Business & Policy
Small poultry flock owners supported by new video and podcast resources
By Lilian Schaer
PIC supports program showcasing best management practices.
By Lilian Schaer
Small poultry flocks are growing in popularity in Ontario. Many small flock owners have launched into raising their own meat and eggs without any previous farming skills or husbandry knowledge in how to best look after the birds in their care.
With funding from the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (the Partnership), the Poultry Industry Council is supporting the development of an online poultry video and podcast training program in animal welfare basics, production efficiencies and minimizing poultry health risks that students will be able to complete at their own pace.
The goal is to showcase best management practices for biosecurity, production, human health and animal welfare and demonstrate that they’re the same regardless of the size of a flock.
“Animal welfare continues to be a priority for our government,” said Lawrence MacAulay, Federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. “We are pleased to invest in this initiative that supports the enhancement of animal care and the implementation of best management practices by providing small flock farmers the tools and training they need.”
“This is a great educational resource showing interested Ontarians the right way to get into and run safe, efficient backyard-style poultry farming,” said Ernie Hardeman, Ontario’s Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “This Canadian Agricultural Partnership project builds on our government’s many efforts to promote and spread awareness of best practices in animal health and welfare and biosecurity in Ontario farming.”
Long-time poultry veterinarian Scott Gillingham is featured prominently in the series of videos and podcasts. Using his years of expertise as a poultry veterinary specialist and his own experience with poultry, he focuses each module on a different aspect of what he calls the poultry “law of FLAWS”: food, light, air, water and security.
“Small flocks are a fast-growing hobby and people are hungry for premium information that is credible – the videos and podcasts filmed in local barns, coops and yards let Dr. Gillingham be a virtual coach to anyone with a small poultry flock right in the comfort of their own homes,” he says.
Gillingham is appreciative of the funding support from the Partnership; without it, it would have been difficult for him to carve out time from his busy schedule to dedicate to this project. It is part of a demonstrated need to build bridges between commercial and small flock farmers, he says.
The Poultry Industry Council is leading the initiative, with Ontario Independent Meat Processors supporting the funding application.
The podcasts are available free of charge on iTunes; the videos will soon be available on www.ichicken.ca.
This project was funded in part through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership (the Partnership), a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The Agricultural Adaptation Council assists in the delivery of the Partnership in Ontario.