July 13, 2018
Faculty: Frank Reese
On the wings of big chicken. Breeding poultry used to be as popular as the modern day dog show, but after WWII breeding chickens fell into the hands of industrial agriculture and now we are limited to modern breeds and hybrids that offer nutritionally inferior meat and eggs, unhealthy stature, and overall poor flock resilience.
Frank Reese of Good Shepherd Poultry Ranch has become a master of the long lost art of poultry breeding. Frank focuses on heritage, or as he prefers “standard”, breeds that produce nutrient-dense meat and eggs. In this workshop he will expose the history of poultry and how we got where we are. He will showcase why heritage breeds are an important source of genetics, the importance of independent breeders and hatcheries, flock management, and how to educate the consumer on the importance of maintaining heritage breeds for nutrition and genetics. Lastly, Frank will show us what is possible in the world of heritage breeds and the work that desperately needs to be done.
The Sterling Farm will have raised a sample of Frank’s heritage/”standard” breed chickens alongside the modern Red Ranger breed and Cornish Cross hybrids. Trial information will be on hand for participants.
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Level: This class is for farmers, homesteaders, students, teachers and all who share an interest in raising and breeding standardbred, nutrient dense poultry.
Prerequisites: There are no formal prerequisites for this class. In order to take full advantage of this course students should be familiar with Frank Reese and his work at the Good Shepherd Poultry Ranch.
Tuition & Fees: $35 covers the cost of the class and lunch from our top-ranked Sterling Kitchen. Accommodations are not included in course pricing.
Housing Availability & Fees: On-campus housing is available for an additional fee of $60/night with a private bathroom and $50/night with shared bathrooms. Please note that Sterling College offers rustic/vintage/farmhouse style accommodations that are clean and safe but not luxurious. Availability is limited and room requests are filled on a first-come, first-serve basis. If you prefer to stay off-campus please see our accommodations page for local recommendations.
Frank R. Reese Jr. is the owner of Good Shepherd Poultry Ranch in Tampa, Kansas. He is a 4th-generation farmer who has been producing heritage breed poultry for 60 years. Since starting his first flock in the 50s, Frank has dedicated his life to raising heritage birds and ensuring the survival of their species.
“He is truly a national treasure because he lives and breathes genetic preservation,” said Anne Malleau, executive director of the Whole Foods Animal Compassion Foundation and an agriculture expert. “I have never met anyone with that type of knowledge of both the history and the breeds.”
Kim Severson highlight’s Frank Reese’s work with heritage turkeys in her article Preservation’s Progress published by the New York Times, November 7, 2007.
Maryn McKenna’s Big Chicken features Frank’s work with chickens… check out this excerpt from the book published by National Geographic Partners on September 12th, 2017.
Disclaimer: Course descriptions on this webpage are for informational purposes only. Content may be updated or change as planning evolves. Sterling College reserves the right to alter the program specifics, including details about course content, instructors, collaborations, field trips and facilities at any time without notice. Some aspects of course content may be weather-dependent.