. Students will receive information the week prior to course start date covering how to establish Moodle account and prepare for weekly webinar classes.
    As we only have 6 weeks together we will jump right into course content this week with an introduction to poultry production. We get started with information about selection of poultry breeds and the basics of rearing chicks for meat and egg production. Topics include: Genetics 101 – species, breeds, and varieties; incubation and brooding; housing and equipment.
    Week 2. Understanding cost of production and regulations for poultry products
    Participants will have opportunity to work through establishment of enterprise budget for meat and/or layer production based of potential markets.
    Week 3. Poultry Nutrition
    Topics include: understanding fowl digestive systems; nutrition levels based on age, production and breed; feed sources and balanced rations; production issues and diseases associated with improper nutrition.
    Week 4. Introduction to Business Planning, Bookkeeping, and Marketing
    You can’t manage what you can’t measure. Good planning and record keeping is essential for a successful business. This week we’ll look at resources to get you started and/or further develop plans for your poultry enterprise.
    Week 5. Health and Disease
    Topics include: anatomy and physiology; understanding normal behavior, recognizing abnormal behavior; biosecurity; common diseases; flock health management.
    Week 6. Processing and food safety concerns for chicken/egg producers.
    Topics include: navigating regulations; food borne illness and disease; meat and egg quality; on-farm processing; producer’s role in consumer education; certification programs. Also Course Wrap-up – Individual farm management questions/concerns.

Cost and Registration

Course fee is $200. Registration is currently closed and will next open in mid-August 2015 for a Fall 2015 offering of this course.