Judy Whalen shows Nancy Fox how to hold chickens

Judy Whalen shows Nancy Fox how to hold chickens during the one-day workshop being offered by the University of New Brunswick. (CBC)

Backyard chickens are gaining popularity in southern New Brunswick and now there's a one-day workshop being offered by the University of New Brunswick to anyone who's interested.

Judy Whalen, who has kept a flock for 35 years on her half-acre property in Quispamsis, has teamed up with the university's College of Extended Learning to teach others how to do the same.

"I couldn't believe the interest there has been," said Whalen, who has held five workshops to date and is planning another next month.

"People are really searching for answers, how to raise their own food, find out where their food comes from, supporting local, it is a big movement," she said.

Whalen says raising and keeping hens is an enjoyable pastime, accessible to anyone with a lawn. She sells eggs every week at the Kingston Farmers Market.

One of her students, Nancy Fox, who is a chef by trade, is looking forward to settling a trio of hens on her property in nearby Hampton.

"The taste of a freshly laid egg, really there's no comparison to what you get at the grocery store," said Fox.

Whalen says there's also the satisfaction of caring for the birds — even through the ice and snow of winter.

"I was like, 'What am I doing with these birds? Then I would get to the hen house and they're singing their little song and I'm like, 'Yup, that's why.'"