Couple finds ways to remain on the farm

The Warwaruks raise chickens and gather eggs 
for sale and market their hand-woven items at farmers markets and trade shows

NEVIS, Alta. — Corwyn and Nancy Warwaruk may have one of the smaller farms in central Alberta but they are finding unique ways to make a living and raise their two young children.

The Warwaruks’ hilly three-acre farm houses several dozen goats, 100 chickens, an alpaca, a horse, and Rosa, the dog.

Corwyn and Nancy also ran a 40 cow herd of Dexter cattle on an adjacent 148 acres they owned but that came to an end when Corwyn developed blood clots in his lungs last February.

They decided to sell the cattle and land and find something less physically demanding while continuing to raise their daughter, Thryn,two, and son, Chance, five months, on the farm.

“We may not be the richest, but we like the freedom to be with our kids every day and we like the freedom of raising our own food,” said Corwyn.

In March 2018, the Warwaruks plan to have a 8.5 metre self-contained mobile poultry processing trailer ready to go.

“The equipment is ordered. We’ve got jobs lined up as far out as next September,” Corwyn said.

The Warwaruks have already consulted with Alberta Agriculture’s meat inspection division.

The mobile chicken abbatoir will allow the Warwaruks to process poultry for families on location. The unit will facilitate all of the processing steps: stunning, scalding, plucking, eviscerating, cooling and packaging.

Capacity will range from 50 to 400 birds at a maximum processing rate of 240 birds per hour, depending on staffing.

“I know chickens,” said Corwyn, who grew up raising and butchering them at his parents’ Unity, Sask., hatchery.

He graduated from the University of Saskatchewan in 1996 with a bachelor of science degree in agriculture, specializing in animal and poultry science.

Corwyn and Nancy share in the feeding and care of their livestock. There are always eggs to collect and prepare for sale from the ISA brown chickens, known to be prolific layers.

The chickens are housed in a sturdy barn built this fall, along with some of the goats, including two does that provide fresh milk used to make a variety of cheeses.

The Warwaruks bought their mixed breed goats in mid 2017 and expect to have goat meat for sale at farm gate by early 2018 once the animals weigh 23 to 27 kilograms. Several are bred for herd expansion.

Goats brought the couple together when in 2005, Corwyn sold Nancy two goats.

“The wildest, craziest goats that he had,” she said.

Chico, a 20-year-old alpaca, was a project from Nancy’s 4-H days back at Sherwood Park, Alta.

“He’s pretty much a lawn ornament,” Corwyn said.

Glory, a black Percheron Canadian mare, is used recreationally to pull the family in a cart.

Nancy, a longtime weaver, also keeps an estimated 20 looms.

Through her company, West Of The 4th Weaving, Nancy designs and creates hand woven items for sales online, at the farmgate, farmers market and trade shows and at retail stores in Alberta and internationally

“I’ve always liked tea towels, dishcloths, and baby wraps; cloths that are functional.”

She also makes bags and on occasion, shawls. Not many people in rural central Alberta know about hand woven products so growth is slow, she said.

“Not everyone wants to spend $30 on a tea towel but once they do they fall in love with it.”

Nancy weaves with 100 percent cotton threads, which she buys from a Canadian source for hand weavers.

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