Backyard poultry flocks in France: A diversity of owners and biosecurity practices - INRAE - Institut national de recherche pour l’agriculture, l’alimentation et l’environnement Access content directly
Journal Articles Preventive Veterinary Medicine Year : 2021

Backyard poultry flocks in France: A diversity of owners and biosecurity practices


Over the past few years, the number of backyard poultry flocks has been increasing in France. A mandatory step to improve backyard poultry management is to assess health risks by characterizing the flocks and understanding the owners' motivations for keeping poultry and their husbandry practices. A survey of backyard poultry owners was conducted in France to gather information about their motivations for owning poultry, flock characteristics, and breeding and biosecurity practices. The survey was completed by 1,160 owners. The major motivations for owning poultry flocks were egg consumption (93.3 %), recycling (72.4 %) and having pet animals (53.2 %). Most owners had already heard about avian influenza (96.7 %), but were less aware about other diseases such as Newcastle Disease (41.6 %), salmonellosis (79.1 %), or campylobacteriosis (18.6 %). Owners mainly kept only egg-layers (78.4 %), and the median size flock was five egg-layers. Owners gave eggs to their relatives, occasionally or regularly, in 86.6 % of the cases. Contacts with other family poultry owners were frequent (68.9 %) and biosecurity practices were poorly implemented: 50 % of owners did not wash their hands systematically after visiting the flock and more than 60 % of owners did not wear specific shoes. Drawing from the survey data, five profiles of family poultry flocks were identified with multiple correspondence analysis and hierarchical cluster analysis. The profiles, based on flock characteristics and owners' practices and motivations, illustrate the heterogeneity of the backyard poultry sector: 1) urban poultry, 2) traditional poultry, 3) student poultry, 4) pet poultry and 5) hobby poultry. Urban poultry consisted of recently constituted (< 2 years old), small (< 3 birds) flocks of layers, and traditional poultry of older, medium-sized flocks belonging to retired and older people. These two profiles were characterized by limited contacts (direct or indirect) with other flocks and owners. Student poultry consisted of younger owners (<30 years old) with flocks over 5 years old. Pet poultry consisted of recently established, medium-size flocks of layers located in both rural or urban environments. Hobby poultry consisted of dedicated owners who breed and sell poultry and participate in exhibitions and poultry shows. Pet and hobby poultry profiles were characterized by greater knowledge of diseases and biosecurity practices, more bird movements, and reported more frequent clinical signs. The observation of different profiles can help target veterinary and public health education messages to prevent disease transmission in backyard poultry flocks in France.

Dates and versions

hal-03412993 , version 1 (03-11-2021)



Marie Souvestre, Mattias Delpont, Claire Guinat, Camille Dumat, Laureen Guichard, et al.. Backyard poultry flocks in France: A diversity of owners and biosecurity practices. Preventive Veterinary Medicine, 2021, 197, ⟨10.1016/j.prevetmed.2021.105511⟩. ⟨hal-03412993⟩
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