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Posts Tagged: Poultry

In memoriam: Duncan McMartin

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 McMartin
Duncan Alexander McMartin passed away peacefully at home on Jan. 14, 2017, from complications following routine surgery.

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.

Posted on Thursday, February 16, 2017 at 4:18 PM

Help needed to survey small-scale livestock and poultry owners

Cooperative Extension specialists are trying to identify the needs of small-scale farms and urban animal agriculture in the western United States.  Alda Pires, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the School of Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis, requests your help in reaching livestock and poultry owners to complete a survey.

“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

All answers will remain completely confidential and no personal information will be recorded.

For more information, contact Pires at (530) 754-9855 or A flyer can be downloaded at

Posted on Friday, May 13, 2016 at 5:35 PM
Tags: Alda Pires (6), Livestock (3), May 2016 (16), Poultry (5), Small Farms (2)

In memoriam: John Voris

John Voris
John C. Voris, a UC ANR Cooperative Extension poultry specialist and aviculturist, died on March 19 in Clovis. He was 81.

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.

Posted on Monday, April 27, 2015 at 2:57 PM
Tags: John Voris (1), Poultry (5)

Register for poultry workshop by May 1

People who work with backyard poultry owners, or are interested in working with them, are invited to attend a two-day poultry training course at UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine on June 22 and 23.

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 by Friday, May 1. For more information, contact Cadena at or (619) 761-1258.

Posted on Sunday, April 26, 2015 at 10:10 PM
Tags: poultry (5)

Poultry website answers questions about chickens

If you get questions about raising poultry,whether backyard or commercial flock, ANR has a website that can help: The website was created by Maurice Pitesky, UC ANR Cooperative Extension poultry health specialist in the School of Veterinary Medicine at UC Davis.

The site answers questions about raising and feeding birds and protecting them from avian flu and other diseases. It provides information for poultry production enterprises of all sizes:

For more information about poultry or the website, contact Pitesky at (530) 752-3215 or

Posted on Wednesday, February 18, 2015 at 5:17 PM

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