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Posted February 23, 2017 | 12:29 PM

Backyard Chickens 101

The inaugural Small Flock Poultry Conference will be held on Feb. 22

Calling all lovers of farm fresh chicken eggs and unusual backyard pets: Hillsborough County Extension Service has scheduled a special workshop this month for anyone interested in learning more about the latest trend in homegrown goodness.

The inaugural Small Flock Poultry Conference, geared especially toward backyard chicken owner wannabes and enthusiasts, is scheduled Wednesday, Feb. 22, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Extension office, 5339 County Road 579 in Seffner. The workshop will cover a variety of topics about raising a home flock, providing insider tips you can use whether you're a novice who is trying to learn the difference between a biddy and a brooder, or an established owner who wants to know the latest poultry whisperer techniques.

The workshop will cover such subjects as what kind of chickens to buy, how to feed and care for them, coop construction, protecting your feathered friends from other animals, egg production, and industry regulations that have to be followed if your hens are prolific and you want to sell the eggs. Presenters include experts from the UF/IFAS Central Florida Livestock Agents' Group, comprised of Extension faculty, research faculty, and Extension specialists across the state.

Before you sign up, know the zoning and community regulations where you live. For instance, in unincorporated Hillsborough County, backyard chickens are allowed only in agricultural zoned districts.

The cost for the event is $30, and includes refreshments, lunch, and handouts. The registration deadline is Monday, Feb. 20. For more information, call Francisco Rivera at (813) 744-5519 ext. 54119.

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