A Day in the Life of an Apprentice: Daniel Fayad – Peregrine Farm

Posted by Michelle Lam on October 08, 2021

Peregrine Farm is a regenerative farm located in Wishart, SK within Treaty 4 Territory. The property is off-grid and houses 4,000 chickens, 50 laying hens, a few beehives, and 13 pigs. Daniel Fayad is a Red Seal electrician and farmer-in-the-making who is a Young Agrarians (YA) Apprentice at Peregrine Farm.

Daniel had heard about Jeff Kinash after spending some time gardening at Jeff’s father-in-law’s property in Wishart. “He’s like, ‘oh you guys seem like…you’re kind of the same person. You’re very similar in how you act and how you think and stuff like that,” quotes Daniel, reflecting on a conversation with Jeff’s father-in-law. 

Soon after, Daniel and Jeff were introduced to each other and started having conversations about farming and food. They connected over their similar interests — backpacking, travelling, fruit picking in B.C., and whole foods. 

The following year, Daniels’ friend shared a post by YA putting out a call for Apprentices. He browsed the site, sparking interest when he came across Jeff’s name; Jeff was listed as a YA mentor for the program. 

The Application Process

Daniel applied to a couple of the farms listed in Saskatchewan, including Grovenland Farm in Lanigan, SK. As part of the application process, he was interviewed by mentors from the prospective farms. For Daniel’s interview with Jeff, they met up for a coffee, as Jeff happened to be passing through Saskatoon for some deliveries. Once again, their connection stood out. 

“It seemed like he was pretty interested…he said that he kind of sees himself in me when he was young. So it was nice to have that — that connection there too.” — Daniel Fayad, YA Apprentice. 

The Day-to-Day

The main focus of the business is their 4,000 bird poultry operation. The birds come to the farm as day-old chicks and are brooded out in the field at the farm. Peregrine Farm has 10 polytunnel chicken tractors — they look similar to a greenhouse but have black-out sections to provide protection from the sun instead of clear plastic. The birds are separated into two sections, each containing five polytunnels. Each section is surrounded by an electric poultry fence and the birds are allowed to roam freely within the fenced-off area and in/out of the tunnels. Every 7-10 days, the fencing and polytunnels are moved onto a new section of pasture. 

Mornings start at 8 AM. Daniel’s first task of the day is to ferment the chicken feed in barrels — it’s soaked for 3-4 days. The birds are then fed and watered. 

Next, Daniel helps with rolling the grain. Peas and wheat are cracked using a roller mill, which is then loaded onto the little grain trailer and pulled onto the field with quads. The farm goes through roughly one trailer worth of grain per day. Then, eggs are collected from the chicken coop where the 50 hens live. 

The team stops for lunch and the afternoon is spent working on projects around the farm such as putting up fence posts, building tractors for the birds, planting, and weeding. Before the workday ends at 5 PM, Daniel tops up the feed and water for the chickens and pigs for the evening. 

Food and Accommodation

Daniel lives in a trailer on the farm. The farm is off-grid and there isn’t a water source on the property. After work, he usually heads into Wishart, a 10-minute drive away. The evenings are pretty routine; Tara, Jeff’s wife, makes dinner for Daniel and the family, at some point, Daniel has a shower in the house, and afterwards, he returns to the farm to wind down and sleep. 

Food is provided for Daniel as part of their agreement. The leftovers from the evening before are usually reheated for lunch, with a fresh farm egg thrown into the mix. 

The workweek is generally Monday through Friday, with weekends off. During the weekend, Daniel can be found heading to Saskatoon or Regina to catch up on errands and with family/friends. 

Major Learnings and Next Steps

With the Apprenticeship ending in mid-October, we asked Daniel what he’s learnt over the past season on Peregrine Farm. “As you’re getting going and having things operating, infrastructure is always a high priority. It’s something that that should be in place. [It’s] going to make your life a lot easier,” says Daniel. 

In addition, he reflects on the importance of having access to water on the property. Currently, Jeff hauls water from the town to the farm in a water tank — the “turtle tank” — every day. Daniel has grown an appreciation for doing things more efficiently on the farm. 

Going forward, Daniel is hoping to gain more experience on different farms, getting more exposure to different types of farming. He plans on continuing working as an electrician during the winter months, with the hopes of saving up enough to purchase some land to farm on in the future. 

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Photos provided by Daniel Fayad.

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