Chickens 101: The Sustainable Homestead Poultry Flock

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Have You Ever Thought

In this course you’ll learn:

Why Keep Chickens

  • Food safety
  • Food quality
  • Food security
  • Ecological sustainability

Planning the Flock

  • Local ordinances and good relations with neighbors
  • Should you keep bantam (miniature) or standard (large) breeds?
  • Do you have to have a cock in the flock?
  • Choosing your breeds

Starting the Flock

  • Brooding chicks in a homemade brooder
  • Brooding chicks using natural mothers


  • Coop size and design
  • Accessories in the coop: roosts, nests, dustbox
  • Manure management using deep litter
Elaine Belanger Testimonial

Access to the Outdoors

  • The (better) chicken run
  • Free ranging the flock
  • Pasturing the flock
  • Electric net fencing
  • Mobile pasture shelters
  • “Pasturing” the flock on the lawn



  • Preventing health problems naturally
  • Managing sick or injured birds
  • Dealing with exoparasites

Feeding and Watering

  • Problems with purchased feeds
  • Making your own feeds
  • Maximizing access to live, natural feeds
  • Providing more of the flock’s feed out of home resources
  • Cultivating decomposer species for conversion of “wastes” to high quality protein feeds

Dealing with Predators

  • Types of predators
  • Possible responses

Eggs and Poultry on the Table

  • Managing the laying flock
  • Handling and storage of eggs
  • Homestead poultry butchering


Other Fowl Species

  • Waterfowl: Ducks and Geese
  • Guineas
  • Turkeys

Putting the Flock to Work

  • Enhancing soil fertility
  • Tillage
  • Insect control
  • Making compost
  • And more

This course is about making the homestead poultry flock a vital partner in the food independence enterprise. A well managed flock not only supplies the family with meat and eggs, but helps with the work of the homestead: for increasing soil fertility, tilling the garden, controlling problem insects, and reducing dependence on purchased inputs.


Harvey Ussery

Noted Expert on Poultry and Author of the forthcoming Chelsea Green Publishing book The Small-Scale Poultry Flock: An All-Natural Approach to Raising Chickens and Other Fowl for Home and Market Growers

For almost thirty years, Harvey Ussery has produced all his family's eggs and table fowl from a mixed flock of pastured poultry. He writes about poultry husbandry for Backyard Poultry, Countryside & Small Stock Journal, and Mother Earth News, as well as other publications; and has given presentations on this topic at many national and regional conferences, including those of Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture and the Weston A. Price Foundation. His book, The Small-Scale Poultry Flock: An All-Natural Approach to Raising Chickens and Other Fowl for Home and Market Growers, will be published next year by Chelsea Green Publishing. His website,, contains a wealth of information on working with the homestead flock.

When and Where

The course is 2 hours long and takes place on Saturday, April 7, 2012 at 10am PST
(Convert to other time zones)

This is an entirely online course so you will need an Internet connection. We will have a break around the one hour mark.

You will want a good long distance plan or calling card, or you can use a service such as It can take a few days to purchase Skype credit so don't leave it to the last minute.


The registration price is $39. You will receive 90 minutes of exactly the material you need to know plus 30 minutes of Q&A.

Register for the UnCrash Course at the same time and save $20. First click the above Register button, then you will be able to add the discounted UnCrash Course at the bottom of your shopping cart page.


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