I’ve considered raising chickens for many reasons, and not just because of the recent popularity of the backyard chicken movement. Raising my own chickens would be more than the bucolic setting where my children skip (they must skip) out the backdoor to the chicken coop to collect eggs. (If the scene is to be complete, my daughter is most likely wearing gingham and some sort of bonnet.)
The reality is less picturesque. The fewer miles my food needs to travel, the better off my family is. With constant food recalls and salmonella poisoning as just a few reasons to be wary, finding a local source for eggs, dairy and meat is one step, in my opinion, toward good health. So for those that haven’t jumped on the chicken-raising bandwagon, attending a seminar is the perfect opportunity to find out if this is the way to bring your own food source closer to home.
Ward Lumber is once again hosting their popular free Poultry Day on March 29 from 2-6 pm at the 697 Glen Rd, Jay, N.Y. location. According to Administrative Assistant Kim Coolidge the free event is organized by Ward Lumber President Jay Ward to help promote sustainable living in the area.
The two guest speakers, Jeff Mattocks and Mike Badger, will talk about a range of topics such as breed, cost, diet, processing, predators and more. Jeff Mattocks is bringing his 20+ years of experience with the organic, natural and sustainable farming community to the table. His topics include cost analysis, air and water quality, turkeys and management practices. American Pastured Poultry Producers Association (APPPA) Director Mike Badger is covering such topics as “free-range” vs “pasture-raised,” breed selection and shelter design/selection.
Coolidge says, “Registration is required, though the event itself is free. People can also take advantage of the bulk poultry order. It is really a good way for people to start with chickens. We also rent harvesting equipment that anyone can reserve ahead of time, when the chickens are old enough to process. We also do a Poultry Processing seminar in the fall so people can learn how the processing equipment works. It is a start to finish program.”
My family is not in the market for backyard chickens yet. Instead I have taken steps to share chores with neighbors in exchange for eggs and other products. Since more and more neighbors are getting chickens, there is always more than one way to bring fresh food to the table. For now my daughter will just have to skip her way to the end of the road to collect our eggs, with gingham and bonnet optional.