Chickens are the gateway livestock

Press Release – Farm Start – Guelph, June 26 2013

“Chickens are definitely the gateway animal for new farmers” says Rebecca Hodges who organizes FarmStart’s Pastured Poultry workshop. The workshop is designed to take farmers with little to no experience raising poultry on pasture, and teach them how to do everything from brooder design to calculating sales costs to take advantage of the growing market for locally raised pastured meats.

Raising chickens outdoors has several advantages. The birds are able to forage for insects and plants, which saves on feed costs, and results in meat and eggs, which are rich in vitamins due the birds diverse diet. Tarrah Young is the farmer who teaches the workshop. She and her husband Nathan Carey own Green Being Farm, where they produce pastured chicken, pork, beef, and lamb, as well as grow vegetables for a CSA, community supported agriculture program. Young raises heritage breed hens who lay beautiful blue, and green coloured eggs. With the supply management system Young can raise 100 layers, and 300 meat birds, which she has no problem selling quickly to customers eager for a product unavailable in the grocery stores. The meat chickens rotate around the farm in “chicken tractors” which are moved to fresh patch of grass everyday. According to Young “One of the reasons pastured chicken is a great livestock to start out with is that it is an easy enterprise to get set-up. There is little capital investment, and the meat and eggs taste so good compared to what you find in the grocery store, customers will keep coming back!”

Young became interested in farming while studying Environmental Biology at the University of Guelph. After graduation she gained experience working on farms in Canada, and around the world, before starting her own business. During the workshop Tarrah will cover everything you need to know about pastured poultry from feeding and grazing options, to natural health care, breed selection, processing, marketing, and economics. The workshop is suitable for new farmers, as well as experienced farmers who have never raised poultry on pasture before.

FarmStart is a charitable organization that encourages and supports a new generation of farmers to develop locally oriented, ecologically sound and economically viable farm businesses. They provide flexible training opportunities, and also connect new farmers with resources, peers, mentors, and land.

The Pastured Poultry Workshop will be on Saturday, July 13, from 9:30am-4:30pm. To register and for more information click here or contact or 519.836.7046 x 103. To learn more about Green Being Farm visit their website.

Contact Information:


Rebecca Hodges

Training Resources Program Co-ordinator

5420 Hwy 6 North, Orchard Park Office Centre, Guelph, ON

519.836.7046 x 105

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