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David Annis: October poultry meeting slated

Excellent speakers, a trade show and a chance to network with other poultry producers in Denton County can be found when the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Office plays host to a “Backyard Poultry Production” meeting on Saturday, Oct. 8.

The meeting will be at Denton Bible Church, located at 2300 E. University Drive in Denton. Doors will open at 8:30 a.m. with the program beginning at 9 a.m. Vendors, a trade show and lunch also will be available. The meeting is scheduled to end at 2 p.m.

Dustan Clark, extension poultry health veterinarian from the University of Arkansas Poultry Science Department, and Greg Archer, extension specialist and assistant professor from the Texas A&M Department of Poultry Science, will be presenting. They will cover topics such as breeds, biosecurity, housing, nutrition and be on hand to answer questions throughout the meeting.

Space is limited, so call Robin Hill at 940-349-2894 or drop by to register at the extension office in the Joseph A. Carroll building located at 401 W. Hickory St., Suite 112 in Denton. The registration fee is $10 per person.

We’ve already had some people see the posters that Robin put around the county. “Mrs. B.” called today (about a fish problem). She said she already called Robin and was wondering how we obtained two prestigious speakers for the program. I told her I like to get the best for Denton County.

We’re hoping to make this an annual event. There’s a huge amount of information out there on poultry, however, not all of it is non-biased and research based. It’s important to keep up with the newest research on poultry production. After all, we want to take care of our birds.

I have had a question or two on what to feed your poultry. For those of you that have a backyard flock don’t feed your poultry:

Raw green potato peels (solanine is toxic).

Salt (can poison them).

Citrus (may cause feather plucking).

Dry or undercooked beans (hemagglutin).

Raw eggs (don’t want them to develop a taste for your eggs).

Candy (bad for their teeth systems).

Chocolate (can be poisonous).

There are more items not to feed your flock, but this is the short list. Consider feeding the following:

Commercial feeds (such as a general chicken or high protein laying mash).

Vegetable/fruit, grain (cracked corn or already popped corn).

Grits, oats/oatmeal, rice (only if cooked).

Seeds (sunflower or pumpkin).

Throw a little crushed oyster shell in there to provide the grit to grind the food and you should be good to go.

In closing, I am reminded of what my college animal science professor asked our class: “What came first, the chicken or the egg?” He always said the egg. (Who was I to tell him that the chickens were created on the fifth day?)

There was a guy named Aristotle (384-322 BC), who was also vexed by this riddle of what came first. On July 13, 2010, scientific researchers formally announced that the chicken came first.

Technically speaking, they discovered that formation of eggshells depends on proteins found exclusively in the ovary of a chicken. Scientist concluded they had solved the riddle, as an egg can only exist if it has been inside a chicken. Feel free to share this factoid with your friends and neighbors.

In the meantime, should you have questions on poultry or other agricultural topics, contact your Texas A&M AgriLife Extension office at 940-349-2894.