Clucking with Joy
We have 12 beautiful young females living with us this summer. They have an enclosure behind the WLIT (Malcolm Thomas) cabin. They have their own little sandbox, compost, and overnight housing complete with bars to hang out on and boxes to nestle into.
Yes, we have chickens at Wanapitei. Our 12 hens are different varieties so we are able to show campers and staff members the different coloured eggs. “Hey, white eggs come from white chickens!” Their enclosure is made out of netting that has a small charge running through it. The current is created by a small solar panel. The whole system is perfect for Camp Wanapitei – a place where we strive to educate others about living close to the earth – in harmony with the local environment. The chickens produce fantastic compost which we add to our growing vegetable garden. They also eat food scraps that are created in our kitchen and dining hall. Showing campers how easy it is to care for chickens and receive eggs from them, is part of a value system that includes other measures that we take to live more lightly on the earth. Other examples of living within this value system include: Buying our fair-trade-organic and locally roasted coffee from a roastery very near to our main office in Guelph, ON, and supporting the local Temagami economy by purchasing our fresh food from a small, seasonal, local grocer. We also buy all of our summer sausage (which goes out on trips) from a local Mennonite business.
The chickens are adored by campers and staff members. When we enter the enclosure, they run over to us and mill about our feet. Yesterday every Coureur de Bois camper held a hen!
We are grateful to Michael Craig- Wanapitei alumnus and past VII leader – and his family who raised the chickens from chicks (thus making them incredibly friendly and wonderful with children). Mike and his wife Mary-Kate also did all of the leg-work to make this project happen.
Early in the morning while we listen to the cacophony of bird song outside our cabin, we often hear a hen or two doing vocalizations announcing that another egg has been laid. They most certainly are clucking with joy.