If you farm in the Northeast and are thinking of tapping into the growing demand for locally produced farm products, then think "Chick In!" And, you can learn essentials from the convenience of your farm office.
Chickens, ducks and turkeys can be a profitable addition to any farm, says Lynn Bliven, a farmer and Cornell Cooperative Extension educator. But you have to have solid skills to select the best breeds for your purposes.
Then you need to understand how to feed them well, keep them healthy, and protect them from predators. You'll also need to understand the options for processing and packaging them, regulations around marketing poultry and, most importantly, how the numbers work out financially for your farm.
Luckily, there's an online course you can take beginning in January that'll help guide you through the mountains of information needed to be successful. BF 130: Poultry Production - Profiting from Layers, Broilers, Turkeys, and Ducks is a six-week course led by Bliven. It starts on Jan 10 and runs through Feb. 14.
You will learn the basics of poultry production from field to plate, including breed selection, flock management, cost of production, and marketing regulations.
The bulk of the course happens on your own time, with discussions, readings, and assignments in MOODLE, our virtual classroom. To add to the experience, webinars will be woven into the online interface of the course to allow you to meet on a weekly basis to learn from outside presenters, ask questions, and collaborate with other participants and the instructor to address your farm issues in real time.
The course costs $200. It features weekly live webinars, practical farm-based perspectives, videos of successful farm practices, abundant hand-picked readings, and the opportunity to interact and learn from your fellow learners as well as your instructors.
If you miss one, they are always recorded and posted for later viewing. Access details will be posted in MOODLE once you have registered and logged in.Check out the complete course description at http://nebeginningfarmers.org/online-courses/all-courses/bf-130-poultry-production/ and register soon! The course starts January 10, 2013.