Raising Chickens in Alberta

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Small poultry flocks provide many benefits to those who keep them. As a small poultry flock owner or potential owner, some of these benefits include:
  • Raising food for your own family and others on a small scale
  • Knowing the source of your eggs and poultry meat
  • Enjoyment from owning and managing a flock.

Objectives of the Workbook
This guide is for small flock, backyard and urban chicken owners. Use this guide as a resource to help you raise your chickens. After you have completed the workbook, you will be able to:
  • Determine if regulations allow you to raise chickens in your area
  • Meet the basic needs of your chickens including feed, water, light, ventilation and housing
  • Identify diseases and inappropriate behaviours of chickens and how to prevent them
  • Adjust your management of the flock to address Alberta‚Äôs extreme weather conditions
  • Take steps to keep your flock safe from predators and disease (biosecurity)
  • Keep your family safe from disease that can come from live poultry and poultry products.

Workbook Content
The workbook is divided into 10 short modules.

Module 1 Regulations
Before purchasing chickens, you need to be aware of the legislation in your area. Use this module to help you access information on regulations on raising chickens and direct marketing of eggs and meat.

Module 2 Basic Chicken Needs
Chickens have basic needs in terms of feed, water, light, air quality and ventilation. Use this module to help you assess how well you are meeting these basic needs. Information is provided on toxic plants and other foods dangerous for chickens.

Module 3 Chicken House Design and Sanitation
In a harsh climate, such as found in Alberta, good chicken house design is critical. Use this module to help you choose a design that suits the needs of your flock. The module also looks at how to sanitize and disinfect the chicken coop to protect both the flock and your family.

Module 4 Egg Management & Meat Processing
If you want quality eggs, you need to follow some sound management practices. Use this module to help you manage light requirements of laying hens, reduce undesirable laying behaviours and properly handle eggs to maintain quality and safety. You also learn how to get birds ready for processing.

Module 5 Appropriate/Inappropriate Behaviours in Chickens
Learn to recognize both appropriate and inappropriate behaviours in chickens and how to prevent undesirable behaviour by correcting any management problems.

Module 6 Care of Chicks
Chicks require special care in order to survive and thrive. Learn how to handle chicks and meet their food, water and temperature requirements. Also learn how to avoid Salmonella and prevent common chick problems.

Module 7 Care of Chickens During the Winter
The harsh climate of Alberta brings some challenges to poultry owners. Use this module to help you select breeds suitable for our climate and winterize the coop.

Module 8 Health and Disease of the Flock
The health of a flock can be impacted by environmental factors, management and disease. Learn to recognize and prevent some of the common infectious diseases of chickens in Alberta. Prevention may include vaccination for some diseases.

Module 9 Keep Your Family Safe
Safety for your family includes preventing the spread of disease, following food safety guidelines and wearing personal protective equipment. Use this module to help you avoid food-borne illness from live poultry and poultry products.

Module 10 Safety for Your Chickens (Biosecurity)
Biosecurity refers to practices designed to prevent, reduce and eliminate the introduction and spread of disease. Protection measures also include quarantine, good record keeping, reporting disease when required and dealing with dead chickens and those requiring euthanasia.

For more information on this publication, Raising Chickens in Alberta, please contact:
Poultry Research Centre: 780 492-6221
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For more information about the content of this document, contact Brenda L Reimer.
This document is maintained by Lois Hameister.
This information published to the web on June 8, 2017.