Chickens roaming North Valley school are helping students learn all about Ag business

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Nearly 40 chickens are now roaming around a North Valley school. It's all part of an educational poultry project. (KFSN)

Nearly 40 chickens are now roaming around a North Valley school. It's all part of an educational poultry project.

The hens have a new home in a place where you might not expect to see them-- on the Atwater High School campus. "It's really fun seeing the reactions of kids as they walk by and they're like, 'how long have we had chickens? Is this a new thing,'" said Courtney Creighton, Atwater High junior.

The award-winning Ag department ordered them online as baby chicks to give students a hands on learning experience. "What we we're really trying to work on is the farm to fork concept. Most kids just go to the grocery store and think the food magically appears on the store shelves, but there's a lot of work that goes into livestock before they can get the food products out of there," said Creighton.

Creighton raised the birds at home for the first few months-- while the wood shop class was busy building their coop. "We had to lay out the floor, do the walls, the roofing, make the slots for the chickens to go in," said Raul Vera, Atwater High senior.

On Wednesday morning, horticulture students started laying 2000 square feet of sod donated by West Coast Turf. The same Valley company that supplied Levi's Stadium. "This is pretty cool, because a lot of our kids come from an urban background, and they don't have room at their house to have a project," said Dan Flatt, Atwater Ag teacher.

But building the facility is just the beginning. The school's poultry judging team will use the hens as a training tool while others run their own bird business. "They'll be able to come out here each day and take care of the chickens, and, once the chickens start laying eggs, they'll be able to collect the eggs, wash the eggs, and market them to the local community," said Kim Macintosh, Atwater Ag teacher.

The kids will even get to pocket some of the profits from the egg sales-- but the best reward may be the success of the project itself.

"It makes me feel good, because it's a big impact on Atwater FFA," said Vera.
Related Topics:
educationmerced countyagriculturestudentshigh schoolAtwater
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