* * Early Fall 2021 * *
Two Incredible Helpers
Miss Shannon had two incredible helpers in the gardens and with the chickens on Tuesday at MEA. We secured new chicken signs to the outside of the coop, moved mulch, and cleaned/prepped one of the raised beds in the front garden.
And then we completed a thorough cleaning of the chicken area, and ended the 1/2 hour time with a special treat for the chickens:
Watermelon slices + Grubblies! (Oven dried black soldier fly grubs = better than mealworms! More calcium = stronger egg shells and beautiful feathers).
We made some memories with this extra special (warm September day) chicken treat.
If any families would like to support the MEA chickens, they are in need of:
* * SPRING 2021 * *
Recently 6 middle school students gathered on the MEA campus to tackle a thorough cleaning of all things chicken coop—the entire home was raked, the overnight sleeping area stripped clean and re-papered/shavings and fresh Timothy hay added, the food and water dispensers were scrubbed clean…
and the 5 chickens were given some love and attention (+ some melon treats).
Everyone worked together as an efficient cleaning team.
There may only be 6 students in this Coop Group gathering, but we worked like 16.
Ophelia’s (slow) return to good health
We are a few weeks past Ophelia’s vet visit, home stay, and antibiotics completion and we are seeing some changes in the flock’s pecking order.
Currently, Chris has decided to repeatedly aggress on Ophelia, especially in the presence of people. Miss Shannon has had to intervene a few times, and makes sure to reinforce the chickens for getting along (rather than feeding the dominant chicken first).
As they work out their differences and the hierarchy, we will (hopefully) see less and less aggression and more “total flock calm” return.
Ophelia has not laid an egg (beautiful greenish color) in over a month. As her health continues to improve, we anticipate the return of finding these stunning eggs!
Chicken social dynamics are fascinating and purposeful!
Read more about the purpose of the pecking order.
Time with “the girls”
The 5th graders got chicken time during Unplugged. We had a blast interacting with “the girls,” and we were all able to identify them thanks to Ms. Ele’s laminated signs.
New Coop Group Members!
MEA Chickens greet their fans
Chicken training (“station” on the wood pallet) + community connection:
This family (children Sydney and Sage) live in Mira Mesa and come here 3x per week to visit Gymboree and see/feed the chickens!
They were excited to see the chicken names/identification poster up, because they made up their own names like Vanilla and Chocolate! More importantly, they were ecstatic to see and talk to Emma, the chicken whisperer.
Join us for chicken training sessions and community connections!
Chicken Coop happenings
Cleaning, feeding, touching, discussing and learning!
It was a wonderful Wednesday for the MEA chickens.
After a thorough home cleaning (Gracie + Miss Shannon) with a complete change out of their overnight nesting area paper, shavings, and Timothy hay + a raking of their home, three more middle schoolers joined in on the fun.
We talked chicken behavior (who accepts tactiles/touching from humans and who doesn’t), what chickens eat (they are omnivores), scoured the wine barrel gardens for pillbugs to feed the chickens (twice!) and the multiple reasons why we don’t have a rooster.
The students created quite the buzz with the roly poly offerings! If you want to make a chicken best friend, stop by the coop on a day with Miss Shannon and reinforce the chickens with something novel...like pillbugs (our terrestrial crustaceans) or more!
Appropriate food for chickens
This website and article within it has some wonderful information on appropriate food items for all chickens, especially the MEA chickens.
Beautifully created video (included on this site) showing the various types of flowers and plants we can grow in both garden spaces in order to increase the health and overall well-being of our five resident chickens here.
Take a look at how:
- Lettuce can help keep chickens hydrated over hot summer months
- How watermelon and cantaloupe cores can be a fun treat
- The specific flowers that provide essential vitamins and nutrients...so chickens can keep producing eggs!
** 2019 - Fall 2021 **
If you'd like to be involved in taking care of the MEA chickens, come to the chicken coop area on Tuesdays from 9:00-10:00. The Coop Group welcomes new members and is ready to train you!
You are encouraged to bring veggie scraps to the chickens during the Coop Group times!
Video of Dust Bathing Beauties
Ophelia, Zira, and Cleopatra delight in their dust baths!
Dust bathing is an important part of keeping chickens healthy and clean. A chicken scratches and digs out a bowl-shaped depression in dirt. Then she settles into this hollow, fluffs up her feathers, and scratches up loose dirt through fluffed feathers. Our girls are bathing beauties!
Coop Group Remind App
The Coop Group has set up a Remind account to communicate updates, time changes, and chicken needs. https://www.remind.com/join/meacoop
Turn your table scraps into chicken treats
Aquafina, Chris, Cleopatra, Opehlia, and Zira are clucking for your table scraps and leftovers! There's a green bucket right outside the coop where you can leave your gifts of food for them.
MEA purchases large bags of chicken feed for our hens, but our girls love a variety of treats to supplement their diet. Below are 2 sources for recommended food.
Please do not feed the chickens yourself. Miss Allie and the Coop Group will inspect all food first to double-check that it's safe for our hens.
** 2018-2019 **
To see how we prepared a home for our chickens, scroll down to the bottom to rewind in time!
Cooped up in the Chicken Coop
Our chickens were safely harbored in their chicken coop during a rainfall. When the cloudburst cleared, they wanted to fly their coop and get back to pecking and scratching outside! Below, Chris the Leghorn is on an inside perch, clucking and waiting hopefully at the "window." Two helpful students came to their rescue and out strutted our happy chickens!
Our first egg!!!
Selecting our chickens at the feed store
Preparing the coop yard
MEA Chicken Coop, courtesy of Colton
When Colton S. was an MEA 9th grader, he took on the responsibility of making our chicken coop as a Boy Scout Eagle Project. Colton's schoolmates, friends, and fellow scouts also got involved in helping make the coop. In addition to clearing out a lot of greenery and trees, Colton participated in several fundraisers to make the money needed to build and complete our coop. Thank you, Colton!!