For Me and the Hens

Every few months I get a letter from my favorite class of special learners, Mrs. Sibilia’s students in Florida. These are kids with learning challenges, from autism to developmental delays, but they are all phenomenal scientists, artists, writers and thinkers. Mrs. Sibilia’s expectations of her students’ capabilities are high, and the kids meet them. She keeps them engaged by using the HenCam. In her most recent letter she writes:

After every 20 minutes of viewing your site, we journal (or write) about what we have noticed different or discovered new to the little farm or within the blogs. It has taught them to think about worlds outside of their own environment and encounter new perspectives about animals, weather, and weather terminology, seasonal changes, geographical locations and so much more. My principal and staff have commended us on the unique and creative idea of this kind of teaching. They have witnessed how it has affected my students’ ability to learn, retain information and apply what they have learned into their everyday living.

I’ve been delighted to share my world with these young Floridians. While I was grousing about the record snowfall, her classroom in Florida was thrilled! (Although I did email them reassurances that everyone here was fine.)

In order to keep the HenCam streaming (it costs more than a thousand a year in hosting fees alone) I ask for “coffee” money. I’m grateful for everyone’s contributions, no matter how small. But the check from Mrs. Sibilia’s class couldn’t have made me happier if was double the amount. She wrote: We even did lessons based on your site about money – they collected money for the animals, penny by penny, and counted their totals each day or so. These were kids that had no idea what the value of money was at the beginning of the year.

To complete that lesson, I cashed the check for $11.18, which paid for (almost exactly) two watermelons. So, Mrs. Sibilia’s class, your saving and counting has given this to the hens of Little Pond Farm:

hens eye watermelon


There’s plenty of watermelon for all!

hens and watermelon


Doesn’t it look as if the hens have made themselves into a wheel?

chicken wheel


Many thanks from all of us at Little Pond Farm! Keep an eye on the cams. As soon as the hens get their fill, I’m sure that Phoebe will come along and eat the rind.

Have a wonderful summer vacation and I hope to hear from all of you at the beginning of the next school year!


  1. I think this is a wonderful program! I work in a school on the west coast and have thought that this would be a great thing to do in our school…Maybe I should act on that thought and bring the HenCam to Custer Elementary. Yesterday I was wondering about the nursing home chickens and how they were doing…….thanks for all you do Terry!

    • I haven’t heard peep from the nursing home, so all must be well :) I set that up so that they wouldn’t need my involvement once the flock was established and the staff trained.

  2. That is just so lovely. I bet the students will love the photo of the girls with their watermelon, especially the last “wheel” photo.

  3. What a great story! So good to hear the youngsters love Hencam as much as we do. Also great that their pennies went to watermelons for the girls. Thanks for your blog Terry.

  4. What an awesome program for the children and how wonderful they get to see the hens enjoying their delicious melon.

  5. Lovely to see Opal still looking so well, they are certainly all enjoying their treat :)

    • I’m surprised that Opal recovered so well. She still lays wrinkled eggs, and once in awhile she ejects white without the rest of the egg, but she appears sturdy and happy.

  6. what a nice blog and the kids get to watch the chickens enjoy their generosity. nice

  7. Brilliant! Such wonderful photos for the kids to enjoy and learn from too.

  8. Boy, that watermelon has been eaten down to a nub! It is nice to see Opal looking well but it is going to be a long summer of frowziness for Jasper. A long winter’s discontent indeed. Thanks to the kids for the watermelon. This viewer appreciates it very much.

    • I’ve given up on Jasper :) Every since she was a chick, she’s encouraged the other hens to eat her feathers. She offers her back to them. Oh well.

      • She’s one of my favorites, even frowzy. It is interesting to discover the odd things that the hens do. When roosting, my Scarlett likes to put her head under her sisters. When she was head hen, she could do this indiscriminately. Now she has to be a bit more careful.

  9. My chickens like watermelon too! I’ve learned not to stand to close to their pecks, as they squirt juice every time they peck.