I promise I did not forget you! It has been a crazy past few weeks with the chickens, so I will try to catch you up!
The chickens quickly outgrew the pen they were in. However, they were still too small to be integrated with the adult chickens, and thus Professor Robert and her husband fenced off part of the adult coop for the little ones.
Unfortunately some of them escaped into the larger coop anyway, so I reinforced the fencing. Although I really enjoyed using the staple gun (not meant sarcastically!), I do not think I will be able to make a career as a carpenter anytime soon. There may be a few extra staples in the wood from where I missed. Decorations, perhaps?
Since then, I have been doing a lot of socializing work with them. To raise friendly adult chickens, it is best to spend lots of time with them when they are little-picking them up, talking to them (“cheep cheep” “bok bok” “pío pío”), and the like. I would imagine that this sounds weird to anyone walking by the coop when the chicks are out for their supervised exercise.
Next up (soon, I promise!): Moving the chicks into a permanent home and building a new pen!
I realize it’s been a while since I posted, so I will fill you in!
Last week I met the chicks for the first time. It was exciting, fun, dirty, and nerve-racking all at the same time.
Let’s go back to the part where I have never held a chicken in my life. Ever. They were so tiny, I was worried about squeezing them too hard, dropping them, and not to mention their little beaks that peck you (out of curiosity, not malice!) However, once Kira and I broke the ice and picked up our first ones it came (somewhat) easily!
Kira and I started by cleaning out the adult chicken coop. In a weird and gross way I actually enjoyed the labor. We also cleaned out the bucket that all the chicks were residing in, and discussed possible plans for a larger and mobile chicken coop for when the chicks are big. The website Backyard Chickens has been enormously helpful so far.
The next day, Professor Robert and I transferred the chicks into a larger pen and put the pen in the coop so that the hens could get used to having a bunch of babies around. It was pretty cool to see the hens approach the pen cautiously and curiously, craning their necks to get a better look at the chicks without getting too close.
Next week: The awkward toddler stages =]
Hello Clarkies, prospective students, fellow LEEP Pioneers, alumni, aliens, randomers who have stumbled across this in their explorations of the internets, and other beings of the world,
First I would like to say that I am super excited to start my LEEP project, though I still have another two or so weeks until I officially start. So for now I will start with some introductions =]
I’m Sara, and will be a senior at Clark this coming fall (yikes!). I’m studying psychology and education, but am still figuring out what I will do post-graduation (double yikes!). I’m involved with Food Truth, which is an organization on campus dedicated to promoting sustainable food at Clark. Recently, Clark signed The Real Food Challenge Commitment to get 20% real food (local, organic, fair trade, humanely produced) in the dining hall by 2020, which was really exciting!
This is to say that my interests are all over the place. I enjoy working with kids (thus the psychology and education) but am also interested in sustainability and related issues, and I like trying new things- both of which lead to my LEEP project.
This summer I will be working at The Barred Owl Retreat, a nature retreat just outside Worcester, in assisting with raising chickens and with sustainable egg production. The chickens will arrive at the end of May at just two days old (so cute!). Some of the things that both Kira Foley (a fellow LEEP Pioneer and blogger) and I will be doing includes: raising them, building chicken coops and portable pens, learning about the different types of chickens (there are so many!), and helping to socialize them with the adult chickens already at the retreat. Oh, and staying tick-free-which is very important! And perhaps perfecting the art of not becoming mosquito food, but this could prove too challenging.
Disclaimer: I have never raised a chicken. I had a parakeet when I was younger, but that is as close as it gets. I also have never worked at a nature retreat or even spent considerable time at one. I grew up in a city, which means that the concept of nature is a foreign one. Despite my inexperience I am very excited to try something new, and I can’t wait to meet the baby chicks!