Grit Blogs > Natural Chicken Keeping

We Donated a Chicken to Science and Now We Have a Trick Chicken in the Yard

Leigh Schlling EdwardsMy daughter likes science ... in theory. She enjoys the experiments in class and blowing stuff up, but those darn test grades just proved a bit out of reach. She needed a way to boost her grades, and Penny, our Production Red hen, was just the chicken to help her.

Up until she was donated to science, Penny was just your average Production Red hen. She spent her time chasing bugs, hunting lizards and faithfully laying an egg a day. Then life changed when she was brought into the house once or twice a day for training sessions. As far as Penny was concerned, she was brought into the people house and had the opportunity to earn unlimited scratch ... her favorite!! This suited her just fine, thank you!

Penny - Lizard's Bane

It didn't take Penny long to figure out exactly what was expected from her. In the first training session, my daughter had her pecking a picture of a star for a reward ... you know - because Penny is a star! In just a few sessions, Penny would pick out that star no matter how many other options there were - including options that looked like bugs or worms ... YUM!

Penny attending to the work of being a chicken

Then one day Penny was put into a pet carrier and taken to school. While most chickens might have completely freaked out, Penny acted like she did this kind of thing every day. Eventually she was allowed out of the carrier and found herself standing on a lab table in front of a class of children along with numerous teachers and other staff members who had heard there was going to be a chicken at school. (The heck with Mary's little lamb! This chicken is one amazing mother clucker!)

Unfortunately I was too tied up handling cards and props to get a video of the amazing performance, but we reenacted the whole thing for your viewing pleasure!

Click HERE to see Penny's amazing intelligence... and appetite...

After her performance, Penny was lovingly lugged about the class so that all the kids could shower her with adoration and praise. Queen Penny seemed to enjoy the entire process.

And yes – my kid got her first A+ in science!