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Denton students are learning about chickens by raising them

Chickens (MTN News, February 2023)
Posted at 4:54 PM, Feb 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-15 19:09:13-05

DENTON — Students in Denton are learning about the current prices of eggs and chickens. When answering what came first between the chicken and the egg, it's the egg for Denton middle schoolers.

Paige Aylward teaches agriculture and shop classes in Denton and brought some eggs to class, which ended up hatching on Christmas Day. Now the chickens are starting to grow and are giving the students a hands-on way to learn about the birds.

"I went to a conference this summer where they taught us how to actually butcher in class," Aylward said. "I decided that I wanted to start with the beginning of life, and kind of show them all steps and all processes of chicken production."

They are learning not only about raising chickens, but the egg market. For the students, it's a hands-on experience that's different from what they're used to, and they've enjoyed it so far.

"I was happy and excited. It's fun being around them," seventh-grader Allison Hershberger said. "We really just take care of feeding them and water and clean their pan. I've never been around chickens that much, so I just like being around them."

Chickens (MTN News)

The students are also learning about current egg prices, which spiked at the end of 2022 due to the avian flu.

"I've had my experiences with chickens when I was younger while we had them," seventh grader Samantha Kassube said, who is also a poultry judge. "In the future, I want to be able to do this more often and I want to have a good opportunity to learn more about them while I'm still younger."

According to the USDA, wholesale prices for graded loose eggs are lower, along with consumer demand for shell eggs. They also say Montana saw $27 million in egg sales in 2021. As for the middle schoolers, their next step is to build a chicken coop and start to make some business decisions as their new class pets begin to lay eggs.

"It's been fun for them. It's definitely had a positive outlook for them and something that they look forward to coming and seeing every single day," Aylward said. "It's the first thing that they want to do when they come to class."

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