Thank You for Supporting the UC Davis Pastured Poultry Farm!
The UC Davis Pastured Poultry Farm is a new education, research and innovation hub for pastured poultry producers (layers and broilers), master gardeners, backyard flock keepers, academia, students, food buyers, food safety and animal welfare auditors. If you are into alternative poultry production, this place is meant to help you ! As the poultry industry is currently undergoing radical changes in the ways poultry eggs and meat are produced, alternative production methods, such as pasture raising, are gaining increasing popularity. However, several challenges such as environmental, animal welfare and food safety issues, are associated with raising poultry on pasture. Therefore, there is a wide interest in developing and disseminating science-based information, best practices and outreach strategies with respect to pasture raising.
This education and innovation center is the result of a collaborative effort between:
- Academia: Maurice Pitesky, School of Veterinary Medicine Cooperative Extension, Rodrigo Gallardo, School of Veterinary Medicine, Debbie Niemeier, Dpt of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Richard Blatchford, Dpt of Animal Science and Elise Gornish, Dpt of Plant Sciences
- Industry: Free-range and pastured poultry producers
- Non-profit organizations: Center for Land Based Learning and National Center for Appropriate Technology
The UC Davis Pastured Poultry Farm aims at becoming an education, research and innovation hub for research, teaching, and outreach with respect to pastured poultry production in the Western United States. To our knowledge, we will be the first university offering such a comprehensive and multi-disciplinary approach to an emerging sector that has been under-served by academic institutions.
Our inter-disciplinary team of faculty members and students has formed a group that recently secured 4.5 acres of contiguous irrigated pasture land at the University of California, Davis. The Farm is located on the main campus, approximately 1.3 miles west of the School of Veterinary Medicine.
The UC Davis Sustainable Design Academy, led by Prof. Niemeier, has constructed a modular mobile chicken coop for the UC Davis Pastured Poultry Farm. In the design and construction process, students incorporated specific features of sustainability, economical viability, and easily accessible materials. This innovative eggmobile provides night shelter and nest box space for up to 150 pastured hens. It includes automatic doors, gravity-fed waterers, a trapdoor for ease of sanitation and removable roosts and modular roll-out nest boxes. With the installation of exterior tarps and heat lamps suspended from the ceiling, the eggmobile can serve as a brooding facility for raising chicks and will protect the hens from inclement weather. Additional items that have been constructed include a sick pen and portable shade structures which double as predator control structures.
The first flock of 150 egg-laying chicks arrived on September 22, 2015 and were placed on pasture on November 16, 2015. When the pullets begin to lay (anticipated Spring 2016), some of the resulting eggs will be donated to several on- and off-campus entities.
By attaching a rain barrel to a shelf at the back of the eggmobile, civil and environmental engineering students constructed a gravity-fed watering system that automatically fills trough waterers, installed on the underside of the coop. Additionnally, in order to palliate the current lack of running water in the field to refill the rain barrel, students developed a simple power inverter + water pump system fed from a 100-gallon tank in the back of a pickup truck, making the water source imminently portable.
How You Can Help:
UC Davis is uniquely positioned to do research and education in this growing area of agriculture and we hope to make this facility a novel resource for poultry enthusiasts throughout the United States. This project has been facilitated by faculty in multiple departments but our real strength is that we are student run. Graduate students, professional students (school of veterinary medicine) and undergraduates have done the majority of the work and we hope to continue this model.
In order to fulfill our research, teaching and outreach needs, we need to secure funding and are asking for your help. Please visit our website for additional details and updates: http://ucanr.edu/sites/poultry/
Thank you for giving us the opportunity to become a resource center for the community, and therefore to enhance sustainability, environmental stewardship, animal welfare, as well as food safety and food quality. Please feel free to contribute to our Farm and contact us with questions and suggestions you may have: firstname.lastname@example.org