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Poultry keeping on a small scale

by 5m Editor
18 May 2003, at 12:00am

By Gerry Bolla, Suzanne Robinson and George Arzey - This report looks into the advantages of keeping poultry for non-intensive farming, and offers advice on establishing a flock.

Benefits of keeping poultry

Eggs are a high protein, nutritious food with very little waste. When properly managed 10 hens may produce:

2000 eggs/year = 40 eggs /week = 2kg of eggs

at a cost of less than $2/dozen or $3/kg. As a bonus, they generate more than 100kg per year of good quality organic fertiliser. Other advantages include:

  • the satisfaction of producing something for yourself,
  • independence/self sufficiency,
  • fresh eggs every day,
  • recycling of household scraps – poultry are good scavengers,
  • poultry can enrich your life with their beauty and behaviour,
  • children enjoy observing and feeding hens and collecting eggs.

Flock Establishment

There are two alternatives for flock establishment. You can either rear day-old chickens or buy started pullets.

Rearing day-old chickens
You can buy day-old chicks to rear, or breed your own chickens. If you buy, the chicks must be vaccinated against Mareks disease. While breeding may may appear cheaper it involves:

  • one rooster to 8-10 hens,
  • crossbreds are best for egg or meat,
  • purebreds are best for beauty and exhibition.
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Source: NSW Agriculture - May 2003