Applied Poultry Science Professional Development Project – Phase II
In response to increasing consumer demand for local foods, many farm families have started or are very interested in integrating poultry enterprises in their operations to increase farm income. Poultry are efficient converters of feed to meat or eggs, do not require much space and fit nicely as a complementary enterprise on many types of farms.
Agricultural service providers within Extension were recently surveyed in 2013 on the issue of poultry. Over 92% of the respondents felt they were not effectively serving poultry producers. Only one of the 40 respondents was confident in answering poultry related questions. At least 81% of the respondents were interested in gaining knowledge and skills in poultry science.
This project will directly involve a minimum of 20 agriculture service providers in New England and poultry producers in the region as a secondarily audience. These service providers will come from a range of backgrounds and experiences related to agriculture, technology, education and service. Each service provider will have a solid history of working directly with farmers. Eligible project participants from the six New England states will submit an application to participate. Each applicant will have the written support of their immediate supervisor.
Participants will gain knowledge and skills in basic poultry science of egg production, meat production, nutrition, health, facilities, breed selection, biosecurity, processing, regulations, marketing, poultry business planning and management. The project will also focus on the development of poultry-related educational materials. This project will involve an annual series of webinars and practical, hands-on training workshops.
Twenty (20) agricultural service providers in New England will provide technical assistance and economic and management advice to 100 farmers raising at total of approximately 50,000 poultry for meat or egg production, helping them enact management changes that improve production, poultry health, poultry nutrition, market development, sanitation and biosecurity, food safety, regulatory compliance, energy efficiency, and business management; these changes result in, on average, an additional $5,000 in income each year over the two-year period.
Twenty-three agriculture service providers, with representatives from all six New England states, submitted applications to participate in the professional development project in the summer of 2014. Applications were received electronically from personnel and categorized as follows: 11 Extension, 6 non-profit, 1 farmer, 5 state agency. As per state, the number of applications were as follows: 2 from Connecticut, 10 from Maine, 3 from Massachusetts, 4 from New Hampshire, 2 from Rhode Island, 2 from Vermont and 1 from Minnesota.
A project web site has been developed and is used to post information and tools for participants. http://umaine.edu/poultry/
For the year 2015 this website has had 4,129 page views.
An additional participant from Maine Extension was added.
For the past year this website has had 4,175 page views.
Attachment 1: Analytics applied poultry science website 2016 attachment-1-analytics-applied-poultry-science-website
Thirty (30) agricultural service providers will complete an online pretest in applied poultry science as a benchmark from which to measure growth and change in knowledge and skill levels.
Twenty-two individuals completed the pretest at the start of the 3-day poultry training in October 2014. The pretest was not administered online as previously planned but for logistical reasons was administered as a paper and pencil test. Four Extension poultry specialists, who comprise the instructor team for this project, submitted questions for the pretest. Since egg production is the focus in year-one of the project, all pretest questions pertained to eggs and egg-laying birds. This same test will be given in year-two of the project to determine a “snap shot” of knowledge gain. The pretest was completed by personnel as categorized as follows: 10 Extension, 6 non-profit, 1 farmer, 5 state agency. The pretest is attached. The average number of correct answers was 13 out of 20 or an average score of 64.
A post-test was administered in winter of 2015 to provide a “snap shot” of knowledge gained. Seven service providers completed this test and the results are attached. The average number of correct answers was 18 out of 20 or an average score of 89. This shows a 24% improvement in test scores.
The final post-test was administered at the last 3-day training in 2016. Seventeen service providers completed this test which is attached. Sixteen got all the 20 questions correct and one person had one questions incorrect. This shows a 36% improvement in test scores from the first session pre-test.
Attachment 2: Applied Poultry Science Pre and Post Test Score Comparison attachment-2-pre-and-post-test-aps-training-test-and-scores
At least 20 agricultural service providers who participate in the project webinars, workshops, independent study and problem solving network will gain measurable knowledge and skills to assist sustainable poultry enterprises through efficient and well-designed educational programs.
- A 3-day poultry science seminar was presented in Freeport, Maine from October 22-24, 2014. Twenty-three (23) agriculture service providers participated. The seminar included lectures, discussions, problem-solving activities and a hands-on activity of dissecting chickens. The seminar schedule is attached. An electronic survey of participants was performed to determine the usefulness of the seminar. When asked – As a whole, how useful was the training to you and your work as an agriculture service provider? Eighty-five percent (17 of 20 respondents) found the training “very useful”. One hundred percent said that the training provided them with a good start to the two-year professional development project. A summary report of the follow-up survey results is attached. To complement the seminar, participants were provided with a resource notebook, “The Virtual Chicken” dvd, the Chicken Health Handbook, an Eggcyclpedia and a curriculum notebook on eggs. The training was accomplished by personnel as categorized as follows: 11 Extension, 6 non-profit, 1 farmer, 5 state agency.
- In the two months following the seminar, two 60-minute webinars were presented through the online educational presence “eXtension”. Dr. Kenneth Anderson of North Carolina State University presented a webinar on egg production systems on November 12. Based on an informal registration at the time of the event, this webinar was attended by personnel as categorized as follows: 7 Extension, 3 non-profit, 7 farmers, 2 state agency. Dr. Paul Patterson from Pennsylvania State University presented a webinar on feeds & feeding of pullets and layers on December 10. Based on an informal registration at the time of the, this webinar was attended by personnel as categorized as follows: 10 Extension, 5 non-profit, 23 farmers. These webinars were designed for agriculture service providers but were promoted across the country and open to any interested individual. The webinars were archived for repeated viewing.
- Webinars: Three more sessions on egg production were presented through 60-minute “eXtension” webinars. Jacquie Jacob, University of Kentucky presented a session on Quality Eggs from Different Production Systems. Dr. Michael Darre, University of Connecticut presented a session on Health Concerns for Egg Layers and another on Managing Egg Laying Flocks. These sessions were viewed by 676 people. Also, a more extensive poultry health webinar series was presented in the first quarter of the year with the following topics: Problems with the digestive system, Problems with the respiratory system, Problems with the skeletal system and Immune system and vaccination programs for poultry flocks. An additional 252 folks viewed these sessions for a total of 928 folks accessed these webinars.
- Due to the emerging threat of Avian Influenza additional webinars on Avian Influenza and the Backyard Flock and Biosecurity and the Backyard Flock were added.
- On-site Training: A 3-day poultry science seminar was presented in Freeport, Maine from October 21-23, 2015. Nineteen (19) agriculture service providers participated. The seminar included lectures, discussions, problem-solving activities and tour of a poultry processing plant. The seminar schedule is attached. An electronic survey of participants was performed to determine the usefulness of the seminar. When asked – As a whole, how useful was the training to you and your work as an agriculture service provider? (64% -very useful, 18% – useful, 18% somewhat useful.) The training was accomplished by personnel as categorized as follows: 9 Extension, 5 non-profit, 5 state agency.
- The 4-part webinar series for meat production is scheduled for the first Wednesday of each month, at 11:30 AM. Total of 334 views of these four webinars both live and archived.
- January 6 – Raising chickens for meat production – 97 views
- February 3 – Raising ducks for meat production – 100 views
- March 2 – Raising geese – 92 views
- April 6 – Overview of poultry-related equipment – 45 views
- On-site Training: A 3-day poultry science seminar was presented in Freeport, Maine from October 19-21, 2016. Sixteen (16) agriculture service providers participated (15 returning + 1 new person) and two (2) instructors. There was some attrition of members that have moved on to other positions and are no longer responsible for responding to poultry issues. This training session covered regulatory and marketing issues including understanding NPIP, organic vs. conventional practices, inspection process, alternative markets, ethnic markets and alternative products, as well as an over view of HACCP rules. An electronic survey of participants was performed to determine the usefulness of the seminar. When asked – As a whole, how useful was the training to you and your work as an agriculture service provider? (62.5% -very useful, 25% – useful, 12.5% somewhat useful.) The training was accomplished by personnel as categorized as follows: Extension 8, non-profit 3, state agency 5.
Attachment 3: 2016 APS Meeting Agenda attachment-3-2016-aps-meeting-agenda
Attachment 4: 2016 APS Meeting Evaluation attachment-4-2016-aps-meeting-evaluation-results
Attachment 5: 2016 APS SARE Trainees Photo
- The group will maintain the Northeast poultry list serve to stay connected and serve as a resource for poultry oriented questions in the region.
- A slide library will be maintained on Google Slides that will allow service providers a source of slides for public programs.
At least 20 agricultural service providers will each design, adapt or create educational materials for poultry producers. Team leaders as well as other project participants will review these educational materials.
To date, three poultry-related fact sheets and one scholarly article were developed by team members.
- Four poultry-related fact sheets have been developed by team members including one that was developed by all 19 team members during the October training session.
- Nine team members have presented a total of 29 programs to 569 poultry producers based on PowerPoint presentations they developed or adapted. Also, 1200 youth attended a field day session on poultry.
- Sixteen team members discussed poultry management topics with 549 individuals to assist with care, health, housing, watering or marketing issues.
- A 5-session webinar series on Egg Production was aired and archived through eXtension.org with a total of 676 views and a related series on Poultry Health had 252 views. Due to the type of sign in system the participants could not be categorized by was assumed to include APS team members, other agriculture service providers and farmers.
- Two poultry factsheets were added to the online publications at UMaine Extension.
- Twelve team members have presented a total of 85 programs to 2,737 poultry producers based on PowerPoint presentations they developed or adapted.
- Five team members discussed poultry management topics with 198 individuals to assist with care, health, housing, watering or marketing issues.
- The webinars reported on in 2015 had an additional 271 views. Total views of 2016 and 2015 webinars are 1,574 and they are still online and available to any poultry producer at http://articles.extension.org/poultry
- A slide library of poultry programs was assembled through Google Slides. Service providers will be able to select from 285 slides to develop programs for their clients. They will also be able to upload slides and images that all team members in the region can share. Currently images need to be evaluated for copyright.
- “Starting from Scratch” a three-fold brochure with information on raising baby chicks for new poultry owners was developed by two team members. 200 were distributed this fall with 3,000 being printed to distribute to feed stores and auctions in the spring time 2017.
Attachment 6: Starting from Scratch attachment-6-starting-from-scratch
At least 20 agricultural service providers will learn about poultry anatomy by dissecting a chicken. In teams of 2 and 3 individuals, participants will dissect a chicken to learn about disease, parts & functions, the digestive tract and the reproductive tract.
On the morning of Thursday, October 23, project participants traveled to a nearby farm in Freeport, Maine and learned about poultry anatomy and physiology. University of Connecticut Extension Poultry Specialist, Dr. Michael Darre served as the lead instructor. Working in teams, participants learned how to properly catch, handle, restrain, humanely euthanize and dissect chickens. The protocol for handling and euthanizing the birds for this educational activity was approved by the Institutional Animal Care & Use Committee (IACUC) at the University of Maine. Personnel as categorized as follows took part in developing educational materials in 2014: 10 Extension, 6 non-profit, 1 farmer, 5 state agency folks.
At least 20 agricultural service providers will actively participate in the poultry problem-solving network to strengthen and apply their knowledge of poultry science. Participants will actively solve poultry-related problems by asking probing questions and gathering facts. Team leaders will help direct questions for self-discovery.
Soon after the October 2014 seminar wrapped up, a list serve email group of project participants was established. Participants from Phase I of this professional development project were also invited to continue with the list serve. To date, 38 agriculture service providers are members of this list serve. Personnel as categorized as follows took part in problem-solving in 2014: 19 Extension, 7 non-profit, 3 farmers, 7 state agency and 2 industry.
- The list serve email group set up through Google groups had 107 topics shared with the 38 members (which include the agriculture service providers attending the training sessions.) Topics included new resources, upcoming webinars and online courses as well as a forum to respond to questions and concerns. The majority of the topics were focused on the progression of Highly Pathogenic H5N2 Avian Influenza across the country and what small-scale poultry producers could do to reduce their risk. Archived topics can be viewed at https://groups.google.com/a/maine.edu/forum/#!forum/poultry.newengland
- Members were encouraged to conduct self-study assignments including an assignment to research information on a poultry disease. One service provider has reported to have completed this assignment.
- The list serve email group has had 81 topics shared this year with the 36 members. Topics include new resources, open positions, upcoming webinars as well as a forum to respond to questions and concerns. Some topics that got a lot of interaction include: poultry in a vegetable garden, layer facility scenario and cost of production information.
Each agricultural service provider will work directly with five farmers per year with an existing or planned poultry enterprise. Participating farmers will be asked to provide production results and basic income statements via online reporting for the respective poultry enterprises to compare performance with similar enterprises. Case studies of participating farms will be assembled for educational purposes. Using the verification template, participants will gather data from the producers with whom they are working. Project team leaders will assist as needed.
- To date participants have not reported any work with farmers in their respective states.
- Applied Poultry Science Training Feedback Survey – October 2014
- This past year seventeen service providers have conduced 29 programs presented to 1,769 individuals and consulted with an additional 549 individuals about poultry care. A total of 2,318 individuals learned more about keeping poultry. Those who keep birds had an estimated 94,046 birds and as a result of meetings and/or individual consultations with Applied Poultry Science trained staff, growers had an estimated increase in revenue of $454,886.  Personnel is categorized as following took part in these client contacts in 2015: 8 Extension, 2 non-profit, 1 farmer, and 6 state agency.
- Specific examples include
- Over the course of 18 months prior to October 2014, a little more than 20 of backyard farms culled their birds due to an infectious or contagious disease. In the last year, there was 1. So about 20 fewer farms had total losses due to improved biosecurity. With an average flock size of about 30 mature birds, it is estimated that a total of $40,000 ($20,000 per 20 farms that were total losses in a normal year.) Also, $34,000 in increased revenue estimated to be realized by 68 farms due to on-farm visits and/or discussions on health and biosecurity from APS trained staff. Total increased revenue for all birds was $21/bird.
- Diagnostic information from the University of Maine Animal Health Lab was provided for 6,400 avian samples during 2014-2015. The majority were serum and environmental tests for salmonella (SE) and other common infectious diseases of chickens. As a result of this testing no SE has been detected in Maine poultry businesses since 2009. During the 2014-5, Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) swept through the United States, the UMAHL provided information to producers through webinar, blog and workshops to prevent the spread of this disease. Testing for AI was provided by collaboration with the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. To date, no HPAI has been detected in the Northeast.
- One of the producers we worked with and provided training to was able to secure his state slaughter license from DPH and successfully use the Mobile Poultry Processing Unit this year to process over 300 birds for direct sale to consumers, resulting in new economic returns of $9,000.
- Workshop/program topics included:
- Backyard Poultry – Poultry breeds, housing, health, and nutrition for small-scale meat and egg producers. Post class evaluation indicated participants plan to make changes based on what they learned: 38% in one week, 5% in one month, 38% in one year and 19% did not plan to make any changes. So 81% of folks plan to make changes based on what they learned.
- Getting started with chickens – flock management, breed selection, flock health, biosecurity and marketing eggs presented to farmers, 4-H members and the general public.
- Backyard chicken basics
- Chicken talks – basic husbandry, care of laying flock, pasture vs confinement of chickens, all about ducks, geese and turkeys; lighting the flock in winter, molting, nutrition, predator control, parasites (internal and external) and control, brooding, choosing birds, egg handling and safety, common disorders and diseases, carcass condemnation, and butchering.
- Poultry Processing
- Egg grading
- Mailing topics included:
- Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza out-break updates
- Over the past year 12 service providers have conducted 85 programs presented to 2,737 individuals and consulted with an additional 198 individuals about poultry care in addition to 100s at fairs, auctions and NPIP visits. A total of 2,935 plus 100s more individuals learned more about poultry care. Those who keep birds had an estimated 58,637 birds and as a result of meetings and/or individual consultations with Applied Poultry Science trained service providers, growers were able to improve their bird’s productivity, economics and life expectancy. Service providers are categorized as following took part in these client contracts in 2016: 6 Extension, 3 Non-profit and 3 state agency folks.
- Workshop/program topics included:
- Backyard Poultry Programs – Poultry breeds, housing, health, and nutrition for small-scale meat and egg producers. Post class evaluation indicated participants plan to make changes based on what they learned: 32% in one week, 18% in one month, 48% in one year and 7% did not plan to make any changes. So, 93% of folks plan to make changes based on what they learned. One a scale of 1 to 5 with 1= none and 5 = much participants scored the talks 4.5 on knowledge gained.
- Chicken talks – Getting started with Backyard Chickens, Lean farming: poultry innovations, poultry enterprise budgets and pricing, systems efficiencies in poultry production, Backyard 101, training for Mobile Poultry processing unit users, chick embryology.
- Diagnostic information from the Maine Animal Health Lab was provided to 125 individual farmers who keep an estimated 3,500 birds. Necropsy results and other associated testing provides producer information and guidance for curing and preventing health problems.
- Indirect communication with poultry keepers included the use of website, webinars, radio, newspaper article and newsletter. Over 110,000 people are more aware about care of poultry from these methods. Many were the general public who were able to gain a better appreciation of what it takes to care for poultry.
 When no actual financial impact was available, assumed 81% of clients contacted will make changes in their poultry care based on Backyard Poultry Post Class evaluation by poultry clientele. The financial impact from changes in poultry care was estimated at $5/bird. This increase could reasonably be expected if producers changed just one thing (ie. switched to nipple waterers from bucket waterers that would prevent bedding from getting wet which leads to decreased bedding costs and decreased losses from disease due to moist environment.) Actual financial impact would be much greater due to continued laying of birds not lost to disease.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
- The following journal article and poultry-related fact sheets are either under review or were published between October 2014 and December 2014:
- Coordinating Effective Professional Development Projects – published in the Journal of NACAA December 2014 http://www.nacaa.com/journal/index.php?jid=432
- Selling Eggs in Maine – revised, reviewed and published by the University of Maine (Total views – 158); http://extension.umaine.edu/publications/2218e/
- Winter Care of Your Laying Hens – revised, reviewed and published by the University of Maine (Total views 1,030); http://extension.umaine.edu/publications/2217e/
- The Pros and Cons of Poultry Swaps – under review (published in 2015)
- Applied Poultry Science Pretest 2014
- Applied Poultry Science Beneficiary Form 2014
- Website: Applied Poultry Science Training Phase II (4, 175 Page views in 2016) http://umaine.edu/poultry/
- Pros and Cons of Poultry Swaps – revised, reviewed and soon to be published by University of Maine http://extension.umaine.edu/publications/2216e/
- Best Management Practices for Small Scale Poultry Producers in Maine – revised, reviewed and soon to be published by University of Maine http://umaine.edu/publications/2220e/
- Avian Influenza and the Backyard Flock – revised, reviewed and published by the University of Maine (Total views 395); http://extension.umaine.edu/publications/2109e/
- Why Poultry Might Be a Suitable Enterprise for Persons with Disabilities – revised, reviewed and published by the University of Maine (Total views 401); http://extension.umaine.edu/publications/2215e/
- Safe Disposal of Backyard Poultry Mortalities – updated by University of Maine;(Total views 275) http://extension.umaine.edu/publications/12e/
- Draft Producer Poultry Health Survey – service providers can utilize this survey to assess clients needs for educational programming (Working Draft APS Survey.)
- Pros and Cons of Poultry Swaps – revised, reviewed and published by University of Maine (Total views 255) http://extension.umaine.edu/publications/2216e/
- Best Management Practices for Small Scale Poultry Producers in Maine – revised, reviewed and published by University of Maine (Total views 438) http://umaine.edu/publications/2220e/
- Updated UMaine Extension Poultry website. (12,925 page views in 2016) https://extension.umaine.edu/livestock/poultry/
Attachment 7: Backyard Poultry Post Class Evaluation Results attachment-7-2016-backyard-poultry-post-class-evaluation-results
Attachment 8: Page Views for Poultry Pages and Publications
Attachment 9: Analytics UMaine Extension Poultry Website
Attachment 10: 2016 Impacts by Beneficiary Table
Attachment 11: Applied Poultry Science Beneficiary Form 2016
Attachment 12: 2016 Cumulative Milestone Accomplishment Table
Attachment 12 – 2016 Cumulative Milestone Accomplishment Table
Attachment 13: Revised 2015 Report Responding to Questions attachment-13-2015-report-revisions
Attachment 14: 2015 Impact by Beneficiary Table attachment-14-2015-impact-by-beneficiary-table