A growing concept in the Valley is hatched when deciding what comes first — the chicken or the egg or a chicken with talent — as 13 first grade Desert View Learning Center students recently served as judges for the 2021 Chicken’s Got Talent competition.
Teacher Michael Handelman’s classroom full of virtual judges from Desert View Learning Center at 4027 E. Lincoln Drive in Paradise Valley, assisted in choosing winners from out of 30 video entries that were submitted by an April deadline.
Top three winners received trophies, limited-edition 2021 Chickens Got Talent T-shirts, and were showcased online. The first-place award included a $100 gift card to a chicken supply vendor and every participant got a CGT sticker.
Finalists’ videos are featured on Chickens.org, which is a program of Capax World, 6991 E. Camelback Road, suite D-300 in Scottsdale.
The Desert View Learning Center first-graders can be seen on video judging the videos submissions as students held up signs ranking the chicken talents and voiced their opinions during acts that even showed one chicken doing hurdles.
Noting the popularity of the poultry community, the Chickens.org program director, Molly Sutton thanked the young judges for helping judge contest submissions from chicken athletes to musicians and more.
“We wanted to engage local kids in our program through our talent show, as a different, virtual form of outreach and education. Most of our teacher friends were so overwhelmed by COVID, that even video-judging the talent show was a challenge,” Ms. Sutton said to the Independent.
“We were so happy that our friends at Desert View were able and willing to get those wonderful first-graders on board with us.”
She said plans are underway for another Chicken’s Got Talent competition to make it an annual event, adding “people have already started training!”
“We have found an amazing chicken community online, especially through Instagram. We were seeing so many talented chickens we wanted to highlight them while raising awareness of our coops and gardens initiative! This year has been hard on a lot of people and we wanted to bring a little joy. Nothing brings us more joy than chickens,” she said.
Stating that educators in underserved communities are interested in the talent show to teach and engage students about “the world of chickens, eggs and nutrition,” she noted many public schools are hesitant to have chickens on the campuses.
However, engaging students by video meetings, experiments, question-and-answer sessions is best at this time.
“Regulations in schools due to COVID-19 created hurdles for us in installing school coops and gardens in Phoenix this year. We have some great relationships with several schools in underserved communities, and are looking forward to working with them on gardens, coops and fun learning experiences, when the world gets back to ‘normal,’” Ms. Sutton said.
The “silly and fun” talent show has a primary purpose of promoting the benefits of establishing chicken coops in communities as a single hen can lay more than 500 eggs in two years, she said, detailing the “powerful tool in combating malnutrition.”
Ms. Sutton said the chicken organization’s Coops and Gardens initiative was designed to set up sustainable chicken coops in underserved communities and schools to help alleviate malnutrition and poverty through education, meeting physical needs for nutrition. Eggs are a source of protein and vitamins to help fight malnutrition.
“To understand its importance, if everyone in the world had enough protein to eat, six million lives would be saved every year. Ensuring proper protein, however, begins at a very early age. Pregnant moms need to eat enough protein to have healthy babies. A protein-rich diet during pregnancy helps the child for the rest of its life, enabling brain and body development and a strong immune system.
Babies and children need to eat enough protein for brain development, physical growth and strong immune systems. Kids who don’t eat enough protein can’t focus or learn well in school, and get sick often. Amazingly, just two eggs provide all the daily protein a baby or toddler needs. When we fight malnutrition, we make people healthy, and help break the cycle of poverty,” she said.
She noted the importance of having school visits, adding “our chickens love to travel.”
“Recently, we’ve had a lot of interest from urban dwellers who want to raise their own food and enjoy a healthy activity with their families,” Ms. Sutton said. “A coop doesn’t take up much space, and people just love their chickens.”
Community and family coops and gardens are said to improve nutrition, physical and mental health, plus add a community connection. Anyone considering raising chickens can check out chickens.org for tips on easy chicken raising.