North

Farmers of feathers flock together at Whitehorse chicken workshop

The thought of raising chickens shouldn’t ruffle your feathers. That’s the message from the Yukon Agricultural Association.

Yukon Agricultural Association teaches tips for raising chickens

Yukon Young Farmers vice-president Darrin Sinclair with his hen, Patrik Lainegg. (Jane Sponagle/CBC)

The thought of raising chickens shouldn't ruffle your feathers — that's the message from the Yukon Agricultural Association that hosted a chicken workshop over the weekend.

The Raising Chickens 101 workshop was directed at everyone from urban farmers with backyard chickens in Whitehorse to larger scale operations outside the capital.

Backyard chickens grew in popularity in Whitehorse over the past few years, but the trend is growing in other parts of the territory. A chicken processing plant is expected to open later this year in Marsh Lake.

Yukon Young Farmers vice president Darrin Sinclair said he hopes the takeaway from Sunday's workshop is "I can do this."

"There's a perfect way to do things, but the slightly less than perfect way is still acceptable," said Sinclair, who led the workshop.

"It will get you more in touch with your food. Your kids will see how eggs are made and how food is made and it's a great way to reuse your kitchen compost."

The workshop was a chance to teach newcomers the basics of chicken rearing — from what breeds fit one's farming needs to how to hatch eggs and care for new chicks.

During a break, Sinclair even showed one participant how to clip a hen's wings.

Darrin Sinclair demonstrates how to clip a chicken's wings on his hen, Patrik Lainegg. (Jane Sponagle/CBC)

Other practical information included how to avoid wildlife conflicts and how to keep your flock healthy.  

About 20 people attended the course, and experienced chicken farmers ended up sharing tips and tricks that have worked for them.

One farmer said the large cardboard boxes used to display produce in grocery stores work well for brooding chicks.

Sinclair said he uses children's wading pool for that period.

One resource for chicken tips? Pinterest — the website that's perhaps more closely associated with over-the-top do-it-yourself projects.

There was also Yukon specific advice about how to make a coop more energy efficient and how to protect your flock from frostbite.

Patrik Lainegg was just one of Darrin Sinclair's hens to take part in Sunday's Raising Chickens 101 workshop. (Jane Sponagle/CBC)

Participant David Lozada said it was good to get the basics and to hear how other people were raising chickens.

"Whenever I'm ready to experiment myself then I'll have better knowledge and better basis to start with," said Lozada.

Lozada just moved to a property outside Whitehorse. He's planning to add chickens to his hobby farm next summer.

About the Author

Jane Sponagle is a reporter for CBC North based in Whitehorse. Jane started her CBC career with The World This Hour in Toronto before heading to the North. After a few months in Yellowknife, Jane moved to Iqaluit where she spent six years reporting on politics, food security and housing. She has also reported with CBC in Halifax.

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