Raising chickens in the woods is being promoted as a way to help First Nation communities boost their food security by offering an alternative to declining supplies of traditional foods like moose and salmon.
Using techniques developed in Guatemala, the Regenerative Poultry Project has already raised 1,500 chickens on a small farm about 150 kilometers northwest of Terrace, B.C.
The idea is that the chickens would be free to wander the forests, roosting in trees and foraging for food, much as their wild ancestors did.
“Chickens originated as a jungle species,” said Kesia Nagata of the Skeena Watershed Coalition, which is assisting with the project’s implementation.
The birds, on the other hand, aren’t fully self-sufficient. They live on Nathan Coombs‘ ranch, where he runs Skeena Valley Farm and looks after the chickens.
Coombs built a small coop for the chickens to sleep in at night and lets them wander the land during the day, moving them to various areas of his property to avoid overgrazing.
The project’s structure is based on the work of Reginaldo Haslett-Marroquin. He is a farmer who is working in continuation to minimize the environmental impact of food production in the US by spreading the ‘Tree- Range’ food production system which he studies as a child in Guatemala.