Monday, June 21, 2010

Poultry events

Knowledgeable poultry people share their experience with people who are getting started. Two events coming up in New Hampshire, Massachusetts and New York are:

The 3rd annual Barrington (New Hampshire) Farm Tour Day is coming up on June 27th. Farms will be open from 10am-4pm and there are eight farms to visit this year. Yellow House Farm is on the tour,

“We specialize in foundational breeds of heritage chickens, ducks, geese and turkeys for the production of meat and eggs. Gradually we are developing a permaculture model to complement our breed preservation and hatchery efforts. We also cultivate many heirloom vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers, combining beauty and production. At Yellow House Farm we are developing a curricula of classes and seminars for our friends and neighbors to promote our collective efforts to create a more beautiful and sustainable local culture of awareness. Come and Enjoy!!”
Find a map and descriptions of the other seven farms at Seacoast Eat Local,


ACUSHNET, 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 Acushnet, Cynda Williams will teach a workshop on the basics of raising backyard poultry at The Clover Path Garden on 191 Quaker Lane from 3pm-6pm.

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.”

Williams who will be teaching the workshop in Acushnet raises certified organic chickens. In her workshop, participants will learn to choose breeds for their flock, to raise day-old chicks to maturity, to properly store and feed whole grains and sprouted grains, to provide good housing for all seasons, to establish fencing to protect the birds; to apply inventive ideas for shade and shelter; to discern whether organic is for you, to understand molting and flock health issues, and to check local laws and regulations for keeping poultry. Bringing a notebook and camera is advised. Handouts will be provided.

Williams said, “Watching chickens is better entertainment than TV. All my chicken friends say the same thing. Chickens eat insects, especially ticks and mosquitoes. I’ve had no ticks since I started free-ranging chickens in my yard. For people trying to persuade their local boards of health that it would be a good idea to allow raising of chickens in urban settings, looking at the reduction of the Lyme-bearing deer tick populations would be a great angle. I feel a great freedom being able to move around my yard without the fear of Lyme infection.”

“For me, hearing the rooster crow is akin to hearing the first Red-Winged Blackbird in the spring. It always makes me smile. The return from the poultry is their eggs, whose taste is way beyond conventional eggs. It’s also the manure, which helps make the garden grow.”

“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,” he said.

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 Acushnet, workshops are also being held in the following communities: Concord, Barre, Hatfield, and Huntington. Workshop registration for the Acushnet 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, or contact Ben Grosscup 413-658-5374, Northeast Organic Farming Association/ Massachusetts Chapter, Home Office: 413-549-1568
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Learn about benefits of NOFA/Mass Membership

In New York City, you can Ride Your Bike, Visit City Chickens! July 10.

RSVP here: (not via Meetup)

Would you like to take a lazy weekend bike ride AND get familiar with small flocks of Brooklyn farm animals? Please join us on July 10 for the second City Chicken bike tour in NYC, and the first in Brooklyn.

You will learn from Brooklyn chicken keepers about raising chickens, building coops, and how they integrate their chickens into community gardens, backyard gardens and a rooftop farm. Why chickens? Chickens provide eggs and manure, eat pests, weeds and kitchen scraps, till the soil, and inspire curiosity and joy in kids of all ages. This tour is offered in partnership between Just Food and Transportation Alternatives. Eric Thomann and Owen Taylor of Just Food will lead the tour.


Saturday, July 10th 10am-2pm (end time may change)

Tour will be 8.5 miles long. It begins in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Brooklyn and ends in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. For the exact starting address, please RSVP. Please only RSVP if you can commit to coming, and if you must cancel, please let us know. We can only accept 50 people on the tour! The starting address will be made available to you via email during the week of June 28.
Bring water and a bag lunch. Some snacks and refreshments will be provided by Transportation Alternatives.

Please pass this message on to your chicken and bike loving friends!

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