Southern Alberta students dig their talons into agriculture program

LETHBRIDGE — For the past several months, students at the Mountain View School just west of Cardston have been raising turkeys to sell for auction.

This is part of their agriculture program that helps prepare students who one day want to enter the industry, according to Mountain Views Principal, Curtis Leishman.

“We want these kids to learn that there’s new ideas coming all the time, and they shouldn’t be afraid to take on a challenge or learn about something or just jump into something or research something and figure out how to do it and try it,” he told CTV News.

The students received 23 one-month-old turkeys, or poults, on Oct. 1.

To prepare for the arrival of the feathered flock, students and teachers worked together to build a chicken coop that will make even the most seasoned farmers jealous.

Poultry Palace

“We call it the ‘Poultry Palace’ and you won’t find many chicken coops on farms as nice as the one we’ve got here,” said Mike Romeril, the teacher in charge of the poultry program.

When they first arrived, the poults weighed 1-kilogram each, but some have now grown to be as large as 12-kilograms.

Since the start, students have learned how to raise, care and even budget for their fowl friends.

“I really learned a lot about turkeys,” said Grade 6 student, Tryyg Olsen.

“We use different feed for them than chickens, and we kind of have to have a closer eye on them.”

They were originally hoping to have the turkeys ready for Christmas, but because they started a month later than anticipated, they had to wait until February.

The online auction officially ended yesterday and they were able to raise nearly $1,900, with all proceeds going towards the agriculture program.

Leishman says he’s thankful to the community for bidding on the birds.

“We couldn’t do it without them,” he said. “The support is overwhelming. It’s humbling.”

In addition to raising turkeys, the agriculture program also has the kids raising bees, growing gardens and even raising three steers.

Now that the auction is over and the turkeys have flown the coop, Romeril and his students are getting the ‘Poultry Palace’ ready for its next tenant… 60 Cornish giant hens which will be arriving March 1.

To learn more about Mountain View School and their Agriculture Program, you can visit their website.

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