Enabling Local Agriculture — One Family Flock at a Time.
A Project of the Gossamer Foundation
A nonprofit organization dedicated to global sustainability and local foods
You will learn how raise and keep chickens—and even more importantly—how to employ them. Hands-on, real-life information and techniques provide practical cutting-edge techniques about how to integrate family flocks into yards and gardens to benefit the owner, neighborhood and community. Course materials and transcripts will be availble to participants so if you miss a session you can still keep up with the fast-paced training.
Registration will open soon.
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We guarantee that after completing the Primary Series
you will know how to raise, keep and employ chickens
to help feed yourself, and others, for the rest of your life!
"Give a person eggs and they can have an omelette.
Teach them how to raise and employ chickens,
and they can eat—and garden—for a lifetime."
This primary workshop series contains unique information not taught elsewhere. These ultra-intensive,entertaining classes are hands-on, simple to understand, and practical. Over 480 slides give visual clarity. This training gives you the knowledge and skills to not only keep a family flock, but employ them as garden workers, topsoil creators and first-class entertainers.
Text book for the primary series is City Chicks: Keeping Chickens as Garden Helpers, Compost Creators, Biorecyclers and Local Food Suppliers, by Patricia Foreman. Workshops are available live and on-line. Contact training@ChickensAndYOU to schedule courses in your area.
101. The Chicken Have-More Plan — Free 1 hour seminar will be available online soon as an audio, and as a download.
There is a back to the land movement and it’s happing in backyards and on small parcels of land across the planet. By employing chickens’ skill sets, and permaculture design principles in kitchen and production gardens you can grow and produce much of your own vegetables, eggs and meat. This not only saves on grocery bills, but you are assured that your food is grown in living, clean soils and the food, using and preserving heirloom seeds, is high in vitamins and minerals. With small-scale, labor-saving methods, you will learn how to minimize work and maximize production in your spare time, and have fun doing it. Developing your own chicken have-more plan is the most practical way to Occupy Backyards, and at the same time, stretch income and keep yourself, and your family, in good health. Suggested Reading: City Chicks, Chicken Tractor, Empty Harvest: Understanding the Link Between Our Food, Our Immunity, and Our Planet, by Dr. Benard Jensen and Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed by Jared Diamond.
102. Laying Hens for Egg Production
This is a comprehensive, participatory course for those who want to keep small family flocks of primarily egg laying hens. Beginning with adult birds this workshop covers the main considerations of caring for your hens including, hen anatomy and physiology, behavior, handling, health, nutrition, egg management, and housing. We will explore which chicken breeds tend to do best in various climates. All questions will be answered. You will leave with the knowledge necessary about successfully keeping chickens in your backyard. Textbook: City Chicks.
103. Starting from Scratch with Baby Chicks
Nothing is cuter than a baby chick. Watching their rapid development from—peep to pullet—is a miracle. During the brooding time, you have the role of keeper and guardian angel. This intensive, interactive, hands-on course covers chick anatomy & physiology, behavior, health, nutrition, housing, breed selection, and more. All questions will be answered. By the end of the course you will know everything you need to know about successfully—and expertly—raise your very own baby chicks from day one to point-of-lay. Textbook: City Chicks.
104. Garden Chicks: Introduction to Growing Food With Family Flocks
This cutting-edge, ever-expanding, interactive workshop gives you practical, and effective ways to employ chickens in your garden or homestead. Learn how chickens create and enrich topsoil. Understand that not all chicken feed has to come from bags. Learn how chickens forage—and which food they prefer. Use your yard as a mini-pasture (including rotational grazing systems) to build soil fertility, provide fresh graze. Control insects, including ticks and fleas. Integrate different types of fencing by understanding what works, and what doesn't. Jump start your gardens with chicken-assisted biomass recycling that transforms trash into black gold. Begin birdscaping, which is planting trees, shrubs. perennials and annuals that your flock will perpetually love.
Best of all, we will talk about getting truly wholesome, nutritious, non-GMO homegrown food for both you and your flock. This is truly a “Think Outside the Coop and Inside Local Food Systems“ workshop. Textbook: City Chicks: Keeping Micro-flocks of Chickens as Garden Helpers, Compost Creators, Bio-recyclers and Local Food Suppliers.
201. Intro to Primary Poultry Health Care & The Poultry's Pharmacy
Learn the essential of preventative disease management that utilizes proactive care to keep your flock healthy. You will learn about considerations for housing, air quality, feed, water and special challenges that you might face with your flock. You will learn how to treat the most common diseases as well as wounds and trauma. Includes hands-on administration of treatments and wound care. Learn how to use or make simple, but effective treatments without prescription drugs. This workshop teaches you what you need to know to avoid most veterinary bills. Text book: City Chicks
202. Residential Composting & Biomass Recycling with Chicken Helpers
The chickens in your family flock have skill sets that can be used to create compost, fertilize and build tilth in top soil. And simultaneously, they help decrease the amount of “trash” that is collected by the solid waste management system. Learn how your feathered bipeds can serve as clucking civic workers to help save BIG TIME tax payer dollars and as Partners Toward Zero Waste for communities and counties. Text book: City Chicks.
203. Way of the Hen: Incubating and Brooding Naturally
Using, managing and understanding broody hens is almost a lost art. And yet, broody hens happen. With the surge of family flocks, many poultry owners are wondering what to do with their broody moody biddies. From our literature searches there is very little practical information about employing hens to incubate eggs, and brood chicks naturally. In many ways, this is a key not only to family flock self-sufficiency, but also to preserving the heritage breeds. Textbook: City Chicks.
204. The Basics of Chicken Whispering: Discover the Chicken You Never Knew. There are ways to handle and communicate with chickens that can result in trust, gentleness and even an emotional bond. But first you must learn how a chicken thinks, and prefers to be treated. It’s sometimes not what you think. Some birds can even be trained to serve as therapy chickens and class room assistants. Get close and personal with your biddy buddy. Learn the basics of chicken whispering in this cutting-edge, hands-on, nose-to-beak workshop. Textbook: City Chicks.
Closing. Final questions, exam, evaluations &
awarding the Backyard Chicken Keeper Diploma—suitable for framing
Patricia Foreman is a sustainable agricultural writer and an avid poultry and local foods advocate. She graduated from Purdue University with degrees in Agriculture (Animal Science, genetics and nutrition) and Pharmacy (clinical) and . She earned a Masters of Public Affairs (MPA) from Indiana University’s Graduate School of Public and Environmental Affair— with concentrations in Health Systems Administration and International Affairs. She completed the Virginia Master Gardener Training.
Pat has kept poultry for over 25 years, and has experience ranging from backyard homestead flocks to owning and operating a small-scale farm with free range, organic layers, broilers and turkeys. The commercial operation included keeping breeder flocks, incubating eggs, pasturing poultry, finished processing and formulating feeds.
Pat is the author of City Chicks: Keeping Chickens as Garden Helpers, Compost Creators, Bio-recyclers and Local Food Suppliersm And the co-author of:
• Chicken Tractor: The Permaculture Guide to Happy Hens and Healthy Soils
• Day Range Poultry: Every Chicken Owner's Guide to Grazing Gardens and Improving Pastures
• Backyard Market Gardening: The Entreprenure's Guide to Selling What You Grow,
• A Tiny Home to Call Your Own; Living Well in Just Right Houses.
Pat is the course creator of the Chickens and You™ Training Series—leading to the Master Backyard Chicken Keeper™ Certification.
She has presented workshops and book signings at major national festivals and conferences across the US, including Mother Earth Festivals, Green Festivals, National Heirloom Festival, Monticello Heritage Harvest Festival, Pennsylvania Renewable Energy and Sustainable Living Festivals, and many others. For the schedule Pat and Oprah Hen-Free's upcoming public workshops click here.
In 2011 she completed a 6 week book tour in California, Arizona and New Mexico. The tour was sponsored by the Santa Barbara Permaculture Network. Pat travels and presents workshops with her incredibly popular chicken celebrity. Oprah Hen-Free. Inspiration for the Declaration to Occupy Backyards.
Pat's chickens are her teachers. She keeps an eye-candy flock of heritage chickens to continually give her insights about chicken whispering, gainfully employing poultry, gardening and researching future books. As valuable, is the entertainment of the flock's antics and mentoring. Ever discovering more about the usefulness and inner life of chickens, Pat has books in production.
• The Way of the Hen: Incubating Eggs and Brooding Chicks Naturally is due out later this year.
• Garden Chicks: Growing Food With—and For Chickens is scheduled to be released spring of 2014
• Chicken Whispering: Discover the Chicken You Never Knew—is scheduled for the fall of 2014.
Course Organizer, Lisa Dearden, has lived in Goochland County with her husband, James, since 2002. She is grows vegetables, herbs, fruits and berries year-round on her 10 acre mini-farm in Sandy Hook, which she manages organically using biointensive methods. She raises chickens, dairy goats, rabbits and alpacas and uses the fresh eggs, milk, fleece and manure they produce.
Lisa earned an Associate’s in Applied Science in Horticulture Degree from J. Sargeant Reynolds, where she focused her studies on sustainable agriculture. She is the founder of the college’s Sustainable Agriculture Club. Lisa has been a Master Gardener since 2004 and completed her certification as a Permaculture Design Consultant in 2007.
Lisa had a 20+ year career in sales, marketing and training and has been working in the sustainable agriculture industry since 2005. She now owns her own company, ChiknEGG Productions, LLC. ChikEGG runs a large-scale farmers market in Manakin-Sabot and offers agriculturally-themed educational programs throughout Central Virginia. Lisa serves on the Board of Directors for the Goochland Chamber of Commerce, the Virginia Farmers Market Direct Marketing Association, and the Gossamer Foundation, as well as on the Steering Committee for the Virginia Farmers Market Managers Association.