Rio Vista – Chickens!

Hello Garden Friends,

Today was a unique day in the history of Rio Vista’s Hidden Garden. Today we introduced the students to a chicken! We centered the class by reminding them about respect and empathy. “Do any of you get stage fright when you are in front of lots of people and asked to perform? Well, imagine that in addition to seeing a bunch of new faces, you are trapped in a cage and can’t escape!” The students started to relate to the chicken which was covered under a tarp. On the big reveal I was delighted to see that all the students maintained a respectful composure and raised their hands to ask questions, mostly 😉 photo 2

I started the lesson by stating some chicken facts: Chickens give us eggs, eat weeds, and all kinds of bugs that might be bad for the plants. They also feed the soil with their poop and at the end of their lives they can give us meat!

The second graders seemed to be most interested in what the chicken ate and why people ate chickens. The fifth grade students were interested in how new chickens were made. So, we talked about the food chain and then a brief overview of how roosters are needed in order for the eggs that hen lays to be fertile.

Final fact, turns out chickens to not get along with cats.. though the picture to the right looks as if the situation could play out either way.

Until next time,

Farmer Jeff


Jeff Mailes

Jeff Mailes is a garden designer and environmental educator working out of Woodland Hills, CA. A Los Angeles County Master Gardener and UC Davis Alumni, Jeff earned his B.S. in Environmental Resource Science in 2012 and has been growing edibles and natives for the past 6 years.

Jeff’s passion for plants and garden education has led him to school gardens from Los Angeles to Sacramento and all the way up to Portland, Oregon. Now familiar with ecosystems across the West Coast, Jeff has settled back home and works to bring people together over food and inspire the next generation of earth stewards to leave it better than they found it. When not writing about himself in the third person, Jeff enjoys singing with his guitar, going on camping and hiking excursions, and tossing a frisbee around with his friends.