Chief of Staff, Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR)
Want the best tasting locally grown omelet, deviled egg or soufflé ever? DAR’s Animal Health poultry field inspector Megan Megrath says raising backyard chickens might be for you.
Over the past few years DAR has seen a steady increase in the number of families raising small flocks. Megan has seen children as young as four years old tending to a flock including Christopher, the son of one of DAR’s field inspectors, pictured above.
Chickens reach laying age around 24 weeks and a small flock of six birds should lay four to five eggs per day. There are over 100 recognized breeds of chickens. The most common breeds are Rhode Island Reds and Barred Plymouth Rocks.
The pictured breed is an Americana, also known as the Easter egg bird. Their eggs are normally bluish-green.
Not sure what kind of chicken you would like to raise? Check out the Northeastern Poultry Congress show happening this weekend, January 16 and 17, 2010 in West Springfield at the BIG E Fairgrounds. This event draws poultry enthusiasts from all over the state. Click here for more information about the poultry show.
Here are a few things to consider about tending chickens. Chickens need shelter from the elements (wind, rain, snow) and an ample supply of fresh, clean feed and water. If you wish to have a steady supply of fresh eggs during the winter months, supplemental lighting will also be necessary. Make sure to check with local city or town officials about complying with local bylaws, ordinances, or permits.
People who have birds for the purpose of selling hatching eggs, chicks or adult birds, or those that have birds kept for participating in poultry shows must have their flocks blood-tested by DAR. The test checks for Salmonella pullorum and Avian Influenza and is provided for free by DAR. Click here for more information about testing.
2015 DAR Agricultural Calendar: February posted on Feb 25
February’s contest winner was Amanda Bettle, who photographed sheep at The Natural Resources Trust of Easton. This photo features Dog, a former 4-H show animal and sole male sheep among the nine ewes in the Natural Resources Trust of Easton (NRT) flock. It is the mission …Continue Reading 2015 DAR Agricultural Calendar: February
2015 DAR Agricultural Calendar: January posted on Jan 26
January’s contest winner was Renee Finnegan, who photographed a pensive Highland cow at Oak Meadows Farm & Garden in Rutland. Glenn and Mary Kauppila have been farming 100 acres of land in Rutland for approximately 15 years. With the help of their three adult children, they …Continue Reading 2015 DAR Agricultural Calendar: January
Visit Winter Farmers’ Markets for Holiday Gifts posted on Dec 5
While performers serenade shoppers with upbeat or easy-listening music, farmers and food producers sell a wide variety of local food throughout the winter at over 40 winter farmers’ markets this season. Those who have not yet visited a winter market might be surprised by …Continue Reading Visit Winter Farmers’ Markets for Holiday Gifts