Reviving the Lost Knowledge of Managing and Handling Livestock

June 6, 2024

Join the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (MOFGA) to learn about how to keep chickens, process poultry, and raise sheep on a residential or small-scale farm. Upcoming workshops, taught by Jacki Martinez Perkins, MOFGA’s organic dairy and livestock specialist, include: Backyard Chickens on June 10, Poultry Processing on July 22, and Backyard Sheep on August 19. 

In the Backyard Chickens workshop on June 10, participants will learn about the basics of chicken care over the seasons, site preparation, and troubleshooting common issues. Under instructor guidance, participants will be able to practice safely and humanely handling chickens. Participants will also hear from Maine State Veterinarian Stefanie Bolas about chicken health and biosecurity, as well as some of the chicken raising resources offered by the state of Maine. This workshop will take place at a private homestead in Albion, Maine.

In the Poultry Processing Workshop on July 22, participants will learn how to safely and humanely process chickens at the home or small-scale farm. In this hands-on workshop, participants will be involved in each step of the process from bringing live birds through butchery, to cleaning and cutting the chicken meat. This workshop will be held at MOFGA’s Common Ground Education Center in Unity, Maine. 

In the Backyard Sheep workshop on August 19, participants will learn the basics of tending to a small flock of sheep. Topics covered include the following: ensuring appropriate space and resources for a small flock of sheep, grazing, herding, seasonal care tasks, troubleshooting common issues, and health and safety. Participants will have opportunities to learn via discussion, instructor demonstrations, and handling sheep themselves while under instructor guidance. This workshop will take place at Misty Brook Farm, in Albion, Maine, featuring sheep from Golden Fleece.

”It’s pretty hard to grow vegetables without fertility inputs derived from livestock, but managing and handling livestock has become lost knowledge,” says Martinez Perkins. “Sharing my education and experience will always be the most rewarding part of my work at MOFGA. Witnessing the epiphany for someone who has only read about a technique then getting to accomplish it successfully themselves is incredibly gratifying.”  

These small-scale farm animal workshops are part of MOFGA’s mission to educate and train farmers and gardeners. To learn more about MOFGA’s educational programs, please visit

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