PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Local students are getting a taste of farm life by renting a chicken.

Kids at Shady Side Academy are participating in a program called Rent The Chicken.

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“We offer an opportunity for people to rent chickens with all of their supplies, including food, for a typical rental period from spring to fall,” says owner Jenn Tompkins.

The kids named these two chickens, Snicker and Doodle.

The head of the school, Ellen McConnell, says it’s a learning experience.

“One of the most important things, I think, is for children to understand that their food does not come from the grocery store. It comes from animals and farms.”

Each week, Snicker and Doodle will be cared for by a different grade, seven grades in all.

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“It’s going to be like a new experience, because we’ve never had live animals here,” says third grader Paulina Johnson.

The chickens will not only provide eggs, but fertilizer for the Shady Side garden.

Science teacher Tina Nussbaumwagler says her students will learn “not only where their food comes from, but the work and resources needed to produce one egg. Many students eat at least one egg a day.”

Second grader Isaiah Beckham says they’ll also learn how to “help take care of them, feed them, and keep them company.”

“It’s really nice that we’ll get to see how they live and it’s really cool,” adds second grader Abigail Hathaway.

They’ll even learn where expressions like “pecking order” come from. Just don’t let them fly the coop.

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