Poultry Projects and Partners


NCAT has strong partners in developing information on alternative poultry production, including Heifer International and the Un

chicken friendsiversity of Arkansas.

Pastured Poultry: A Heifer Project International Case Study
This booklet summarizes the experiences of 35 Southern farm families who from 1996-1999 participated in a project titled “Integrating Pastured Poultry into the Farming Systems of Limited Resource Farmers,” conducted by the National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) and Heifer Project International (HPI). Project timeline: 1996-1999. Acknowledgement: USDA Southern Region SARE (R&E).

Pastured Poultry Entrepreneurship [PDF/31K]
NCAT teamed with Heifer International to help small pastured-based poultry producers who want to expand operations. Heifer International, along with other partners, established a mobile processing unit (MPU) in Kentucky. In addition to providing access to processing for small poultry producers in Kentucky, the MPU has served as a demo for others across the country in mobile unit design as well as small plant management, including HACCP. The unit is housed at the University of Kentucky and has docking stations at other locations in the state. NCAT developed technical information called Small-Scale Poultry Processing and, with the Kerr Center, Growing Your Range Poultry Business: An Enterpreneur’s Toolbox, a feasibility and business planning guide for producers expanding their business and even those building/establishing a small poultry plant. Project timeline: 1999-2003. Acknowledgement: USDA Southern Region SARE (R&E).

Label Rouge Poultry Production
In France, a program called Label Rouge (Red Label) produces a specialty poultry project that has captured 30% of the poultry market in that country. Slow-growing meat chickens are grown to 12 weeks and have outdoor access. They are fed natural diets and are processed with soft-scalding and air-chilling to maintain quality. Most Label Rouge products are named for cities or the regions in which they are produced. In May 2001 and May 2002, NCAT took a multidisciplinary team of six specialists from across the U.S. to visit Label Rouge companies and contacts in France to gather information to disseminate to US producers. Project timeline: 2001-2003. Acknowledgement: USDA Foreign Agriculture Service Scientific Cooperation Research Program.

An NCAT for-profit subsidiary, New Horizon Technologies (NHT), studied the feasibility of adapting Label Rouge poultry systems to the U.S. NHT partnered with small farmers to raise slow-growing birds and the University of Arkansas to examine the sensory attributes. Additional partners helped examine the potential of marketing programs focused on quality labeling programs. Project timeline: 2002. Acknowledgement: USDA SBIR.

Small-Scale Poultry Training
NCAT partnered with Heifer International and University of Arkansas to develop training on small-scale poultry production and provide training to extension agents and other agriculture professionals in the Southern Region. Topics include production, processing, and marketing of pasture-based poultry products.Powerpoints developed on this topic are posted under Images and can be downloaded for use by educators and producers. Project timeline: 2005-2008. Acknowledgement: USDA Southern Region SARE (PDP).

Under this project, several alternative poultry publications were translated to Spanish:

Organic Poultry Production
NCAT partnered with the University of Arkansas (UA) to examine the use of slow-growing meat chickens in organic production. The use of synthetic methionine in organic poultry diets is banned under the National Organic Program as of October 2008. In Europe, slow-growing meat chickens are used in organic production and may be useful in the U.S. Because they are less-heavily muscled than conventional broilers, the UA hypothesized that the slow-growing meat chickens have lower methionine requirements. For more information, e-mail Terrell Spencer. West Virginia University (WVU) has also partnered with the UA to examine the use of slow-growing birds with access to pasture on an integrated sheep/poultry farm. WVU has formulated organic poultry diets with fishmeal instead of synthetic methionine and used free choice feeding. For more information, please email JS Moritz. Additional research includes testing the impact of the season of the year on the performance and meat quality and an economic evaluation. Project timeline: 2004-2008. Acknowledgement: USDA Integrated Organic Program.

Project Abstracts

  • Methionine requirements of alternative slow-growing genotypes [PDF/10KB]
  • Performance of alternative meat chickens for organic markets: impact of genotype, methionine level, and methionine source [PDF/11KB]
  • The effect of grain type and choice-feeding on the performance of organically-reared broiler chickens [PDF/11KB]
  • The effect of genotype and choice-feeding on organically-reared broilers fed diets devoid of synthetic methionine [PDF/12KB]


Back to top

This page was last updated on: January 26, 2015