Chickens and Eggs at Cherry Valley Elementary

Which Came First, the Chicken or the Egg?
Posted on 11/18/2022
At Cherry Valley Elementary (CVE), what started as a pilot incubator program with a handful of chickens has hatched into a year-round agricultural program run by the school’s 13 fifth and sixth-grade students.

Ranching and farming is a way of life for nearly all families of the 39 students enrolled in CVE, which serves Kindergarten through 6th grade. For these students who live in rural Franktown, Elizabeth, and Castle Rock, having chickens at school is simply an extension of their life at home.  

CVE’s chicken coop currently houses 30 laying chickens and two laying ducks. There’s a lot that goes into caring for, feeding, and protecting domesticated birds, and each of the agri program’s four elected student officers takes their role seriously. 

President LeighAnn’s goals are to sell more eggs and to help the birds become friendlier around people. Vice President Leeland keeps the president in check and fills in for her when needed. Secretary Elizabeth takes notes, prepares the meeting agenda, and sends emails to club members and school students. Treasurer Natalie manages the money, egg cartons, and feed supply. 

On average, the chickens produce 30 eggs per day and the ducks lay 12 eggs per week. The revenue from egg sales goes to purchase chicken feed. The feed costs $20 per bag, and the birds go through about four bags a month. To augment the bird’s food, students can drop appropriate scraps from their school lunches into the Chicken Bowl in the cafeteria. And, in case you were wondering, citrus fruits and avocado are a no-no; however, funny enough chickens like chicken! 

To support CVE’s agri-business, school and community members can purchase hormone-free, farm-fresh chicken eggs for $5 per dozen. Duck eggs cost $5 per half-dozen (duck eggs are primarily used in baking as they are creamier than chicken eggs). CVE-branded cartons of eggs are available for pick up at CVE or via limited delivery. Scan the QR code on the flyer or complete this survey to complete an order form.

CVE staff recently fortified the chicken coop to ward off a crafty raccoon and other predators. While the animals enjoy being outdoors during the day, the chickens and ducks instinctively know it’s time to nest around dusk. It’s a protective instinct, and they come into the coop’s enclosed area to bed down for the night. A heat lamp keeps them warm and cozy. An electric door that automatically closes at dusk adds another layer of security to help keep the birds safe overnight. 

It takes a community to tend the flock. The students take charge of the birds during the week, and the student's parents care for the birds over weekends, school breaks, holidays, and summer. The ladies from a nearby church also volunteer to help out as needed.

When asked if the chickens have names, one of the student officers quickly replied, “No, they die too easily.” Ducks must live longer because their names are Custard and Chocolate.

Cherry Valley Elementary will celebrate its 70th anniversary in spring 2023. And that’s something to crow about! 

Cherry valley elementary school students with the chickens at the coop
cherry valley elementary school's chickens
chicken feed
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