Free course: what do you want to know about chicken behaviour?

Dr Vicky

5 Years
Sep 23, 2014
Hi everyone,

I am a poultry behaviour and welfare scientist, and I am developing a FREE
course which will run in spring 2015, on behaviour and welfare of chickens for the back yard producer. It will be available on the Coursera website.

What I want to know is: what do YOU want to know, so that I develop a course that you find useful? I will talk about the senses, motivation, learning, major behaviour patterns (i.e. courting, mating, nesting; feeding and drinking behaviour; social behaviours including aggression; abnormal behaviours). I will discuss the ethical and legal obligations you have as a keeper of animals, ways to assess poultry welfare, the differences in common poultry production systems, and humane culling of sick stock, transport and slaughter.

What else would you like to see? Thanks!
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If your guide is aimed at newbies i would list the following

1. the different reasons to keep back yard chickens.
a) eggs
b) meat
c) meat and eggs
d) companion/pet/educational reasons
e) concern over animal welfare in corporate farming
f) entering poultry shows
g) self sufficiency

The reasons a person has will determine what breeds he/she should focus on. It's a pretty common question. What breeds should i get for (insert goal) is a common thread topic. I would then explain the difference between dual purpose, egg laying, meat, and ornamental breeds.

Another important topic to cover would be common diseases and parasites chickens can get and how to treat/prevent them.
Thank you, very helpful

A detailed section on the nutritional/diet requirements for a chicken to be healthy especially in regards to protein and calcium would be great. Some people new to raising chickens might mistakenly believe that hens can be fed by nothing but scratch feed or cracked corn.
It sounds like you have thought of just about everything to present in your course. Two thoughts: Could you talk about the aging chickens? What can be expected behaviorally in older chickens? Also, how will your course be advertised ? I will not want to miss it. Thanks
A few areas where people have questions about welfare:

Predator proofing
Coop Ventilation and temperatures, both in Summer and Winter
Common diseases and treatment
Thanks Greta, I will consider that! I will advertise the course here once we get the landing page built (in the next month) so that you can sign up if you like.
Hi all,

Here is the course web page, where you can sign up to stay informed (the course starts in April)

Remember, the course is TOTALLY FREE, and is hosted by the University of Edinburgh, here in the UK.

Thanks again for your suggestions

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