Wilco grant paves the way for chicken coop
Madras High School Agriculture Program and FFA students are willing and eager, they have all of the supplies, but they just need a few local experts to lend a hand in constructing a new chicken coop.
"The Madras High School Agricultural Program needs a chicken coop, and Wilco has awarded us a grant to make it happen," said agricultural teacher and FFA Advisor Sara Vollmer. "We're trying to find someone who is willing to come in during the school day to work with kids on building the structure on our outdoor landlab."
In early February of 2020, Vollmer applied for a Wilco grant, seeking funding for a chicken coop so students could have a permanent home for their poultry. A few weeks later, she got word that Wilco awarded $2,000 to the program to cover the cost of materials for a chicken coop. Many of the supplies were purchased from Wilco.
"We reached out last year before the school shut down, and we received some responses to our request, but after a year of COVID restrictions, we want to ask again in hopes that they are still interested or there is new energy out there," Vollmer said. "Supplies have been purchased, students in ag classes are excited to get started, and administration has allowed community to help as long as we follow mask and distance guidelines."
The goal is to begin construction after spring break and have poultry living in the coop this spring.
The 12-foot-by-6-foot coop will have a large run and will be built on the agricultural program landlab, which is on the south end of the high school campus surrounding the greenhouse.
Vollmer said students in the high school Animal Science and Introduction to Veterinary Science pathways have benefitted from the chicken project, which allowed students to raise chickens. Every year, FFA holds a turkey fundraiser for Thanksgiving, and a poultry coop will enable students to raise turkeys in a safe environment.
"The Horticulture and Greenhouse Management and Operations class will also benefit from this project by growing fodder to feed the chickens, and any food from our greenhouse or landlab garden will go to the chickens to supplement their diet," Vollmer said.
Students in the agricultural program who do not have the ability to keep poultry at their home will be allowed to keep their poultry in the chicken coop at the landlab. This option will enable more students to participate in small animal projects at the Jefferson County Fair.
Additionally, agriculture and FFA students invite local third graders to visit their landlab each year for Touch and See Day.
"Not only would a proper house be good for our flock, but it would make the agricultural program landlab look more professional, tidy and inviting," Vollmer said.
She said the Madras agricultural program is very excited to be working with Wilco and is gracious for their support.
"Wilco is a huge supporter of FFA, giving numerous grants to FFA Chapters all over Oregon and Washington every year," Vollmer said. "With Wilco's support, more students will be able to be involved in agriculture, increasing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success."
Chicken coop construction help
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