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Posts Tagged: Maurice Pitesky

Raising backyard poultry? There’s an app for that

Backyard Poultry Central is a new smartphone app for poultry enthusiasts.

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. 

Why an App? 

Pitesky will add a video series called The Sitch. "The 'rules' will be no videos longer than 3 minutes, at least one chicken pun and no fancy words,” he said.

“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.”

If you would like to contribute backyard poultry information or have questions about the app, contact Pitesky at or Gendreau at

To download the app, search “Backyard Poultry Central” on the Google Play Store or use the QR code.
Posted on Tuesday, September 29, 2020 at 3:48 PM

Eggs tested for contaminants

Maurice Pitesky, UC Cooperative Extension poultry specialist at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, is providing free egg testing for California backyard chicken owners. Pitesky's staff is testing eggs for different types of contaminants, depending on the county the eggs are from.

He asks ANR colleagues to encourage backyard poultry owners to submit their eggs for the study.

For eggs from counties recently affected by wildfires, Pitesky will test for fire retardants. He is also looking for lead and PCBs in eggs from certain regions of the state. 

“Our goal is to better understand the connection between the environment and our food with respect to exposure to various inorganic chemicals,” said Pitesky.

Results will be shared individually with each owner, and cumulative results will be summarized and made available to the general public. 

For more information about the study and how to package and ship eggs, visit

Posted on Wednesday, February 14, 2018 at 3:10 PM
Tags: eggs (1), February 2018 (16), Maurice Pitesky (4)

UC ANR hosts Newsmakers Seminar at World Ag Expo

The Newsmakers Seminar participants were, from left, front row: Maurice Pitesky, Themis Michailides, Jeff Mitchell and Tapan Pathak, and in the back row: Glenda Humiston, Jeff Dahlberg, Beth Grafton-Cardwell, Rose Hayden-Smith, Bob Hutmacher, Lindsay Jordan, Toby O'Geen and Alison Van Eenennaam.

UC ANR held a seminar for credentialed journalists on the first day of the World Ag Expo in Tulare. The Feb. 9 seminar featured 11 key UC ANR academics who serve as expert sources for the news media on hot topics.

The seminar was hosted by VP Glenda Humiston. Each of the UCCE advisors and specialists delivered a three-minute synopsis of his or her research and outreach efforts in California, such as the spread of Asian citrus psyllid, adapting to climate change in agriculture, GMOs and more. Afterwards, they fielded questions from the reporters. 

“The Newsmakers Seminar was well-attended and well-received by reporters so we plan on hosting a similar event at next year's World Ag Expo,” said Jeannette Warnert, senior public information representative in Strategic Communications, who spearheaded the seminar. “In the fall, we will be looking for academics who are interested in building relationships with reporters to take part in the 2017 event.”

Agricultural trade reporters filed stories on several of the subjects and exchanged business cards with the scientists for future reference. The Kaweah Commonwealth newspaper published two stories by John Elliott about the seminar: On the cutting edge of agriculture: World Ag Expo's Newsmakers Seminar reveals current research and Newsmakers' Seminar reveals current research, Part 2.

The following academics participated in the seminar:

  • Beth Grafton-Cardwell, Ph.D. – UC ANR Cooperative Extension specialist in citrus entomology and director of the UC Lindcove Research and Extension Center
  • Jeff Dahlberg, Ph.D. – UC ANR Cooperative Extension specialist in agronomic crops and director of the UC Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center
  • Bob Hutmacher, Ph.D. – UC ANR Cooperative Extension specialist in cotton and director of the UC West Side Research and Extension Center
  • Lindsay Jordan – UC ANR Cooperative Extension viticulture advisor for Merced, Mariposa and Madera counties
  • Rose Hayden-Smith, Ph.D. – UC ANR Cooperative Extension advisor, editor of the UC Food Observer blog, part of UC President Janet Napolitano's Global Food Initiative
  • Themis Michailides, Ph.D. – UC ANR pathology researcher, based at Kearney Ag REC
  • Jeff Mitchell, Ph.D. – UC ANR Cooperative Extension specialist in conservation agriculture, based at Kearney Ag REC
  • Toby O'Geen, Ph.D. – UC ANR Cooperative Extension specialist in soil resources, based at UC Davis
  • Tapan Pathak, Ph.D. – UC ANR Cooperative Extension specialist in climate change adaptation in agriculture, based at UC Merced
  • Maurice Pitesky, Ph.D. – UC ANR Cooperative Extension specialist in poultry food safety, based at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine
  • Alison Van Eenennaam, Ph.D. – UC ANR Cooperative Extension specialist in animal biotechnology, based at UC Davis

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