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Backyard Chickens

Farming has started. We have twelve tomato plants one foot high in pots, two hundred chickens in brooders and a new cow. There are many discouragements in the farmer's life. The old cow got at a bag of grain left open in the barn floor and got an overdose of feed that rather dried up her milk. But all we had to do was buy a new cow.

--Robert Frost. Letter from Robert Frost to daughter Lesley Frost Francis, May 20, 1943. Quoted in Family Letters of Robert and Elinor Frost. Arnold E. Grade, (ed). State University of New York Press. (1972), p. 242

This exhibit includes materials about the practice of raising chickens on a small-scale in the backyard or as a sideline to a larger farm setting. It contains a selection of materials on current and historical methods of raising chickens to supplement single families' income or to fulfill personal interests. The final sections include articles describing current USDA research on various aspects of "sideline" poultry raising and links to the research units working in this area of poultry production.

(Click any image in this exhibit to get more information, including access to full text)