Central Middle School students Avery Berg (from left)

Trio having a clucking good time

Students at Central Middle School are ruffling feathers — literally.

Students at Central Middle School are ruffling feathers — literally.

For the last few months, Grade 8 students Will Guarasci, Jasper St. John and Avery Berg have been taking care of three hens.

The trio have been raising the hens, giving them water and food, and letting them out of the coop to wander a carefully fenced off section of grass at the back of the middle school off Fort Street.

They take turns travelling back to the school twice a day on weekends to let the chickens out and put them back in the coop at the end of the day.

“We want there to be more chickens in the future,” said 13-year-old Guarasci.

The coop is part of the projet des choix (program of choice) class for Grade 8 French immersion students. There are three classes each with different themes.

The class they chose was physics, philosophy and food. For the food portion of the class, Guarasci wanted to focus on bringing the livestock culture to teach fellow students about sustainable ways of living and where food comes from.

Guarasci, who is a member of the 4H club, received 10 chicks when they were three days old. He raised them for three weeks in a brooder (a large storage bin with a heat lamp) in his house, before the hens grew enough feathers to withstand the climate.

Shortly after spring break (and hatching a plan to build an eight foot by four foot chicken coop from wood), they brought the hens, Big Bird, Rosetta and an unnamed bird, which are roughly two to three pounds each, to the school — much to the delight of other students from all different grades.

“The students love coming out and seeing the chickens,” said 14-year-old St. John.

“It’s just the fact that people don’t see them that often. If we just had a cat, it wouldn’t be as interesting. It’s really cool for the students to see the chickens and feed them.”

But the project hasn’t been without challenges, specifically other wildlife.

The team said at the beginning they had a problem with racoons getting into the coop and eatingseven of the 10 hens within a few days.

Now, they’ve added a fence to keep out predators.

“I really like the set up of it, building the chicken coop and putting in the pegs,” said Berg, adding taking care of the chicks has been a similar experience to babysitting a dog.

“In general, finally getting to see our product finished with the chickens inside, there’s a sense of relief.”

At the end of the school year, the hens will be taken to a farmer in west Saanich, who will use them to lay eggs.

Allison Balabuch, a Grade 8 French immersion teacher, said the project allows students to come up with an idea, figure out the logistics and follow it through.

“Because they got to build it, they’ve been able to see exactly what needs to be changed and it’s much more motivating when you’re protecting your chickens rather than drawing them on a page,” she said.

“If you grow up in the city, a lot of kids don’t get to see a chicken walking around.”

Berg, St. John and Guarasci hope the chicken coop project will continue in the future as well.

Other projet des choix projects have included the meal that students made for residents at My Place Transitional Shelter across the street and writing a french play and putting it on with the help of Langham Court Theatre.

 

 

 

Just Posted

Coun. Fred Haynes to run for mayor against Mayor Atwell

Haynes to go head-to-head with Atwell for Saanich mayoral seat in 2018

School fence damaged by soaring sailboat

One boat owner advised, Transport Canada responsible for second boat

Bob Heyes back behind Shamrocks bench for 2018 season

Art Webster, Mike Simpson, John Hamilton will also return

UPDATE: Driver escapes from crash in Sidney

Town truck and another vehicle collide, causing van to roll over

Final key components for Johnson Street Bridge installed this weekend in Victoria

Dynamic Beast crane barge arrives back in town on Friday

Testing the Google Arts & Culture app

Going face to face with art

VIDEO: Fuel truck and train collide in B.C. causing massive fire

More emergency crews are still arriving on scene of a massive fire at the Port Coquitlam rail yard.

Back to work: U.S. government shutdown ends after Democrats relent

Short-term spending measure means both sides could see another shutdown stalemate in three weeks

Saanich signals support for in-fill developments in Gorge-Tillicum

The Gorge-Tillicum neighbourhood continues to experience infill. Council’s committee-of-the-whole signaled Saanich’s support… Continue reading

Man lives despite malfunctioning defibrillator at B.C. arena

A middle-aged man went into cardiac arrest after at game at Pitt Meadows Arena last Wednesday.

Reynolds, Edward Milne capture titles at Esquimalt hoops tournament

Host Dockers take fourth in senior girls draw

Cause of Northern B.C. seaplane crash released

TSB releases report on seaplane crash during a water landing in 2016 near First Nations community

Vancouver police crack down on pop-up pot vendors

Officers raided merchants’ tables on Robson Square late Sunday

Bell Media, NFL take appeal over Super Bowl ad rules to top court

At issue is a ban on substituting American ads with Canadian ones during the game’s broadcast

Most Read