Raising chickens in the woods is being touted as a way to help improve the food security of First Nation communities by providing an alternative to dwindling supplies of traditional foods such as moose and salmon.
The Regenerative Poultry Project has already produced 1,500 chickens on a small farm about 150 kilometres northwest of Terrace, B.C., using techniques developed in Guatemala.
The idea is that the chickens are allowed to roam the woods, roosting in trees and foraging for food, mimicking the behaviours of their wild ancestors.
“Chickens actually evolved as a jungle species,” said Kesia Nagata of the non-profit Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition, which is helping run the project.
“They feel happiest when covered with a canopy that they can range under. They like to forage for their food, they like to scratch under trees and they like to roost and explore with the protection of a canopy over them.”
The birds aren’t completely on their own, though. They live on the property of Nathan Coombs, a Gitxsan farmer who runs Skeena Valley Farm and cares for the chickens.