- Mon, Jun 21, 2010, 10:02 A
Intro BACKYARD POULTRY workshops
INTRODUCTORY BACKYARD POULTRY WORKSHOPS OFFERED ON SATURDAY, JULY 10 AT GRAY DOGS FARM
HUNTINGTON, MA – On Saturday, July 10, in five locations in every region of Massachusetts, Northeast Organic Farming Association/ Massachusetts Chapter (NOFA/Mass), is sponsoring five simultaneous workshops on how to raise backyard poultry. In Huntington, Ross & Alicia Hackerson will teach a workshop on the basics of raising backyard poultry at Gray Dogs Farm on 35 Church Road from 9am to noon.
Raising backyard poultry has been gaining in popularity in Massachusetts. Chicken supply stores all across the state report a major spike in business. Joleen Jurczyk who works at the Greenfield Farmer’s Cooperative Exchange compared the first of three orders for baby chicks between 2009 and 2010: “Last year there were around 800 chicks in one order and this year there were 1,800 chicks in that same order. It’s been an extraordinary increase.”
“Whenever there’s a lot of new people coming into a new hobby like this all at once, there can be a bit of a learning curve to climb,” said Ben Grosscup, Extension Events Coordinator for NOFA/Mass.
“These workshops emphasize raising poultry in a way that is healthy for the birds and for the people eating their eggs and meat. These workshops are for people who are new at raising backyard birds and looking for some pointers from experts for having a successful year.”
The Hackersons who will be teaching the workshop in Huntington raise 70 layers and 100 broilers each year. In their workshop, they will cover the entire process from chick to customer. Topics include breeds, brooder, housing, equipment, fence, predators, pasture, rotations, feed, and marketing. Participants will visit the broilers and the replacement layers in chicken tractors, and they’ll visit the mature layers in a mobile “pastured poultry” chicken house. The Hackersons say that small scale poultry operations offer income possibilities in addition to the food provided by any backyard flock.
Ross Hackerson said, “We raise birds as a way to make some extra income, to lower our food bill, and because it is fun. It’s also a great way to educate kids about agriculture and responsibility.”
“Every day I wake up, rain or shine, and I let the chickens out of the mobile chicken house into the pasture. I get to watch the Sun come up and interact with the land and my animals. It’s a different way of experiencing life, and I love it,” he said.
“Raising chickens for food is a great way to save money while also making you directly aware of where your food comes from,” said Grosscup. “Whether it’s the backyard garden or the backyard chicken coop, taking responsibility for where our food comes from is on the rise.”
Julie Rawson, NOFA/Mass Executive Director, has been teaching workshops on backyard poultry for years. “Sharing the knowledge people need to raise their own food has been the mission of NOFA since it began more than 30 years ago. Today, with the economic and ecological crises that we're in, I think a lot of people are once again turning toward backyard poultry because it is cost efficient and it’s a great way to improve our food security,” she said.
In addition to Huntington, workshops are also being held in the following communities: Concord, Acushnet, Barre, and Hatfield. Workshop registration for the Hatfield workshop is $30. There is a $5 discount for NOFA members and a $5 discount for those who register by June 26. For information on how to register, visit <http://www.nofamass..../backyardpoultry.php>, or contact Ben Grosscup 413-658-5374 <email@example.com>.
Northeast Organic Farming Association/ Massachusetts Chapter
67 North Whitney St Apt 4, Amherst, MA 01002
Home Office: 413-549-1568
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