‘Backyard poultry’ can cover anything from pampered exhibition birds to small egg-laying flocks, as well as pet chickens, and is an expanding area of veterinary medicine. Clients will range from experienced keepers to complete novices, many of whom will not be served by commercial poultry veterinary surgeons and, hence, will turn to their local practitioner for help and advice about caring for their birds. This article, the first of two discussing the veterinary approach to backyard poultry, describes the key elements of husbandry and general management of small flocks. Part 2, to be published in the April issue of In Practice, will focus on the specifics of veterinary care and disease control of poultry, with particular emphasis on the management of those conditions most likely to be seen in practice.
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