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: April posted on May 14
A lamb at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University in North Grafton. Photo by David Cawston April’s contest winner was David Cawston who photographed a spring lamb at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University in North Grafton. The Cummings School of …Continue Reading 2015 DAR Agricultural Calendar: April
2015 DAR Agricultural Calendar: March posted on Apr 23
Girard’s Sugarhouse in Heath, MA. The sugarhouse was built in 1887 and produces around 250-300 gallons of syrup annually. Photo by Michael Girard March’s contest winner was Michael Girard who photographed his family’s sugarhouse in Heath. Michael Girard has been a sugarmaker since 1961 when he …Continue Reading 2015 DAR Agricultural Calendar: March
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