Serving Mapleton, Illinois since 2022

Mapleton Mail

OHS Adds Chicken Coop in Honor of Local Farmer

The Olympia High School agriculture department has recently added a chicken coop outside of the school where they will raise hens and have hands-on learning opportunities. Richard “Dick” Johnson of Atlanta passed away last year, and his family chose Olympia FFA to be one of the organizations to donate some memorial money to. Johnson was a local farmer who had an egg delivery business, so the Olympia agriculture department found it fitting to buy a chicken coop for the school. The high school agricultural science class already raises chickens every year as part of their class experience. The class does a feed trial to learn about animal nutrition and the basics of taking care of animals. In the past, the hens would be sent to a local farm, but the new chicken coop offers the opportunity to keep the hens on campus for a year-round experience with the animals.

There are 14 hens in the coop currently. All of them have individual personalities and names, here is a list of some of the names: Cinnamon, Big Mamma, Illini, Cruella, Luna, Chase, Angel, Taffy, Cherry, and Rocky. The group of hens do not lay many eggs yet, but some of them laid their first eggs this week. Between the 14, there are three different breeds that are known for their good egg production. The three breeds are Barred Rocks, Easter Eggers, and Cinnamon Queen. At peak production, each hen will lay about 5 eggs per week. 

Daily care for the chickens consists of providing fresh water, checking the feeder, collecting eggs, and letting the chickens out of the attached chicken run to free range. Weekly, they will clean out the coop and dust bath. Every other week they will move the chicken coop and run to a new grass area. One big concern was predators, but the spring 2021 agricultural science class built a chicken run that teacher, Bryce Hoffman, stated “is predator proof”. Hoffman exclaimed that “everyone is learning a great amount with this class project so far!”

Chloe Scroggins
Correspondent, Columnist

Chloe Scroggins was a Mail Correspondent covering the Olympia communities starting in March of 2021, and was the Mail Agriculture Columnist from August 2021 until July 2022. She is from Danvers, Illinois.