Raising backyard chickens | Homeschool Biology
September 15, 2020 Adrienne Brown 0 Comments
What’s the connection between these two things?
How to care for your chickens in Homeschool Biology may seem weird at first glance but they work hand in hand.
Homeschool Biology & Chickens are the two parts to this story about our backyard summer project. This school year, we wanted to add to our teen’s homeschool biology studies about birds.
In addition, we wanted to entertain our littles, so we took on a seemingly daunting task. We decided to build a chicken coop and raise chickens with the kids.
Hey, how to care for your chickens in Homeschool Biology is not so foreign to us. Naw, we took on a similar project with our older 4, a few years ago.
Ok, maybe it was more like 10 years ago, anyway.
My husband and I can’t stand to watch the kids sitting around, twiddling their thumbs. So we had to get this project started real fast. After all, they needed extra things to do outside.
As parents, we know that when you give kids something to be responsible for, they usually become responsible individuals.
These kinds of projects help with maturity and personal growth.
Of course, the kids did not get it at first. In fact, they approached our idea with caution. Just like the deer trying to eat our garden and not get caught.
Since their normal extracurricular activities have been so severely limited this homeschool biology chicken project is right on time.
Hands-on homeschool Biology
As any homeschooling family knows we are always inventing projects to keep our children busy and educated too, right?.
Well, building a chicken coop & raising chickens is definitely two hands-on projects that they will learn from. There projects that will satisfy the curiosity of our teens and fulfil the wonder of our littles.
Plus, if we plan this project just right we are bound to get us some free-range fresh eggs.
So, this year the teen’s Homeschool Biology curriculum had a chapter on birds. There were many fascinating things that we learned about birds and we observed these characteristics in our chicks.
Did you know that the scientific name for the study of birds is called Ornithology?
Neither did I at first, but that is what it is called in our Abeka Biology book. I love Abeka Science it is so thorough, and it is entertaining.
So of course this chicken project will be the perfect addition to their unit on birds.
This hands on project can only enhance their understanding of the Bird lessons.
Learning how to care for our chickens using homeschool Biology was really helpful
We learned that chickens needed a place to spread their wings without getting them entangled with one another. Each bird needed a place to roost, and the hens needed nesting boxes.
We made a floorplan for the coop, gathered some wood and nails, then we built it.
Chickens fall into the group of birds that need dirt for bathing, So we left the floor bare.
The dirt helps them to rid themselves of parasites. I observed my other chickens doing this dirt bath thing and it looked strange at the time. But, I understand what’s going on now.
Hanging the chicken feeder
We told them that they needed a way to keep the chickens food up off the ground. So they hung a hook from the ceiling and attached the feeder to a rope, hanging it from the hook.
This is important because chickens will kick too much dirt into their feeding container causing a lot of food loss.
It is a biological fact that chickens need to eat small pieces of gravel to help them digest their food.
We learned in Homeschool Biology that the tiny gravel pieces sift through the chicken’s gizzard helping them with their digestive process.
As I think about it, how did I ever eat gizzards? yuk!
Chickens need clean water
The kids learned that the chickens needed a clean water source every day. The text stressed that they shoul never be without water.
In fact, in their Biology book, they learned that they could help all backyard birds, by providing a water source.
Abeka’s homeschool Biology explained the best kind of bird bathes to use for birds.
The kids gathered many containers that would serve the purpose, excluding metal conrtainers.
Metal containeres would act as heat conductors making the container and the water too hot for the birds.
They learned that most birds drink by lifting their heads up. We observed the chickens doing this behavior when we gave them water. But, according to Abeka’s homeschool Biology book the dove is the only bird that drinks with his head down. Fun fact isn’t it?
Convenience and protecting chickens
Having done this before, my husband and I wanted a chicken coop that would allow us to walk in and out of it.
We also wanted a coop that would be very easy to clean.
So, we helped the kids design an old-fashioned walk-in chicken coop. It is something that I wrote about in another article.
Even though building the right kind of coop that worked, the kids had to protect these little creatures .
The chickens have to be protected from big bad predators lurking around our woods and from our assassin cats.
Our cats will climb tall trees, in search of helpless baby birds.
They will sit for hours over a mole hill just to snatch up one of the unfortunate blind creatures.
So we showed the kids how to bury the chicken wire 12 inches down all around the chicken coop. Hopefully that will keep most predators away from our chickens.
Once we got all of that completed, we waited for our chicks to be delivered to us.
Memories and gratefulness
You know this project turned out to be one of the best projects of all. The kids really did take ownership over it.
They helped to measure and cut the wood. They helped to nail each board in place, and they painted the coop a brilliant barnyard red.
I can’t begin to tell you how proud this made me. It also made me realize how blessed I was to pour knowledge and skills into another human being.
I absolutely love watching them blossom and grow into responsible young people.
Growing up in the heart of San Francisco, there were no chickens running around. We never saw a farm animal.
Doing homeschool biology, in my yard is awesome. The yard is surrounded by lush green trees and is crowned with a beautiful blue sky. It is truly soul-stirring for me.
Biology is the study of living things. I think that watching my children grow and seeing how much they are learning is a study in human resilience. I love homeschooling!
Here is a cute little book to help your littles understand the process a little more.