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Lakewood Ranch High junior Isabelle Chamness, FFA adviser Janyel Taylor and junior Alyssa Mckinney snuggle up to their chickens.
East County Thursday, Apr. 13, 2017 5 years ago

Grant provides new coup

Lakewood Ranch High's chickens won't have to cross the road.
by: Berkley Mason Staff Writer

Apparently, chickens and cars don’t mix well.

Janyel Taylor, the Future Farmers of America adviser at Lakewood Ranch High School, has been bringing her own chickens to school for her students.

“I am so tired of running through the Dunkin’ Donuts drive-thru with chickens in my car,” Taylor said. “When they start making their chicken noises in the back of my car, it gets a little weird.”

Now, thanks to the hard work by her FFA students, Taylor will no longer be transporting her own chickens to school. They will have their own coop on campus.

Lakewood Ranch High’s FFA chapter received news earlier in April it was one of the six schools in Florida to be awarded a Tractor Supply Co. Grant for Growing. The school will receive $2,255.

The Lakewood Ranch FFA chapter will put its grant money toward an 8-foot, 10-inch tall chicken coop that will house 20 chickens.

With about 20 chickens of her own at home, Taylor, who is affectionately called “the crazy chicken lady” by her students, has her own system for naming some of her chickens.

“I only name the ones that I like,” Taylor said. “Buffy is the name of my favorite chicken, because her breed is a Buff. Frizzle is my show chicken, and I named her because she looks like she just got electrocuted.”

Jokes aside, Taylor wants her students to learn some important lessons.

“This is just one more opportunity for our kids to handle a different animal,” Taylor said. “The goal of our chicken coop is to help us start a co-op next year, selling eggs to teachers and community members to raise money for our FFA chapter.”

Isabelle Chamness, a Lakewood Ranch High junior and incoming FFA president, would not classify herself as a chicken expert, but she does have experience.

“My grandmother has chickens, so I go over there, feed them and collect their eggs,” Chamness said. “I’m a large animal kind of person — dairy cows, swine and beef heifers — so it will be really cool to have a chicken coop and learn more about chickens.”

Alyssa Mckinney, the incoming FFA vice president, wants to show chickens.

“My mother has a chicken farm at home,” Mckinney said. “And I’ve always wanted to show at the Manatee County Fair. Raising chickens at school will help me gain more knowledge, and I could even keep my own chickens here in our coop.”

Lakewood Ranch High’s chickens will have a permanent hall pass.

“Our chickens will be free range, all day,” Taylor said. “Happy chickens equal more eggs.”

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