After a grueling in-class test on the anatomy and physiology of animals, I got into my friend Amanda’s black Pontiac Grand Prix with her, and our friends Jocelyn and Dylan and did this fantastic interview in the car. Amanda, Dylan, and Jocelyn, and their friend Lila who could not make the interview are the founders of UMass Chicken Group. They are a student run club that teaches students how to raise poultry for meat. This semester they started with 15 chickens, which they hope will become 40 next semester, and raised them in a free range, pasture rotation, sustainable manner. It is a completely student run organization where students bring in guest lecturers, do all the labor themselves, and make all the managerial decisions. The group had a rocky start with a freak snowstorm and inexperience causing several deaths, with the help of the barn managers the group took off. By the end of this semester they had processed twelve birds and sold them to group members. They hope to one-day raise enough birds each semester to become part of the student run CSA’s and Farmers markets in the area. The one thing I could not understand, as a very inactive member of chicken group was what kept them going, for the 4 am barn checks in the freezing cold, and the daily maintenance that the chickens need. For each of them it was a different answer, Dylan loved the interaction with the chickens, and raising them, Amanda loved what a learning experience it ended up being, and Jocelyn thought that following your food from beginning to end, and seeing every step it went through was enlightening and fun. All in all Chicken group is a great, jusdgement free place to go and learn a little about meat production for those who want it. (pictured from left to right: Lila, Amanda, Jocelyn, and Dylan)

Chicken Group Founders learning the basics of chicken processing

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