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UCD Symposium Responds to State's Boom in Backyard Chicken Owners

July 22, 2015

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PHR’s Dr. Rodrigo Gallardo discusses poultry health at the symposium.

July 22, 2015

Goal is to increase California’s ‘first-line’ resources for backyard and small commercial producers

 Sixty-five participants representing stakeholders in backyard poultry farming - including 4-H and farm advisors, agricultural commissioners, feed store managers and veterinarians -took part in an intensive two-day lab and training program in Northern and Southern California that provided practical background in backyard and small-commercial meat and egg poultry production.  

Using a “Train the Trainer” mentoring approach, university and industry experts from the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory System and the California Department of Food and Agriculture presented attendees with basic information about poultry nutrition and health, food safety, biosecurity, production management, avian disease and disease prevention, public health and more.  

The symposium, funded by the CDFA, was held last month at UC Davis and Pierce Junior College Farm in Los Angeles, and led by the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine’s Drs. Maurice Pitesky and Rodrigo Gallardo, with the Center for Environmental Policy and Behavior’s Drs. Mark Lubell and Matthew Hoffman.

With backyard chicken farming increasing in popularity, Pitesky says that it's important that people have accurate poultry health information to reduce the risk of introducing disease – like avian influenza and Salmonella -  to their flocks.The trainings provided researchers with a first structured step toward improving outreach to the myriad of backyard and commercial poultry stakeholders in the state.  The development of novel social network analysis tools will help them better understand how attendees and their poultry clients communicate with each other in order to help target future outreach efforts.

“Currently there is limited information available for these important ‘first-line’ farming experts to share with their backyard poultry clients. We want to help them better connect people who want to raise chickens with the education and resources they need to be successful,” said Pitesky. “Our long-term goal is to create a robust network of resources and people that can facilitate outreach to backyard poultry enthusiasts in their social networks. “

Poultry resources and information can be found at