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Chickens attract flock of fans in Farmville

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More than 60 fans of a feather gathered together in Farmville for “Exploring Chickens with Miriam Lewis and Greene County 4-H.”

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By DONNA MARIE WILLIAMS
The Farmville Enterprise

Saturday, August 11, 2018

FARMVILLE — Chickens attracted a flock of people to the grounds of the May Museum & Park recently.

More than 60 fans of a feather gathered together for “Exploring Chickens with Miriam Lewis and Greene County 4-H.”

The program, sponsored by the May Museum and Farmville Public Library, was designed to teach participants how to care for chickens, as well as where eggs come from.

“We do about half our programs with the museum,” said library Director David Miller. “(We have) partnered on a variety of successful projects for the past five years. I think its great.

“As a librarian, I’m always excited about creating learning opportunities,” Miller said. “This is a great way for children to learn about (chickens) and some of our older citizens to make reconnection with their past. They have a great lawn here to offer for the animals.”

Museum Director Lindsay Annis added, “It’s a program that we haven’t had yet in Farmville. Anything that can further education and further any agricultural-based program as a way for families to see a healthy lifestyle … (helps) reinforce support for local business, farmers and agriculture. We partner a lot with (the library) because we have the same (interests) with learning, having that family atmosphere and furthering education.”

The duo sought out the help of Miriam Lewis of Little Creek Market to provide educational instruction.

“Miriam Lewis is a big presence in Farmville,” Miller said. “We’ve been trying to get her here to do a talk on farming or animals and she suggested a program on chickens.”

Lewis brought in the Greene County 4-H to provide instruction.

“Chickens are one of the popular animals that are kept right now,” said Greene County 4-H Agent Coleman Becton. “For kids, it’s about teaching responsibility. Quite a few life skills come from keeping animals.”

Lewis launched the program by reading a book about chickens, which explained that in order to live healthy lives, chickens need a house, like a backyard or chicken coop, along with fresh water and chicken feed. The book also discussed the importance of having a place for chickens to lay their eggs.

“Sometimes they say brown eggs are better than white eggs, but there is no difference nutritionally,” Lewis said.

4-H member Carter Becton, 5, identified the parts of a chicken by using a large plush chicken that was nearly as tall as he is.

4-H members Leslie Kate Brown, 8, and Alyssa Beaman, 9, both of Greene County, shared information about their chickens, Layla, Precious and Curious. Layla is a Silver-laced Wyandotte chicken. Precious is a Blue Orpington, and Curious is an Ayam Cemani chicken.

Other chicken breeds onsite included Bantam, Black Star, Cinnamon Red and Polish, which varied in color and size.

There are 113 breeds of chickens, according Lewis.

“They’re cute because they’re so small,” Beaman said, referring to the Bantam breed.

Bantams are small-sized chickens that lays eggs much smaller than a normal sized egg, Beaman said.

Children in attendance were encouraged to come meet the chickens. They also completed a craft featuring chickens.

“I like petting the chickens,” said Tyson Evans, 3, of Farmville.

The program intrigued children and adults, alike.

“I wanted to see the chickens and meet some people in Farmville,” said Suzanne Spain. “I’m new to town. I thought it was great. I learned a lot about chickens, and I think the children did great.”

Farmville resident Kearney Long added, “I wanted to see the children see the chickens. They’re gorgeous creatures.”

The program even inspired some people to express a desire to acquire chickens as pets in the future.

“I think I may get some chickens (when I retire),” said Judy Gidley, the director of the Farmville Chamber of Commerce.

Chicken who escaped their cages and roamed the museum grounds also provided entertainment.

“Sometimes chickens escape from cages on purpose. Sometimes they escape when we’re feeding them. Sometimes they poop, but it’s good for the worms and also plants,” said Evie Vlee, 5, of Farmville while taking a break from trying to lure several chickens out of the bushes with pieces of tomatoes.

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