[June 8, 2017] – Have you ever imagined chickens in skyscrapers? Or farm fresh eggs produced right in the city? Backyard chickens are becoming popular pets in urban areas and Saint Louis, Mo., is one of the cities leading the way. You’re invited to learn more at an upcoming event at the Saint Louis Science Center on June 22 with a special speaker from Purina Animal Nutrition.
Maddie Earnest, manager of the Saint Louis Science Center GROW gallery, says that all are invited to the event to see chickens firsthand.
“The idea of the GROW gallery is to help people tie together the journey of their food from farm to table,” she says. “We do that through talking about plant biology, animal biology, agronomics and personal connections to agriculture. Nearly one million visitors come to the Science Center each year.”
From day one, a flock of backyard chickens have called GROW home. Breeds that can be found in the flock include Rhode Island Reds, Asian Blues and even Easter Eggers, which lay blue eggs.
On June 22 at 6:30 p.m. CST, Dr. Patrick Biggs, flock nutritionist at Purina Animal Nutrition, will give a special presentation on the basics of raising backyard chickens at the gallery.
“We're excited Purina will be a featured presenter this summer,” continues Earnest. “Purina has been a great partner to us in launching and sustaining our backyard chicken experience and we were so thankful. We’ve been feeding Purina®
Organic and all the birds are happy.”
With the backyard chicken movement sweeping the nation, flocks are appearing in both rural and urban cities. Earnest explains incorporating resident chickens into the GROW gallery demonstrates how easy it can be to raise a flock.
“Having chickens as a part of GROW shows people it’s possible to raise them locally,” she says. “There are certainly people who were thinking about it but weren't sure they could do it. Seeing the chickens here can launch them into keeping their own backyard flock.”
In addition to the special presentation on June 22, GROW hosts free organized daily discussions called Chicken Chats, to introduce visitors to their flock. Topics covered include predator proofing chicken coops, chicken anatomy, pecking order, nutrition and more.
“The Chicken Chats are very hands-on,” explains Earnest. “Visitors can feed the chickens a snack. There are so many different conversations you can have from interacting with our friendly flock.”
One of the frequently asked questions at the center: What does the GROW gallery do with the eggs the chickens lay?
“We try to share the wealth,” says Earnest. “We give them to our volunteers. Sometimes we'll give them to the janitorial staff or the exhibit staff takes them home. Our chickens’ farm fresh eggs are delicious!”
And, Earnest says the taste of the eggs is a direct connection to the feed the chickens eat, which comes locally from Saint Louis-based Purina Animal Nutrition.
“We're glad to have Purina as a partner and it makes so much sense since we are located here in Saint Louis, just a few miles from the Purina Animal Nutrition Center in Gray Summit,” she adds. “We're surrounded by farms and farmland, which was part of the inspiration for doing an exhibit on agriculture. It's important to help connect kids and parents alike to the story of their food, and so many of our visitors flock right to the chickens to learn more.”
To attend the special presentation on June 22, simply stop by the Saint Louis Science Center located at 5050 Oakland Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63110 at 6:30 p.m. CST. To learn more about the GROW gallery at the Saint Louis Science Center, go to www.slscgrow.squarespace.com or call 314-289-4400.
If you’re interested in starting a flock of backyard chickens, visit www.purinamills.com/chicken-feed
or connect with Purina Poultry on Facebook