In 2017, Gateway to the Arctic Camp introduced its first livestock to the farm — chickens! We built our six laying hens a red and white hen house and spent the summer learning how to care for our new feathered friends.
The next summer, we had eight laying hens and more than 30 broilers (meat chickens). One of our summer interns, Drew, took on the role of being our resident chicken expert and learned everything under the sun about caring for chickens. He took the hens out to roam, made toys for them, and protected them from the fox roaming around the camp. The chickens were loved by our campers! Even the broilers, which tend to be less friendly and huggable than the hens, made fast friends with participants of our inclusive camps.
As summer was coming to a close, it was time to butcher the broilers. We asked our friend Sameth, who grew up butchering chickens in Cambodia, to teach us how to do it efficiently and humanely. Over the course of a couple weeks, we harvested the chickens. Although challenging at times, it was a great learning experience for our interns and HOPE Volunteer Corps participants. We sold them at our inaugural chicken auction in November and raised more than $3,000 to be put back into the camp.