Students use chickens to learn about urban agriculture



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BELLEVUE, Neb. (AP) — Students at a Bellevue high school are using chickens to help learn about agriculture.

The Omaha World-Herald (http://bit.ly/1Su4UOu ) reported students enrolled in Bryan High School's urban agriculture academy worked with a flock of seven chickens. Six chickens moved out of the coop last week at 5 weeks old because Bellevue's chicken ordinance bars roosters. The other is a 3-month-old Barred Plymouth Rock hen that hatched at the school.

Channing Reha and other teachers came up with the idea for studying chickens last year.

"There's no better way to learn than to do and touch and feel," Reha said. "We had the garden, and that's a great plant science tie-in. But we had nothing for animals."

Bryan High School first obtained permission for the chickens from Omaha Public Schools and the city of Bellevue. A donor then provided the chicken supplies, and a teacher built the coop, nicknamed the "Taj Mahal."

During incubation, the students learned about the developing chicks. After the eggs hatched, students performed health checks on the birds.

"We put in fresh water and food, and we usually have to clean the chicken poop," junior Andrea Gonzalez said.

Students often peer inside the coop and check on chirping chicks before class.

"I feel like I've seen a lot of growth in the kids as far as responsibility," Reha said. "They know they can't leave their chickens in bad condition."

The school's urban agriculture academy is in its fourth year. Students enrolled in the academy also grow produce and herbs on school grounds.

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Information from: Omaha World-Herald, http://www.omaha.com

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The Associated Press

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