An upcoming series of virtual classes, hosted by Cultivating Success Idaho, will help those interested in maintaining a flourishing flock of chickens. Whether raising the birds for meat, or tending them for egg collection, this four-class course will help small-scale chicken tenders develop a more nuanced understanding of the factors involved.

Backyard chickens, it turned out, were one of the hottest trends of 2020. The New York Times explored this trend in a March article, “America Stress-Bought All the Baby Chickens,” and noted that while there’s a typical uptick in the purchase of baby chicks in the week prior to Easter, the pandemic inspired so many new poultry enthusiasts many locations and vendors were entirely sold out. This course offers an opportunity for community members to explore the next steps on their micro-agriculture path, and how to turn a backyard flock into an income stream.

“From baby chicks to laying hens and drumsticks – are you looking to explore and expand your skills in small-scale poultry production? This course guides beginning producers through the process of raising poultry for profit,” explained the event description. “We will cover goals and record keeping, to bird nutrition and housing, egg handling, and meat processing. Join Extension Educators and poultry farming professionals for this comprehensive experience that’s something to crow about!”

Cultivating Success Idaho is a collaborative educational effort between the University of Idaho Extension and Rural Roots. The program’s vision is to increase producer and consumer understanding, value, and support of sustainable local farming systems in Idaho and Washington through educational and experiential opportunities. Partners in this program strive to create strong communities with infrastructures that provide the resources and skills needed to produce local and sustainable food and agricultural products for the residents of the region.

Upcoming courses will tackle other small-scale agricultural endeavors like starting a sustainable a market garden, financial management of your farm endeavor, and the legal nuances around running these kinds of businesses.

Scratching Below the Surface: Idaho Small-Scale Poultry Production will include four virtual two-hour sessions: 6:30-8:30 pm on Jan. 14, 21, 28 and Feb. 4. The program cost is $75, and scholarships are available. Visit the Cultivating Success Idaho Facebook page for more details and a link to course registration, or search for the course on EventBrite.com.