Suggestions on keeping chickens in a school?


In the Brooder
11 Years
Nov 19, 2008
Melbourne, Australia
Hi everyone,

In an effort to educate kids on food and where it comes from, and following a successful kitchen/garden program in our childrens school, we are donating our old cubby/Wendy house and converting an old shelter shed into a coop for approx 15 chooks. We are in suburban Melbourne, Australia and the school has around 500 children. The shelter shed itself is about 15m x 10m, and the cubby house is about 2m x 2m (height - 3m).

I have a couple of questions for everyone out there:

Has anyone got pictures of a similar conversion?
Suggestions as to how we can situate the nesting boxes to protect from vandals?
Any ideas for art projects for the kids to be involved?
Wondering how we can incorporate plants/crops into the idea of chicken care for the curriculum?

The kids are very excited but am hoping for some ideas as to how it can be managed and make it look like it fits.

We are lucky that the local hardware store is donating all materials for the conversion but we are trying to think ahead for all contingencies.



Captain Carrot

8 Years
Jan 25, 2011
If you do a search for play house coop, you'll get loads of results. Many of them with pics.

As to the nest boxes, either get yourself decent locks for the external boxes, or build them inside the coop on a wall.

Hows about letting the kids paint the coop with a mural? you could run a competition for the best design, then paint that on the coop.

As for the crops, you could teach the kids how plants grow, what they need etc. Use beans in a jar or cotton wool so the beans are between the glass and wool, the kids will be bale to see the roots and shoots. Then get them to plant a veggy patch, and maintain it.

Good luck


Crossing the Road
13 Years
Sep 19, 2009
Holts Summit, Missouri
How old are students? You might be able to put a biology twist in their as well. I do same for fishes with part of course treating subjects as wild animals.

Having kids track feed applied as well as number and total weight of eggs could get some book keeping started. Feed cost and egg value might also be included. If a hen goes broody, then set some hatching eggs and record development.

Urban Chaos

8 Years
Feb 9, 2011
My sons elementary has a coop with 5 - there were more, but were taken (predator?person?). I have no pics, but it is completely fenced in, run and all so that only someone with a key can get in . Coming off the fenced coop-run is a covered area where class can be held. Children painted pictures of each type of Hen with breed specific information on plywood, these pictures are hung on the fence along with rules and other info. The coop is painted (by the children) with the school mascot and various designs. Fruit trees were then planted near the rear to provide shade as well as chicken treats, vines are planted at the front up the beams of the covered area. The whole coop has been such a success. Not only are the children are so proud of the birds, but the learning possibilities associated with the coop are nearly endless - from biology to environmental stewardship and economics (PTA sells the eggs). The school also has several large gardens, compost system and water collection. Food from the garden is eaten by students and/or sold to raise money. Vegetable matter from the cafeteria and gardens is fed to the chickens - helps keep food cost down - though a local feed store donates some. Chickens are free ranged under the care of the older classes during their recess - its considered an honor to be one of the selected chicken wranglers:)

Have fun


10 Years
Mar 15, 2009
Camino, CA
My old school had chickens and I remember that it was always so excited if you were chosen to care for them for the day (I don't remember how it was decided who got to take care of them but I went to a Montessori school and was probably based on how well you worked during the day). I just wanted to say that this is a great project for school children of any age and how much I remember it


In the Brooder
11 Years
Nov 19, 2008
Melbourne, Australia
Hi there,

Thanks so much for the replies and ideas. We are just about finished building the coop and about to choose some chooks.

The kids seem very excited and I love the idea of chicken wranglers at recess.

We are just beginning with this sort of sustainabiliy aspect to the school and are taking baby steps but all your help is welcome.



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