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Resources to Support Raising Chickens in District School Gardens

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Chicken in School Program

Egg-laying female hens are allowed in the District and are a great way to engage students in the school garden, especially in urban environments like the District of Columbia where many students are disengaged with details pertaining to the food system.

This initiative was created in response to the growing number of schools in the District that have requested guidance on caring for chickens in schools. While the benefits are many, chickens do require vigilant care and attention. Here is where you can find basic guidelines created by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) and the Department of Health (DOH) to assist District schools with establishing and maintaining chicken programs.

Steps to Getting Started

  1. Watch the Introduction to Chickens in Schools Webinar. For questions, please contact Sam Ullery at [email protected]. This webinar must be watched each year by any one at the school that will be resposable for managing the chicken program.
  2. Notify the District Department of Health’s Animal Services Program (DOH/ASP) that you intend to establish a school egg-laying chicken program. Please email [email protected], [email protected], and [email protected].
  • Create a Chicken Management Plan using the Chicken Management Plan Template with key stakeholders (administration, teachers, parents). Both documents can be found below.
  • Schedule a pre-inspection visit of the planned site.
  1. Establish an appropriate chicken run and coop using the guidelines provided in this document (this can be done after the pre-inspection site visit too).
  2. Conduct a pre-inspection visit of the planned site with the DOH/ASP to receive a permit at no charge.
  3. Purchase and receive chickens, feed, and any necessary equipment from a reccomened provider (see Resources).
  4. Continually reach out to DOH/ASP to support your  school chicken program.
  5. Coordinate annual inspections of the program with the DOH/ASP. Repeat steps 1 and 2 each year.

Related Content: School Garden Resources