You will need
- Pens or pencils
- Sticky tack
- Permanent markers
- Craft materials, including scissors, big sheets of card and coloured card
- Clean recycled materials, including cardboard and oasis floral foam bricks
Before you begin
- This activity is intended to help prepare anyone working towards their Scouts Farming Activity Badge for the minimum three-month period they’ll need to look after their poultry for. This should give those working on the badge plenty of time to demonstrate what they’ve learned from this activity.
- Print and cut out enough ‘Rule the roost’ cards for small groups to have one set each.
- Print and cut out enough ‘Chicken coop labels’ for small groups to have one set each.
Make sure that you know everything you need to care for chickens, including how to purchase them. Head over to The Poultry Club’s website, where you should find all the information you’ll need.The Poultry Club
Choose your chicken
- Split into small groups of two to six people, and give each a set of ‘Rule the roost’ cards. Explain that you’ll be playing a game to explore how different breeds of chicken lay different types and amounts of eggs.
- Ask a volunteer to shuffle and deal out the cards evenly, face-down, to each player. Players should hold their cards in a stack so that they can only see the topmost card.
- The player to the dealer’s left should play first. They should read out a stat from their top card (for example, ‘Number of toes - five’). All other players should then read out the same stat.
- The player with the best or highest value wins that round. They should take all the top cards, including their own, and put them at the bottom of their deck.
- The winning player then chooses a stat from the next card in their pile. Continue in this way until one player holds all of the cards.
Make a model coop a home
- Come to an agreement on the kind of chickens the group will be keeping, using what they’ve learned from the top trumps. When this is agreed, everyone can start thinking about how they’ll be housed. Switch into new groups of the same size, and give each group some scrap cardboard, scissors, sticky tack and a set of ‘Chicken coop labels’.
- Groups should work together to create a model chicken coop from the cardboard, and label the different elements with the ‘Chicken coop labels’. Not all of the items on labels are needed, or should be used, so groups will need to think carefully about how they design a cosy coop that keeps their breed happy and healthy.
- When the coops are complete, gather together and take it in turns to share designs. Each group should explain each of the features of their coop model.
- The person leading the activity should use the information below to comment on the labels the groups have chosen and suggest changes where necessary.
Make a three-month chicklist
- Anyone working towards their Farmer Activity Badge needs to look after chickens for at least three months. Now that you’ve found the birds and sorted the coop design, explain that it’s time to make a care plan for looking after the brood.
- Switch into the groups (or pairs) that’ll be responsible for the chickens. Some people might be working individually. Give each one a big sheet of card, coloured marker pens and a ruler.
- Draw a vertical line down the card, left of centre. Draw two evenly-spaced horizontal lines across the card, to create a table with two columns and three rows.
- In each row of the small left-hand column, label the boxes:
- As often as possible
- Now, fill in the right-hand side column with the tasks that need to be completed in these timeframes. Some examples can be found below.
Carve some floral oasis into the rough shape of a chicken using a palette knife, then cut some feather shapes from different colours of card. Gather together and discuss this question: ‘Why is traditional at-home chicken farming better than large scale industrial farming?’ Everyone should write their answers onto the card features and stick into the oasis chicken. People might suggest that at-home farming: guarantees a truly free-range practice, or that it gives you the opportunity to bond with your chickens and increase their happiness, or that it allows you to make sure the birds have a good balance of mixed corn and green plants in their diet.
- Outdoor activities
You must have permission to use the location. Always check the weather forecast and inform parents and carers of any change in venue.
- Animals and insects
Be aware of the risks before interacting with animals. Be aware of anyone with allergies, and make alternative arrangements for them.
- Heavy and awkward objects
Don’t lift or move heavy or awkward items without help. Break them down into smaller parts if possible.
- Gardening and nature
Everyone must wash their hands after the activity has finished. Wear gloves if needed. Explain how to safely use equipment and set clear boundaries so everyone knows what’s allowed.
- Rubbish and recycling
All items should be clean and suitable for this activity.
Check for allergies before you begin. Make sure you have suitable areas for storing and preparing food and avoid cross contamination of different foods.
- Near water
Manage groups carefully when near water. The guidance on activities near water will help you to keep your group safe.