Biosecurity means protecting your birds by preventing disease from entering your farm, and protecting your neighbors by preventing disease from leaving your farm.

This publication briefly describes information about laying flocks, such as the best breeds to raise, when to purchase stock, floor space, litter, feed and feeders, waterers, ventilation, lights, roosts, laying cycles, nests, and yards.

Where do I get help when I suspect a health problem in my poultry flock?

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Flock owners and managers as well as workers in hatcheries, feed mills, processing plants, transportation, and other industries servicing poultry operations need to be knowledgeable about basic principles of poultry health and diseases, and how they can be avoided or controlled.

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The USDA endorses the farm-to-table HACCP system as the best science-based approach aimed at pathogen reduction. Voluntary participation in HACCP-type programs reduces the risk of marketing eggs contaminated with Salmonella enteritidis and maintains consumer confidence in eggs and egg products.

Over the past few years, raising domestic poultry such as pigeons, ornamental poultry, and small meat and egg flocks has become an increasingly popular pastime for urban residents.


Poultry may become infected with several types of respiratory illnesses caused by viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites. Clinical signs of these illnesses often look very similar. However, successful treatment and prevention of these diseases depends on an accurate diagnosis. Some of the common respiratory diseases are explained briefly.


Raising turkeys can be a satisfying educational activity as well as a source of economical, high-quality meat for your family and friends. By raising a small flock of turkeys, you can produce the freshest turkey possible while involving the whole family in working with and learning about live animals.

Egg production on a small scale is one of the oldest animal farming enterprises in recorded history. In this system, birds are fed some grain and allowed to forage for the balance of their diet. Birds can be used for egg production and may be harvested later for food.

Raising a small chicken flock for egg production in the backyard has increased in popularity over the past few years. It can be a relaxing activity, teach youth responsibility, and provide you with eggs to supplement the family food supply.

Trees and shrubs planted following a conservation plan can help improve the environment for you, your birds, and your neighbors.

West Nile encephalitis became a public health concern in the United States in 1999. The West Nile virus was isolated from people as well as dead crows, a variety of zoo birds, various native bird species, and horses with encephalitic signs.