Bio Unit Inspires Poultry Club

Isabel Owens, Lifestyle Editor

Drawing inspiration from Biology’s hatching and rearing of chickens in the campus garden, sophomore Kendall Schmidt, founder of the recently-established Poultry club, hopes for her organization to raise their own chickens and compete in a professional chicken show.

According to sophomore Sierra Barrick, she and Schmidt discussed the idea of a chicken-themed club last year, and were encouraged by the Biology teachers to bring their idea to fruition. “I enjoy poultry and I knew that Campo had chickens and they talked about wanting someone to start a poultry club,” Schmidt said.

The club meets every Monday in room G2, greeted by chicken-themed pastries, courtesy of Schmidt. “They’re not really that poultry themed, I just kind of bring a baked good and make something up, so I brought brownies and I called them Rhode Island Red brownies because they’re the same color as the breed,” explained Schmidt.

Barrick’s favorite treat so far has been the sour-punch straws. “She was like, ‘They’re like straw to bed a chicken coop’,” Barrick said.

“We’ve only had a few meetings, so we’ve just kinda discussed plans for what we wanted to do for the funding, and what breeds we want to raise,” said Schmidt. “A lot of people are leaning towards Orpingtons, but I think we’re going to try to do Bantams because they’re smaller, so we could get more chickens. It’s kinda still up in the air.”

“I don’t really care [what breed they are.] I just want one that is really fluffy,” said sophomore Maria Sanderson, club member.

Sanderson is new to raising chickens. “I’m excited to raise the chickens because I’ve never done anything like that before,” she said. “Lola and I are sharing a chicken and we are going to name it Princess. I will still love and accept Princess if he turns out to be a boy.”

Because the club does not have the resources required to raise chickens from the fetus stage, they plan to buy chickens that are about 8 weeks old, and keep them in a brooder until they are big enough to go outside. “We’ll probably get pullets, which are chickens that are young. They’re pretty much chicks that are just old enough to be able to stay outside so they have feathers they can keep warm,” explained Schmidt.

The chickens will be housed in the campus garden chicken coop, and raised by the “primary bird raisers” of the club. According to Schmidt, the difficulty of raising chickens is “not too bad because we’ll just get feeders and waterers that you could put quite a bit of food and water in, and then it’s not too difficult to maintain.”

“Chickens are not difficult at all to raise as long as you keep them healthy, but if you get sickness in your flock it becomes a lot more difficult,” added Barrick.

Schmidt plans to socialize the chickens in the upcoming months, and begin the process of showing them in the late winter. “We’ll probably do showmanship because you don’t have to own a bird to do that, and it’s just judged on your ability to show off the bird so they’ll ask you to show their wings, and their beak and other things like that so its just how well you can demonstrate,” she explained.

Barrick has raised chickens since she was in 5th grade and has experience participating in shows. “I’m really excited to teach the other members of the club about showing chickens,” Barrick said.

According to Biology teacher and club supervisor Patrick Wildermuth, Barrick helps take care of the class’ chickens as well. “She’s already been trying to work with them and make them call, and she knows what they have to do when you show them and they have to sit,” he said. “They’re the ones who really know more than me. Then they just sort of inform me what they’re doing and I say okay.”

While Wildermuth may be uncertain of his role, Schmidt is confident that he will step in once the club has acquired their pullets. “He’ll probably play more of a role as we get further into our projects, once we get more involved in caring for the birds and everything,” she said.

Schmidt is still looking for more club members, and plans to hang posters around school. “We’ll probably get more attention once we get out chickens too,” she said.