Saturday, October 15, 2016

Meet the Duke Gardens Chickens!

Luna the Buff Orpington
Story and photos by Sarah Leach Smith, Visitor Services Coordinator

The votes are in, and we can now officially introduce you to the new flock of chickens at Duke Gardens.

The names came from Duke University students and staff, Gardens’ volunteers and the public, who offered suggestions based on photos and descriptions posted at our website, and then voted for finalists. We received a total of more than 1,000 votes in the three contests, each of which featured three chickens. The Doris Duke Center Gardens staff named the tenth chicken, a speckled Sussex named Stella.

“The naming contest was an overwhelming success,” said Jason Holmes, curator of the Doris Duke Center Gardens, which includes the chicken coop in the Charlotte Brody Discovery Garden. “We loved having the public help in the naming process, and we are really excited about the names that were chosen.”

Marshmallow the Columbian Wyandotte
Lindsey Fleetwood, a horticulturist in the Doris Duke Center Gardens and chicken caretaker, echoed Jason’s sentiments. “There have been many times when I’ve been working in the chicken coop and visitors have come to see the chickens and discuss possible names. From 5 years old to 85 years old, kids of all ages seemed to enjoy getting involved.”

Though the naming contest is over, Jason hopes that people continue to come out and visit the chickens. “It’s a great way for people to learn about how much fun backyard chickens can be.”

Our chickens play a vital role in educational programming for both children and adults. Seeing plants, water management strategies, composting, bees and other pollinators, along with chickens, allows us to discuss the entire relationship of humans to nature.

Now that the weather has cooled down, it’s a perfect time to for a trip to the Gardens to see the chickens and put faces and names together. Check out the rest of the naming contest results below!

Nightshade the Jersey Giant

Oreo the Lakenvelder

Jupiter the Blue Easter Egger

Cinnamon the New Hampshire Red

Honey the Mille Fleur

Graham Cracker the Buff Brahma Bantam

Indigo the Blue Cochin

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