From experience, I’ve learned that if you walk through an elementary school with a box that’s labeled “Live Animals”, everyone you pass will stop and ask you what you have inside. On Friday, it was chickens headed to kindergarten. Last year, when my son was in Mrs. Brown’s class at Botetourt Elementary in Gloucester, I was asked to bring in one of my chickens. It was such a hit that I was asked back this year.
The chickens I brought in are only about 2 months old. They were very scared and very reluctant to sit still. But they helped the kindergarten students learn about the life cycle of chickens. We also talked about what chickens eat, how they are good for the environment, etc. The students asked a lot of good questions and they each took the time to pet the chicken. The biggest hit seemed to be some small feathers coming off the chicken that every student wanted to take home.
Because chickens lay eggs, we followed the chicken show and tell with a reading of Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham. I cooked some scrambled eggs with a bit of green food coloring added. I need to thank Mrs. Brown for accidentally buying bologna instead of ham that had to be cleverly disguised. Overall, it was a fun filled afternoon with a little bit of learning also.
The veterinarians at Grafton Animal Hospital are pleased to see pet and backyard chickens. While many clinics cannot offer this service, both of our doctors have an interest and additional training in the health of chickens. Also, there is a great local resource, the Peninsula Chicken Keepers (PeCK), a group of chicken owners who meet monthly to encourage chicken keeping. For more information about keeping chickens or their health, please visit PeCK’s website at http://peninsulachickenkeepers.weebly.com/ or call any of the staff of Grafton Animal Hospital at (757) 898-8433.