Jim Adkins shows workshop attendees how to handle a rooster. (photo submitted)

A cluckin’ good time: poultry workshop draws crowd

Published 5:49pm Monday, January 14, 2013

Last Thursday, over 55 people and three chickens attended the Heritage Poultry Workshop at the Mill Spring Ag Center.

“The workshop was a great success,” said Laura Brookshire, agricultural outreach coordinator for the Mill Spring Ag Center. “Most workshop attendees were from Polk County, but we even had 12 people travel in from surrounding and nearby counties, some from as far away as Watauga County and Davie County.”

In recent years, chickens have become very popular, as people start their own backyard chicken flocks for egg and meat consumption. Pete Schuhmann, owner of Aquafields Farm in Green Creek, attended the workshop and hopes to start his own flock of chickens in the spring for his family’s egg production.

“We go through a lot of eggs each week,” said Schuhman, “and we hope having our own flock of egg layers will help us become more sustainable.”

Jim Adkins of the Sustainable Poultry Network presented the workshop. Adkins is a certified poultry judge with the American Poultry Association, and he covered the basics of breeding heritage chickens.
He also showed attendees how to determine which chickens are the most productive egg layers in their backyard flocks. This included inspecting and handling three chickens that David Burrell of Feather Footed Farm in Green Creek brought for demonstration purposes.

For many attendees, the workshop gave them the chance to hold a chicken for the first time.

For people interested in raising chickens, two more educational opportunities are up-coming. On Jan. 19, Restoration Farm in Green Creek will host a Poultry 101 class from 1– 4 p.m. that will cover the basics of housing, feeding and caring for chickens. Contact Dawn Jordan at 704-692-4358 or restorationfarm@hotmail.com to register.

On March 9, as part of the first Polk Folk Farmer’s Day, the Mill Spring Ag Center will be hosting a Heritage Poultry Swap and Sale.

Poultry swaps have become a popular way for people to learn about different breeds of chickens and add new breeds to their flocks. The poultry swap will be a great place to buy chicks or fully-grown chickens.

If you’re interested in bringing birds to the poultry swap, contact Stephen Bishop or Laura Brookshire at 828-894-2281 or stephen@polkcountyfarms.org.

– article submitted by Stephen Bishop

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