Baraboo High School’s agriculture department may be getting chickens, pending permit approval from the city.
Kristina Puntney, BHS agriculture teacher and FFA advisor, got unanimous approval from the district’s buildings and grounds committee Monday, July 12, to purchase a small chicken coop and set it up near the school’s greenhouse.
“I want a chicken coop because it’s great hands-on experience for the kids,” Puntney said, noting that many students have never handled farm animals.
She said the school can get a permit from the city of Baraboo for five chickens and potentially more in the future, but first she needed district approval.
“It’s kind of a ‘which comes first’ kind of question,” said Chairman Mike Kohlman, earning laughter from the committee.
The coop itself will cost between $300-$1,200, depending on size, Puntney said. She plans to pay for it with Carl Perkins federal grant money already awarded to the district, the ag program budget and potentially other grants. She said the program budget would be able to cover ongoing operational costs.
Dan O’Brien, director of building and grounds, said the coop will need its own dedicated power for lights and heat in the winter.
Puntney said she wants to start small to figure out any kinks in her plans and get a mobile coop that can be moved if the district later grants her anticipated proposal for adding a new ag classroom to the back of the greenhouse.
The high school’s food service department is interested in taking and using the eggs produced by the chickens, she said.
Over holiday breaks, she, her counterpart from the middle school and possibly students will be able to take care of the poultry, she said.
“Students always want to help with that kind of stuff,” Puntney said.
Interested students could be allowed to house them over the summers, or the chickens could be killed and new ones purchased for the next school year.
Committee member Paul Kujak said he was concerned about the potential odor, especially for nearby athletic complex, but Puntney said she doesn’t expect any issues given the small volume of excrement and that she hopes to compost it.
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