- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
Backyard chicken owners can now get UC research-based information about raising poultry from a smartphone Backyard Poultry Central app.
“As far as I am aware, it is the first poultry app from an academic institution and it will focus on sharing science-based info in a practical and entertaining way,” said Maurice Pitesky, UC Cooperative Extension specialist, who developed the app with Joseph Gendreau, research data analyst in his lab at School of Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis.
“The number of mobile users today is greater than the number of desktop users,” Pitesky said. “The California Department of Food and Agriculture and U.S. Department of Agriculture and UC Cooperate Extension have websites, but we currently do not have a mobile app to communicate with backyard poultry stakeholders.”
Apps have several inherent advantages over websites, Pitesky said. Users don't need an internet connection to access information in the app and it enables him to observe user engagement, such as the amount of time spent on the app.
“Apps are also considered more effective at communicating via mobile app or push notifications and eliciting interactions with various stakeholders,” Pitesky said.
The home screen currently displays static welcome text in English and Spanish. The app features a scrolling list of videos and a dashboard with links to documents. It currently has three videos and eight PDFs. New material will be rolled out at least every 2 weeks.
“I will also be posting a new video called ‘The Sitch' every two weeks,” Pitesky said. “The Sitch will cover backyard poultry topics in a fun and practical manner. The 'rules' will be no videos longer than 3 minutes, at least one chicken pun and no fancy words.”
It is currently available only for Android devices 5.0 and above, but Gendreau plans to develop an iOS version in the near future.
“We originally developed BYP Central as a way to distribute information to backyard poultry owners during the virulent Newcastle disease outbreak in Southern California,” Gendreau said. “It's basically a place where we can post informational videos, flyers, etc. and issue alerts for outbreaks to backyard owners.”
The app is still in active development and Pitesky and Gendreau are open to suggestions.
“I am working on adding search features and improving the user interface,” Gendreau said. “We can add content at any time.”
Duncan McMartin, UC Cooperative Extension poultry specialist emeritus in the School of Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis, died Jan. 14. The following obituary was provided by his daughter Shona Hilton.
Duncan was born on March 30, 1932, to Alistair and Jean McMartin, at East Lodge on the Rannoch Estate at the west end of Loch Rannoch, Scotland, where his father was head gamekeeper. Duncan, along with his siblings Betty, Jessie and David, enjoyed a country childhood. Some of his best days were spent out on the moors or loch, hunting and fishing, more often than not with a dog by his side. His stories of growing up in such a wild and beautiful environment during a bygone era have kept friends and family entertained and inspired for many years.
He attended the tiny primary school Georgetown School at Bridge of Gaur and then Breadalbane Academy, Aberfeldy. He boarded in the hostel with other remote-living pupils and during the week he continued his fiddle lessons with Miss McGregor. Duncan first began these lessons earlier in Rannoch with John Robertson, and playing Scottish fiddle music became a lifelong passion for him.
After leaving school, he spent two years in the Army doing his National Service.
In 1957, he graduated in Veterinary Medicine at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh, Scotland. Following this he was employed as assistant specialist in the Experiment Station at UC Davis and received his doctorate in Comparative Pathology from UC Davis in 1961.
During these years in Davis he met and married his loving wife of nearly 50 years, Hyla Tinklepaugh (who passed away in 2007). The couple soon moved back to Scotland where he worked for the British Ministry of Agriculture Veterinary Laboratory at Lasswade, near Edinburgh, becoming Head of Microbiology there. For his outstanding work on eradication of M. gallisepticum from commercial poultry in Britain, he was awarded the Hall Gold Medal by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, London, in 1969.
During this time Duncan and Hyla raised four children - Christina, Duncan, John and Shona - at their home in the small village of Edgehead, Midlothian. Here he enjoyed the idyllic life of a small country village with many great friends and neighbors. He was active in the local community and had great times and memories of local social events and gatherings.
In 1980, Duncan was appointed as a Cooperative Extension specialist in the School of Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis and he and his family emigrated to the U.S. His career was focused on the impact of diseases on large and small commercial flocks of layers and broilers, but he also had interests in pet and exotic birds. Duncan considered it his privilege to travel throughout California liaising with individual farmers, practicing veterinarians and poultry companies and applying the latest scientific research and knowledge to the health and welfare challenges facing the agricultural community. He developed a dynamic applied research program aimed at eradicating and controlling bacterial and viral diseases that confronted the poultry industry. His research and leadership contributions to avian health and food safety were recognized both nationally and internationally with numerous invitations to speak at professional conferences along with providing his expertise to state and federal regulatory/governmental agencies. Additionally, Duncan enthusiastically and readily shared his knowledge about poultry care and health with his colleagues, veterinary residents, college students and many young people. He retired from UC Davis in 1993.
Duncan was well-known and loved, especially within the Scottish community in California. An accomplished fiddle-player and Gaelic speaker, he brought joy to people as he shared his love of Scottish music and culture, often with a wee dram in hand. He was a longtime member of the Caledonian Club of San Francisco and a founding member of the Dixon Scottish Cultural Association in which he participated in many activities. He was involved in helping with the sheepdog trials and fiddling, and was well known for his dramatic and inspirational rendition of Burns' “Address to the Haggis.” He had an amazing memory and often regaled others with music, songs and his vast historical knowledge. Duncan was also known for his kindness, wit and humble nature; he always saw the best in others and went out of his way to be there for family and friends around him. He will be greatly missed.
Duncan is survived by his sons Duncan and John, daughters Shona and Christina, sister Betty, grandchildren Laura, Andrew, Lex and Jake, and will also be lovingly remembered by many extended family members and friends.
There will be no immediate service, but a celebration of his life will be held this summer in Davis and a service will be held in Scotland. Both will be announced in due time. Although he lived in his adopted home of Davis for many years, his heart was always back in Scotland. His family will be returning him home to Rannoch, along with Hyla, to be buried there.
“We are seeking help in this needs assessment regarding animal health concerns on small-scale farms and for peri-urban and urban animal agriculture in California, Colorado, Oregon and Washington State,” said Pires, who is leading the study with Dale Moore of Washington State University and Ragan Adams of Colorado State University.
Peri-urban and urban animal agriculture refers to raising food animals within residential areas with the goal of producing animal products to eat themselves or to distribute locally. The farms included in this study have gross annual sales of less than $500,000 with a maximum of 500 goats or sheep, 100 cows or 100 pigs, or are poultry producers who process or sell fewer than 1,000 chickens per year.
The increasing popularity of local food production and sustainability has boosted interest in small-scale farming and urban animal agriculture.
“This survey aims to identify the needs of livestock and poultry owners related to animal health, animal husbandry and food safety; and the role that veterinarians play on small farms,” Pires said. “This study will serve as a benchmark for designing effective educational programs to train farmers, backyard producers and veterinarians working within this sector.”
The survey takes about 15-20 minutes and can be accessed at http://ucanr.edu/smalllivestocksurvey.
All answers will remain completely confidential and no personal information will be recorded.
- Author: Pamela Kan-Rice
Voris joined UCCE in the Department of Animal Science at UC Davis in 1982 and worked with San Joaquin Valley turkey producers until he retired in 1999.
Based at the Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center near Parlier, Voris helped San Joaquin Valley farmers face a formidable obstacle to the industry's expansion: resistance from neighbors. He worked with the turkey industry to develop a set of guidelines for locating turkey facilities that became an ordinance in Fresno County and is used by planners in Kings, Tulare, Merced and Madera counties. The pamphlet “Development of Poultry Guidelines to Regulate Interface with Neighbors” includes a “windshed diagram,” a transparent guide that can be placed on maps to determine which areas will be impacted by odors from a proposed new facility.
Voris also researched the composting of dead turkeys and the application of that compost to crops, as well as turkey management and waste management.
Prior to working for UC, he worked for 25 years with Nicolas Turkey Breeding Farm in Sonoma.
The Ojai native graduated from Humboldt State University and received a master's degree in wildlife management from Iowa State University in 1957.
Voris is survived by daughters Delfina and Linda, brother James and former wife Viola. A memorial service will be held in Sonoma in the summer.
The two-day course will be lecture and lab-based and held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The course will cover food safety, public health, animal health, necropsy skills, husbandry skills and welfare and behavior. Instructors will include experts from the California Department of Food and Agriculture, California Animal Health and Food Safety (CAHFS) laboratory system, UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, UC ANR Cooperative Extension and the UC Davis Department of Animal Science.
The registration fee including lunch is covered by the California Department of Food and Agriculture. To register, email Myrna Cadena at firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, May 1. For more information, contact Cadena at email@example.com or (619) 761-1258.