- 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.”