University of Maryland Extension

Before Starting a Flock

backyard flock

Owning a backyard flock is a growing trend in the United States. According to USDA (2005), 7% of households in the U.S. own a small, non-commercial flock. There are over 138,000 small flocks, which is equivalent to 9.7 million birds. The average size of a small flock is approximately 49 birds.

Before starting a backyard flock, the following should be planned out at least six months in advance:

  1. What are the zoning regulations in my neighborhood for livestock and poultry?
  2. Will raising poultry bother my neighbors?
  3. How will I house and confine my poultry?
  4. Am I aware of biosecurity practices and common poultry diseases?
  5. Do I have time to care for a poultry flock?

By answering all five questions, you begin to prepare yourself for owning a small flock.  Remember, caring for a flock is a 24 hour, seven day a week commitment that begins when you acquire your first bird.

USDA. 2005. Part I: Reference of health and managment of backyard/ small production flocks in the United States, 2004.
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