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These hatchlings will calm anyone’s nerves

Animal therapy is widely recognized as a helpful tool for many mental issues. This type of unique therapy is relevant in select jails, prisons and homes, with therapy dogs and cats usually.

Ever since Riverview adopted these adorable baby Silkie chickens, the students that know about them have not been able to stay away. Marine Science teacher, Katrin Rudge takes care of them in her room, and any students who go to Guidance can request to see them in order to improve their mood and mindset for the day or even week.

“We’re trying to use them as therapy chickens, so whoever goes to Guidance feeling upset can come see the chickens. Anyone in my classes can go in and see the chickens, with permission, and after their work is completed. Anyone can come with a pass or with permission, and there is also time before and after school to see them,” Rudge stated.

These chickens, while still babies, are able to be handled and petted. They are just three weeks old and came to the school on Dec. 30. Since they are Silkie chickens, they are especially soft, and the bigger they grow, the fluffier their feathers will get.

Originally, Rudge and her students attempted to hatch chickens themselves in their classroom, but because of the high humidity inside, the eggs were unable to develop fully, and therefore none of them hatched. Suddenly, something very positive happened regarding new chickens.

“Mrs. Hernandez’s friend Tonya owned chickens, including hens. Tonya and her family went on vacation, and when they came back, three of the hens were sitting on eggs that had already begun to develop. Hernandez then asked me if I wanted the chicks once they were taken care of by the mom and hatched. I have never done this before and did not know what to expect,” Rudge said.

A student named Izabela Burns ’21 actually had the privilege of having the chicks at her house first, and even built an entire coop for them.

“Once they get older, we will have a coop for them outside by the Aqua Dome. They will be very people-friendly since we do handle them a lot. We will use their droppings for fertilizer for the food forest,” Rudge explained.

IB students are creating the food forest as a sustainability project for CAS with Steiner Bell’s direction.

There are many benefits to having these chickens on campus, for the mental health of Riverview students, the enjoyment for young students that come for Stars to Starfish to tour the Aqua Dome, and for the future Food Forest the school will have so that it can grow to the best of its ability.

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