Kayleigh was born in 1995 and grew up as a city girl in the Greater Toronto Area. She remained dedicated to ballet, school, and life-guarding for years before moving to Kingston to continue her education. She attended Queen’s University and graduated in 2018 with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in English Literature and Art History, and a Bachelor of Education. In 2018 Kayleigh adopted a baby lamb at Topsy Farms that she named Nellie. Instantly charmed by the rural farm setting, lovable animals, and caring people, she packed her things and left the city behind, moving into her new home on Amherst Island, ON. Nellie, the newborn lamb that changed her life is now a large sheep who lives with Kayleigh, happily grazing in the yard.
There were a number of learning curves to adjust to while settling into country life in a tiny cabin, but she now embraces the simplicity of living off grid, with animals surrounding her home. Kayleigh works alongside her partner, Kyle Murray, the head shepherd of Topsy Farms, to help with animal care and flock health maintenance of roughly 500 ewes. Kayleigh attended the 2019 Master Shepherd’s Course, a professional development program provided by Ontario Sheep Farmers and supported by Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). Since her arrival at Topsy Farms in 2018, Kayleigh has stepped in as an assistant shepherd to Kyle Murray to help with the care of the flock.
While studying at the Master Shepherd’s Course, Kayleigh developed a keen interest in ovine obstetrics and medical care. In May 2019 and 2020, during lambing season, Kayleigh repaired emergency uterine prolapses successfully, aided in the delivery of several lambs, and attended to ewes who sustained wounds inflicted by predators and survived. Although she prefers to see maternal ewes raise their own lambs, Kayleigh enjoys bottle feeding lambs and raising them by hand when it is necessary. Kayleigh is often seen with her sheep medical kit buckled around her waist, and the electronic tag reader for entering flock records slung over her shoulder.
Kayleigh also works as an online educator for St. Lawrence College, mostly teaching English as another language to international students. Kayleigh has been teaching online since 2015 and enjoys connecting with students all over the world from the comfort of her home.
As a hobby, Kayleigh recently began incubating duck eggs in hopes of raising pet ducks in her yard. She now has 12 healthy ducks who will begin to lay eggs of their own shortly. Kayleigh also has a pet turtle and experience with a variety of exotic pets, including reticulated pythons, boa constrictors, geckos, various arachnids, sloths, armadillos, skunks, and many other animals. Kayleigh is passionate about animal welfare and cares for all sorts of woolly, furry, scaly, and feathery creatures.
Kayleigh is looking forward to teaching people interested in the animal husbandry of small ruminants, waterfowl, and honeybees.
Kayleigh will be bringing her expertise to both Adult and Children’s course starting in November 2020… so stay tuned!
- Animal Husbandry on a Small Farm (Goats and Sheep).
- Beginner Beekeeping.
- Planting and Gardening for the Future.
- Fur, Feathers, Scales and Shells… Exotic Pet Ownership.
- Calligraphy: Mastering a Lost Art.
- Backyard Birds: Raising Poultry and Waterfowl.
Looking forward to these amazing courses… and welcome home Kayleigh to the Edifice Atelier.
Dr. Christopher Cooper | Director of Education