Chicken Flock and Chicken Coop
PRLC has introduced a flock of laying hens to the gardens. Chickens naturally fit into in a multi-part, sustainable food production system; they feed off of invertebrates generated in the compost and their poop goes right back into it. Literally, their poop is used to grow their own food!
The chicken coop at the Armstrong Education Center features a green roof and has a 360-degree fenced run where the chickens can roam, safe from predators.
What are some reasons for keeping backyard chickens?
Backyard hens produce the freshest and best eggs. Laying hens average one egg a day, which means that the eggs you have for breakfast or the eggs you use in baking a cake or bread are very fresh – sometimes only hours old.
Keeping chickens reduces our use of fossil fuels. When we grow food at home, we take a bulk ingredient and turn it into a finished product. For example, we use bulk beans to produce sprouts, bulk chicken feed to produce eggs, and bulk vegetable seeds to produce vegetables. By storing a supply of bulk ingredients, we reduce the amount of times we have to drive to the store, thereby reducing our emissions. Also, buying bulk ingredients rather than finished products reduces the amount of manufacturer deliveries to the store. It is in this way that producing food at home (garden vegetables, herbs, honey, maple syrup, eggs, or meat) reduces the use of fossil fuels.
The Chickens at the Armstrong Education Center
At the Armstrong, we have 11 chickens: 2 roosters and 9 laying hens. The five different breeds in the flock are:
- Good layers, meaning that they lay lots of eggs— typically at least one per day. They lay brown eggs.
- Hens are generally friendly, though the roosters can be mean and aggressive.
- Can be noisy
- Non-broody (broody means that a hen wants to sit on and hatch her eggs)
- Good layers, lay brown eggs
- Large, fluffy body
- Friendly and docile towards humans and other chickens, may be affectionate to their handlers
- Tolerant to cold weather
- Good layers, lay the darkest brown eggs out of the other chickens in the coop
- They are hardy birds that do well in cold weather
- They are friendly and docile to people, but can be mean and bossy to other birds in the flock
- A hybrid between a White Leghorn and a Rhode Island Red
- Good layers, lay cream/beige colored eggs
- Friendly and docile bird, the rooster is mellow