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Workshop on backyard chicken flocks coming to Gorham area

MAINE — University of Maine Cooperative Extension will host multiple 2-hour workshops for backyard poultry producers throughout April in Bangor, Ellsworth, Falmouth and Oxford. The first workshop is scheduled for Friday, April 19, 10 a.m.-Noon at the Penobscot County Extension Office, 307 Maine Avenue, Bangor.

The series, titled Feathered Homestead: A Comprehensive Guide to Raising Backyard Chickens in Maine, is for beginning and intermediate level producers who want to learn more about brooding chicks at home and raising laying hens in Maine. Participants will learn how to raise chicks from egg to feather and how to care for them once they are older. 

Presenters Dr. Colt W. Knight, Extension Livestock Specialist and Ashley Wright, Area Associate Livestock Agent with University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, will cover housing, nutrition, winter care and common diseases. 


Ashley Wright, M.S.

Ashley is a Livestock Area Agent with the University of Arizona Cooperative Extension, and provides leadership in extension programs focusing on livestock production and management across both large and small-scale operations in Cochise, Pima, and Santa Cruz Counties. Her programs cover a diverse array of topics crucial to the livestock industry, including herd health and management, nutrition, reproduction, genetics, and marketing. While much of her program focuses on cow-calf operations, she also works extensively with Arizona’s growing population of backyard chicken enthusiasts, especially those in areas who have recently relaxed zoning regulations to allow for urban chicken keeping. The educational content she produces covers an array of topics such as raising health chicks, poultry diseases, coop design, heat stress, nutrition, egg production, and egg safety. She lives in Vail, Arizona, just outside of Tucson and maintains a small backyard flock of laying hens.

Dr. Colt W. Knight, Ph.D.

Colt grew up in a coal mining family in West Virginia where they also operated a small family farm and show horse stable. During academic breaks and between schools, he worked in strip mines across the country. Colt earned his B.S. in Animal Science at the University of Kentucky, M.S. in Animal Science at Angelo State University, and his Ph.D. in Animal Science at the University of Arizona in 2006, 2012, and 2016, respectively. In the fall of 2016, he worked on a postdoc with Dr. Derek Bailey at New Mexico State University. Since 2017, he has worked as an Assistant Professor of Extension for the University of Maine where he serves as the State Livestock Specialist. He teaches Introduction to Animal Science (AVS 145) and runs the Maine Grazing Behavior Lab. The core focus of the Grazing Behavior lab revolves around designing and manufacturing livestock tracking collars, engaging in applied grazing behavior research, and assisting other researchers with technology to interpret animal behavior. Dr. Knight’s research is broadly focused on selecting animals uniquely adapted to landscapes and promoting sustainable agriculture. Colt is a past chair for the Society of Range Management Livestock Foraging Behavior Committee, as well as, the North East Region Chair for the National Association of County Agricultural Agent’s Teaching and Educational Technology Committee. He also serves as an Associate Editor for the journal Ecological Processes. Colt is actively engaged in outreach and has delivered over 150 seminars on livestock production since starting his career at the University of Maine.

Special thanks to Maine New Farmers Project for providing funding to host visiting speakers.

For more information or a reasonable accommodation, please contact Melissa Libby Babcock,

The cost of the program is $12 (reduced rates available) which includes lunch. Visit the program webpage for a full schedule and to register. For more information or to request a reasonable accommodation, contact Melissa Libby Babcock,

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