New chicks on the block

In the Downey High School farm, Luis Zavala, 10, holds new eggs he picked up from the hen house and is ready to move them to their temporary homes to make room for the baby chickens on June 1. “It is easy to work with them since they are babies because they’re easier to handle,” Zavala stated.

Mehak Khan, Staff Writer

On Mon., June 1, Downey High School added several new baby chickens to its farm. The on-campus farm developed in 2011, which led to the creation of Farm Club in 2015 by Mr. Houts, Downey High School’s principal.


In the past years, new chicks were originally bought from a hatchery in Iowa, but until May they were sold out. The next option was to buy them from a feed store. On Apr. 22, 32 chicks came in to Downey High School and were kept in a brooder box in room Z-16. Six breeds were received on the first day, then on May 1 three additional breeds were added, and the last breed arrived on May 6.


Mr. Weisenburger, a CAHSEE math teacher, explains why it was necessary to replace the old chickens.


“Once the chickens come to a retirement age they stop laying eggs,” Weisenburger said. “We decided to replace them with all female chickens so that we can sell their eggs.”


To make room for the new chicks and keep them safe, some of the old chickens are kept in the back and others were butchered. The chicks will not be able to leave their chicken coop until they have fully adapted to the farm environment. Since they are still at a young age it is possible for them to be bullied by the older animals in the farm.


Briana Medina, 11, president of Farm Club, expresses her excitement for the new baby chickens.


“I’m really excited to see them grow up,” Medina said. “Once they are released from the coop, I will be observing them and feeding them to make sure they grow up healthy.”


The baby chickens that came before were bought as eggs which were kept in incubators in a science classroom. Those were not helpful because a couple of them did not end up hatching and some ended up being roosters.


Beda Murrieta, 11, vice president of Farm Club, explains why she likes being in farm club.


“I love taking care of the animals,” Murrieta said. “Not everyone can say they took care of baby chickens or goats during school.”


Farm club meets every Monday in room Z-16. Their main priority is to take care of the farm animals and maintain the farm. The chicks in the farm are currently situated in a chicken coop and will be residing there for one week.