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Chickening Out

Mary Grace Samp

They squawked a couple of times, but other than that, they either didn’t notice or didn’t care that I was there. 

This year, there are a lot of new members of the Lovett community, but some of them are not likely to perform very well in math class or in spanish class; they will, however, do an excellent job eating worms and laying eggs. 

Ms. Switzer, a religion teacher and the director of sustainability, was instrumental in bringing these feathered friends to campus. 

“It wasn’t just me. There was a whole committee to bring them back,” she said when I met with her after school. “I was the one that kept them at home because I have had chickens before.” 

This committee was comprised of faculty from just about every department in lower school, middle school, and upper school, as well as a few students who were recruited to help with the effort to bring back these fluffy friends. 

Once they arrived, it was important for them to adapt to our busy, child-centric environment. Ms. Switzer said that the more the chickens have human interaction, the more friendly they will be, and because they are going to be school yard chickens, they need to be friendly and not attack people who approach them. So, she kept them in her room for a few weeks so that they could be around more people.

On the first day of her class, she said that the students looked at the chickens a bit, but after that, they just turned to background noise. Every once in a while, they would cause a commotion, and everyone would look at them, but then the noise would die down, and everyone would go back to their work. 

Ms. Switzer didn’t use them in her lessons, nor does she think that she will, but she said that some teachers are probably going to. She thinks they would be great to use for some sort of lab in science class or as inspiration for poetry in English class.

They hatched on July 3. She didn’t expect them to grow as quickly as they did, so the plan was for them to be in the coop outside a lot later than they were actually put outside. She didn’t remember chickens growing as fast as these did. 

There are eight chickens that are now in the coop outside the lower school after being in Ms. Switzer’s room for the first few weeks of school.

I decided to go out there and sit with them to see how they are doing. The eight of them were standing in one corner, pecking at the ground. They didn’t really pay me any attention; instead, they seemed more interested in the dirt in that particular corner. They squawked a couple of times, but other than that, they either didn’t notice or didn’t care that I was there. 

Anyone can sign up to take care of the chickens. The first few advisories or groups that are signed up to take care of them get to suggest names for them, and there will be a poll for everyone to decide their names. 

So, along with the many new students and faculty members this year, let’s welcome these chickens into the Lovett community, either by signing up to take care of them or by getting the word out that they are here.
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