Explorit: Close encounters of the clucking kind

By From page A4 | January 25, 2013

There are more of them on Earth than there are people. There are more of them than there are any other bird species. And on Saturday, you can meet a few at Explorit Science Center.

Katharine Westerhaus, a local chicken farmer from Westerhaus Ranch in Dixon, will visit Explorit to share several members of her flock for an up-close and personal chicken experience. She also will bring different chicken eggs to demonstrate the variety of colors that different types of chickens can produce.

Visitors will be able to meet a Plymouth Rock hen. Plymouth Rock chickens are indigenous American birds, originating in New England in the 19th century. They are prized for producing both lots of eggs and lots of meat, and their hardiness and temperament make them a great addition to a backyard flock.

Or say hello to a Cuckoo Maran hen. Cuckoo Marans originated in France and are known for their particularly dark brown eggs.

A Rhode Island red also will be on hand. These chickens are possibly the most famous breed in North America. As the state bird of Rhode Island, they have not one, but two, monuments to their honor, plus one of the founding birds of the breed is on display at the Smithsonian Institute.

A star hen and a pair of mini white Chinos will round out the group of avian visitors. Stars are the result of crossbreeding Rhode Island red males with other hens, resulting in red or black stars; they tend to be good egg layers.

Westerhaus and her feathered friends will be at Explorit from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday. Visiting the chickens is free with paid admission to the center’s current agriculture exhibition “Beyond the Table.” Visitors will be invited to make egg-carton pigs, another free activity with paid admission to the exhibition.

Explorit loves to connect science enthusiasts with the rest of the community. If you have a hobby or career related to agriculture, science or art that you would like to share, please call Explorit at 530-756-0191 to find out about opportunities to spread your passion.


Explorit’s coming events

Feb. 18: Explorit’s exhibit will be open for President’s Day from 1 to 5 p.m.

— Explorit Science Center is at 3141 Fifth St. For more information, call 530-756-0191 or visit www.explorit.org, or “like” Explorit on Facebook at www.facebook.com/explorit.fb.

Lisa Justice

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