This winter, carpenter/farmhands Cory Thompson and Jean-Francois Bisson began work on a much-needed facelift for C/TFN's poultry coops, transitioning them from drafty, dated and pest-prone, to colourful, air-tight units that prioritize the birds' comfort, health, and safety.
The pair went through a lot together this winter.
"The night before he started, I prayed to my dad and said, 'I need some help' and then this guy shows up," says Thomson.
Their first task: make the coops less depressing. They painted the interiors vibrant colours, like pepto-bismol pink, a step they say, makes for happier birds.
"I grew up on a farm, and you know, the colors is what I really wanted from a long time," said Thomson. "There'd be a bunch of little chicks, little ducks and colorful little buildings and a little creek. That's what I've seen since I was a kid. I've wanted to replicate that."
They also installed nesting boxes and roosting bars, elevated off the ground for added warmth.
They battled stubborn insulation issues, pests and inadequate ventilation, but today they say the coops are sealed, and the only critters inside will be the birds.
The coops will be built to last. They now have proper vapor barriers and plywood, effectively eliminating frost buildup and preventing decay, and new windows and exhaust fans to improve airflow and moisture levels.
That's not only better for the birds, it also reduces the risk of frozen eggs after a cold winter night.
This spring Thomson and Bisson are working on foundations to help support a new in-floor heating system. Composed of electrical wires embedded in mats, the system will provide a safe and efficient heat source that evenly disperses warmth throughout the coops, with Wi-Fi-enabled thermostats to enable remote temperature monitoring and prevent overheating.
"It will also cut the potential for fires," said Bisson. "We'll have lamps, but just for light."
The plan is to have the coops up and running by next season. That's easier said than done though, and Bisson says, sustained funding and a premiant crew of skilled workers is going to be necessary in the long run.
He says he's optimistic for the future of the C/TFN farm.
"Once it's all established and developed, we'll have time to have people here, and it can help a lots of people to relax and reduce anxiety," he says.
"It could be a really special place."
Check out these colourful coops: