Page 3 of the Rats archive.

Pet rats abandoned and left to die in park

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Sep 19, 2018 in Rat News
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The Scottish SPCA is appealing for information after 18 rats were cruelly dumped in Lanark on Monday (September 18).

Scotland’s animal welfare charity was alerted after a member of the public walking in a local park discovered the rats in a small hamster cage and handed them into Lanark police office.

Scottish SPCA Animal Rescue Officer Sarah Parker said: “The poor rats had been in the small cage for some time as it was covered in both faeces and urine.

“Thankfully they were found by someone who helped them as there was no food available and they could have easily been attacked by a predator.

“All 18 rats are now at our centre in Lanarkshire where they’ll be named and remain in our care until we can find them a loving forever home.”

Police Scotland have been contacted for details of the park, but at the time of going to press, the Gazette was still waiting on the information.

Anyone with knowledge of this incident is being urged to contact the Scottish SPCA animal helpline on: 03000 999 999.

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Cat abuser sentenced to 30 days in jail for killing kitten, injuring two cats; other animals also killed – The Register

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Sep 14, 2018 in Rat News
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JUNCTION CITY — Two months after her owner’s husband was arrested and charged with abusing her, a black cat named Raven is available for adoption.

Nathaniel Chantland, 22, was convicted last month of two counts of first-degree aggravated animal abuse and one count of first-degree animal abuse. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail with credit for time served and three years of supervised probation.

Junction City police on Thursday released a police report detailing crimes over several years that included injuring Raven, killing a kitten named Snowball and breaking the leg of a cat named Rosy. According to police, Chantland also admitted to strangling another cat and two pet rats years earlier and said he was “not sure” if he had killed any other animals.

On July 5, officers were called to an address on Dorsa Street by Chantland’s mother-in-law, who reported finding the injured cat Raven.

Chantland and his wife live in a garage attached to her family’s home, the report states. His wife ran into the house that day saying that Chantland was trying to kill her cat. Three family members went into the garage and found Raven with all four paws duct taped together. There was also duct tape around the cat’s nose and mouth, and her fur was wet, leading the family to believe Chantland had tried to drown her. Family members untaped the cat, which caused bleeding to her face, and called police.

Chantland’s wife told police she witnessed her husband abusing the cat and asked him to stop, but he wouldn’t.

When police arrived, they saw the cat and instructed the family to take her to a veterinarian immediately. During an interview, Chantland admitted to duct taping the cat and torturing it.

Police arrested Chantland, who admitted torturing and killing the two other cats, the report states.

Chantland was facing more than a year in prison but pleaded guilty to the charges through a plea deal offered by the Lane County district attorney’s office. His sentence forbids him from owning any domestic animals for 15 years and requires mental health treatment.

Anyone interested in adopting Raven can call the Junction City Police Department, 541-998-1245.

Follow Chelsea Deffenbacher on Twitter @ChelseaDeffenB. Email chelsea.deffenbacher@registerguard.com.

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Kansas high school program offers lessons in agriculture

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Sep 12, 2018 in Rat News
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The stirring story of how Alberta became the first place in the world to banish the rat

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Sep 9, 2018 in Rat News
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This week, a tweet went viral portraying a map of the worldwide range of the common rat.

As with all such maps, it shows a Planet Earth completely invaded by rats, save for polar regions and the territory within the pentagonal borders of Alberta.

“What … what happened in Alberta,” wrote British strength trainer Adam Fisher in the tweet, which has since been circulated nearly 5,000 times.

The rest of the world is frequently surprised to discover that in humanity’s centuries-long battle with the rat, there has been only one indisputable victor: The four million people of the Canadian province of Alberta.

“Norway rats are one of the most destructive creatures known to man,” reads the official Alberta government write-up on its world-renowned rat control program. “The people of Alberta are extremely fortunate not to have rats in the province.”

For nearly 70 years, Alberta has successfully kept rats from taking hold of an area larger than France — and it has done so by waging a vigilant and all-out war on the rodent.


“Rats are Coming!” a 1950s poster commissioned by the Government of Alberta.

Alberta Archives

“Because rat invasion is threatening Alberta, we need to be properly organized and know what to do, in order to fight the battle successfully,” reads a 1954 government booklet, Rat Control in Alberta, that was distributed with virtual ubiquity in the province’s public places.


Detail from the 1954 booklet Rat Control in Alberta.

Rat Control in Alberta

The booklet is eerily reminiscent of atomic civil defence guides published in the same era, and warned Albertans that if they failed to stop the rat, they faced an imminent future of destroyed crops, ruined pantries and even the bubonic plague.

“No person should spare any effort to kill every Norway rat he sees,” it adds.

Alberta was one of the last corners of North America to face the arrival of brown rats. The rodents had first set foot on the continent’s east coast around the time of the American Revolution, and had gradually been gnawing their way into the North American ever since.

Alberta government inspectors recorded the province’s first-ever sighting of rats in 1950 at a farm near the border town of Alsask, Saskatchewan.

Although the colony was quickly exterminated, a survey by the Department of Agriculture soon confirmed that it was merely the vanguard of more than 30 rat colonies discovered to have infiltrated the Alberta borderlands.

The rats had not yet penetrated any major settlements, and in a decision unprecedented in the history of rat-human relations, Alberta’s civil servants vowed that they never would.


Detail of an Alberta government map showing the Rat Control Zone in yellow.

Government of Alberta

The effort was organized very similar to a legitimate invasion. Teams of armed men were enlisted to man a newly designated “Rat Control Zone” along the Saskatchewan border. Behind the lines, meanwhile, civilians were trained in rat identification and extermination.

Public meetings taught citizens both urban and rural how to poison, trap and gas any suspected rats. Propaganda posters showed images vicious rats against the command to “kill.”

This war on the rats wasn’t optional: The province’s Agricultural Pests Act made it an offence for property owners not to immediately eradicate every rat they encountered. Enforcement of the law was largely unnecessary, however. A population of Albertans fresh off two foreign wars were eager to set their sights on invading rodentia.


You Can’t Ignore the Rat!” 1950, a poster commissioned by the Government of Alberta.

Alberta Archives

The zeal of the effort was hinted at by the name of the go-to poison, provided free by the government: Warfarin.

While Alberta’s war on the rat lacks any cinematic adaptation, it has garnered a brief mention on Your Friend the Rat, a Pixar short that accompanied home video releases of Ratatouille. In it, animated Mounties are shown bravely fending off a rapacious tide of rats (some members of the rat patrol are indeed former Mounties).

“In 1950 rats invaded in the southeast border of Alberta, but were repelled by an impressive government rat control program,” says narrator Patton Oswalt.

So far, Alberta’s conquest of the rat is a feat that has been replicated only on the very smallest of scales.

The Atlantic island of South Georgia was declared free of rats earlier this year, but it took $17 million and more than 300 tonnes of airlifted poison bait over a period of 10 years.

Even then, South Georgia is one of the most remote places on earth, ensuring that it can easily quarantine itself against any rat comeback.


In this 2000 photo, Alberta Rat Control officers Orest Popil (left), Bruce Alexander (right) and Bill Kloeckes (middle) check out a farm field for rats near Kitscoty, Alberta. A stuffed rat sits on the hood of their truck.

Larry Wong/Edmonton Journal

But Alberta must constantly fend off new rat invasions from all sides. When Alberta calls itself rat-free, it’s referring to the fact that there are no breeding rats within the province. At any one time, a rat is standing on Alberta soil somewhere, but rat control exists to ensure that it will die quickly, and die childless.

Rat patrols continue to cruise the Saskatchewan border in a program. There is a hotline to report rat sightings: 310-RATS. Pet rats are strictly forbidden, with fines ranging in the thousands of dollars.Whenever rats appear in Alberta, it garners blanket news coverage for days on end.


Bylaw officer Todd Kabeya holds a dead rat found in the Auburn bay area of Calgary, Alberta, on August 17, 2012. A search was made of the area but there were no other rats found.

Mike Drew/Calgary Sun

Saskatchewan continues to be the main channel for invading rats, with the Rocky Mountains largely defending Alberta’s western edge. Nevertheless, the creatures are known to hitchhike on trucks, trains and even aircraft.

Two drowned rats found in Taber in 2011 prompted a statement from local authorities assuring the public that they had not been born locally. “It is likely the rats came off a train … and were quickly drowned when they hit the water,” said Taber bylaw officer Brandon Bullock.

In 2012, it was front page news in the Calgary Herald when a maintenance man found a suspected dead rat in one of the city’s apartment buildings. An investigation soon found that it was merely a squirrel.


Patty Robinson from Calgary Animal Services posing with a rat-like creature that turned out to be a squirrel.

Stuart Dryden/Calgary Sun

In one of the most major breaches of the Rat Control Zone in recent years, in 2012 a massive rat den was found dug into the Medicine Hat landfill. In an operation that took two months, rat controllers killed more than 150 individuals before declaring the area rat free.

“The problem is not solved,” warns the Alberta government website. “Rats have the capability to spread throughout Alberta just as easily today as they could in the past.”

Twitter: | Email: thopper@nationalpost.com

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Greens want a mandatory rental WOF, but National says it will force people into sleeping in cars

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Sep 8, 2018 in Rat News
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Greens want a mandatory rental WOF, but National says it will force people into sleeping in cars

New figures from MSD show a quarter of eligible families are waiting over 150 days for public housing.

The Green Party wants Kiwi homes to pass a mandatory rental warrant of fitness before they can be let, however the National Party says the policy would see more people sleeping in cars and motels. 

National’s housing spokesperson Judith Collins said the policy would make it too hard for landlords and only reduce the supply of housing. 

“Most landlords are mums and dads who are doing their best for their tenants. If it becomes too expensive to lease accommodation, then they’re likely to sell up, reducing the supply of rental housing,” said Collins.

Marama Davidson said the current enforcement of housing standards to protect our older citizens as well as our younger ...

Marama Davidson said the current enforcement of housing standards to protect our older citizens as well as our younger ones is just not fit for purpose.

Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson told Newshub Nation if a landlord doesn’t pass a warrant of fitness, that home will not be able to be rented out.

READ MORE:
Over 8500 eligible households waiting for public housing
Quarter of people waiting 150 days for public housing. One waited 3103 days
Judith Collins hounds Phil Twyford over ‘anti-social’ state housing tenants
Rental WOF struggles to gain traction in Wellington
Wellington rental warrant of fitness called ‘grandstanding’
Bridge dwellers: a homemade toilet and semi-pet rats
Budget 2018: Government promises 6400 new state and social houses

But Collins said the policy would not address the record number of people seeking state housing.

Judith Collins said the Greens need to start thinking about the impacts of vague feel-good policies and stop loading the ...

Judith Collins said the Greens need to start thinking about the impacts of vague feel-good policies and stop loading the costs onto New Zealand families.

“Instead of the Greens proposing solutions to address this, Ms Davidson announces a policy that will see more people living in cars and motels.”

In August 2017, the Wellington City Council unanimously accepted to trial a voluntary warrant of fitness scheme, making it the first council in New Zealand to do so

The voluntary scheme – which was developed by Otago University and the NZ Green Building Council – failed to gain much traction during its first months. 

Could rent increases be about to slow down? The Government has announced a review of rental rules.

Could rent increases be about to slow down? The Government has announced a review of rental rules.

Some landlords said councillors rushed into the decision and questioned the test’s reliability, while others called it grandstanding.

Housing New Zealand’s waiting list for eligible state housing tenants reached new highs in May, with 8519 eligible households waiting for housing. That was up from 8108 the month before, and over double the 3877 households waiting two years ago.

The waitlist, which only included families and individuals who had applied for public housing and had been deemed eligible to receive it, was one of the more telling measurements of the evolving housing crisis.

Philippa Howden-Chapman, Professor of Public Health at the University of Otago, Wellington and Wellington Mayor Justin ...

Philippa Howden-Chapman, Professor of Public Health at the University of Otago, Wellington and Wellington Mayor Justin Lester show off the new rental WOF app.

But Davidson wants those on the list to move into a warm, dry, healthy home with a comprehensive rental warrant of fitness scheme.

“I am proud to say that this Government is now taking major steps to ensure that people who live in rented accommodation are guaranteed the right to a warm and healthy home, submissions are now open on the Healthy Homes Guarantee which will see a major lift in the legal standards for housing,” said Davidson.

“The enforcement of housing standards to protect our older citizens as well as our younger ones is just not fit for purpose. Tenants currently have to take their landlord all the way to the Tenancy Tribunal to make sure the laws are abided by. That’s a pretty high barrier to enforcing laws designed to make sure people aren’t living in homes that make them sick, that can cause very serious respiratory disease.

“A warrant of fitness for rented homes would ensure that New Zealanders living in those homes have confidence that the house is dry, warm and healthy to live in, no matter what. And that if a home cannot pass the standard it cannot be rented out. We have a warrant of fitness for cars, we need them for homes.

It would be a regular check on rented homes by independent approved inspectors to make sure they meet the healthy home regulations for warmth, dryness and ventilation so our tamariki, our old people, and all our citizens living in rented accommodation don’t get sick, she said.

However, Collins said it was important to strike a good balance between landlords and tenants. 

“This announcement has been made in a vacuum away from reality,” she said.

“National made significant changes to our tenancy laws that are ensuring warmer, drier and safer homes for the one million New Zealanders who live in rental properties. Our policies are making sure that 500,000 homes are retro-fitted with insulation – compared to fewer than 50,000 under the previous Labour Government.”


 – Stuff

Next Politics story:

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Want to Make Your Kid Happy? Buy Them a Rat

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Sep 7, 2018 in Rat News
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“Butterflies?” you’re thinking. “But they’re so … fluttery!” And you’re right. They are very fluttery. But their eating habits are revolting.

1. MUD

Let’s start at the beginning. In kindergarten, you were taught that butterflies are nectar feeders, sipping their sugary meals from flowers. This is still mostly true. But nectar is only one food group, and those other nutrients have to come from somewhere.

After a rainstorm, it’s not uncommon in certain areas to see a whole mess of butterflies sitting on the ground, sucking up mud. This practice is known as “mud-puddling” or simply “puddling,” and scientists believe certain butterfly species do it to round out their salt, nitrogen, protein, and amino acid intake.

Naturally, mud is just the beginning.

2. AND 3. SWEAT AND TEARS

If you’ve ever visited a butterfly house, you’ve likely seen some delighted small child with a butterfly on her arm. “He likes me!” she says. Delighted Small Child is mistaken. It’s not her friendship he’s after, but her precious, precious sweat. Or maybe he’s interested in her tears: In 2014, one butterfly was observed drinking the tears of a sunning spectacled caiman, and photo evidence shows they drink the tears of tortoises, too.

Delighted Small Child might have been wrong about the butterfly liking her, but she probably was not mistaken about the butterfly’s sex, however: Most puddlers are males. Scientists believe that for most butterflies, the sodium goes straight to the sperm, which is then given as a “nuptial gift” to the female, giving the future offspring a better chance of surviving.

4. URINE

Butterflies love urine—“a fact taken advantage of by collectors,” writes the author of the Handbook for Butterfly Watchers. Some species of butterfly will even consume their own bodily fluids: They’ll secrete a liquid onto dried up sweat or a dried puddle of a larger animal’s urine so they can lap up the freshly dissolved minerals.

5. AND 6. BLOOD AND POOP

Back to the butterfly house. If Delighted Small Child injures herself, her helpful butterfly buddy will be there to help clean up the blood. By drinking it.

From a butterfly’s perspective, larger animals like humans are probably just big restaurants. And what leftovers! Animal poop is full of all kinds of helpful nutrients, which butterflies will feast upon when given the chance.

7. DECAYING FLESH

You know what else is full of nutrients? Dead bodies!

Rotting animal flesh is a huge butterfly favorite [PDF]—so much so that researchers have begun baiting tropical butterfly traps with shrimp heads, chunks of dead snake, and prawn paste. Texture is key; since butterflies have no teeth, they can essentially only “lick” the rotting meat. “Traps were baited and checked for cycles of five days, with extra bait added each day to ensure a range of decay,” wrote one scientist in her report [PDF]. Butterfly researchers really don’t get enough credit.

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Children Are Happier With Pet Rats Than With Cats And Dogs …

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Sep 6, 2018 in Rat News
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Just when you thought every kid wanted their own puppy or kitten, the truth has come out: Children actually prefer rats, according to a pet ownership survey by RightPet.

That’s right! According to the survey, the most satisfying pet to own at age 15 is a rat, followed by cats, dogs, horses and snakes.

From 2010 to 2018, RightPet analyzed more than 64,000 animal reviews collected for 32 types of pets and livestock. The pet owners who completed reviews either found the survey on their own, or were recruited and paid about $3 per review.

RightPet

The rat finding is based on 5,150 reviews from people who own or owned a pet when they were 17 years old or younger. The data includes information from 222 rat owners.

RightPet found that kids who owned pets between the ages of 10 and 17, had overall more satisfaction from rats than they did from cats, dogs and other common pets. The fondness for rats decreased as people got older.

Why Do Rats Make Good Pets?

Dr. Jennifer Graham with Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine said small pets are great options for young children because they can teach responsibility. Hamsters, guinea pigs and gerbils tend to be more traditional options, but Graham said rats can make ideal pets because they are so easy to care for.

“Rats can be calm, laid-back, not as nippy as other small mammals, and they can be handled a lot,” Graham told the magazine Parents.

As RightPet founder and editor Brett Hodges also pointed out, rats are small, cheap and you can play some great pranks on parents and siblings!

Of course, not everyone can get on board with a rat inside the home. Some other smaller-sized pets to consider for children are hedgehogs, rabbits and chinchillas.

Adobe

The results of the survey also found that women tend to like cats more than dogs, while dogs have only a slight lead over cats for men. Overall, people prefer larger dogs and dog lovers are more curious and open to new experiences than cat lovers.

Would you ever buy a rat for your child?

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Children Are Happier With Pet Rats Than With Cats And Dogs – Twin Falls Times

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Sep 5, 2018 in Rat News
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Just when you thought every kid wanted their own puppy or kitten, the truth has come out: Children actually prefer rats, according to a pet ownership survey by RightPet.

That’s right! According to the survey, the most satisfying pet to own at age 15 is a rat, followed by cats, dogs, horses and snakes.

From 2010 to 2018, RightPet analyzed more than 64,000 animal reviews collected for 32 types of pets and livestock. The pet owners who completed reviews either found the survey on their own, or were recruited and paid about $3 per review.

RightPet

The rat finding is based on 5,150 reviews from people who own or owned a pet when they were 17 years old or younger. The data includes information from 222 rat owners.

RightPet found that kids who owned pets between the ages of 10 and 17, had overall more satisfaction from rats than they did from cats, dogs and other common pets. The fondness for rats decreased as people got older.

Why Do Rats Make Good Pets?

Dr. Jennifer Graham with Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine said small pets are great options for young children because they can teach responsibility. Hamsters, guinea pigs and gerbils tend to be more traditional options, but Graham said rats can make ideal pets because they are so easy to care for.

“Rats can be calm, laid-back, not as nippy as other small mammals, and they can be handled a lot,” Graham told the magazine Parents.

As RightPet founder and editor Brett Hodges also pointed out, rats are small, cheap and you can play some great pranks on parents and siblings!

Of course, not everyone can get on board with a rat inside the home. Some other smaller-sized pets to consider for children are hedgehogs, rabbits and chinchillas.

Adobe

The results of the survey also found that women tend to like cats more than dogs, while dogs have only a slight lead over cats for men. Overall, people prefer larger dogs and dog lovers are more curious and open to new experiences than cat lovers.

Would you ever buy a rat for your child?

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Children Are Happier With Pet Rats Than With Cats And Dogs … – Twin Falls Times

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Sep 4, 2018 in Rat News
Closed

Just when you thought every kid wanted their own puppy or kitten, the truth has come out: Children actually prefer rats, according to a pet ownership survey by RightPet.

That’s right! According to the survey, the most satisfying pet to own at age 15 is a rat, followed by cats, dogs, horses and snakes.

From 2010 to 2018, RightPet analyzed more than 64,000 animal reviews collected for 32 types of pets and livestock. The pet owners who completed reviews either found the survey on their own, or were recruited and paid about $3 per review.

RightPet

The rat finding is based on 5,150 reviews from people who own or owned a pet when they were 17 years old or younger. The data includes information from 222 rat owners.

RightPet found that kids who owned pets between the ages of 10 and 17, had overall more satisfaction from rats than they did from cats, dogs and other common pets. The fondness for rats decreased as people got older.

Why Do Rats Make Good Pets?

Dr. Jennifer Graham with Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine said small pets are great options for young children because they can teach responsibility. Hamsters, guinea pigs and gerbils tend to be more traditional options, but Graham said rats can make ideal pets because they are so easy to care for.

“Rats can be calm, laid-back, not as nippy as other small mammals, and they can be handled a lot,” Graham told the magazine Parents.

As RightPet founder and editor Brett Hodges also pointed out, rats are small, cheap and you can play some great pranks on parents and siblings!

Of course, not everyone can get on board with a rat inside the home. Some other smaller-sized pets to consider for children are hedgehogs, rabbits and chinchillas.

Adobe

The results of the survey also found that women tend to like cats more than dogs, while dogs have only a slight lead over cats for men. Overall, people prefer larger dogs and dog lovers are more curious and open to new experiences than cat lovers.

Would you ever buy a rat for your child?

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Fresh eggs and ferret baths: High school program offers lessons in agriculture

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Sep 3, 2018 in Rat News
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It’s bath day for the pet rats and ferrets at Southeast High School in Wichita.

Kenneth Borja gently lifts one of the rats — Zeus, Poseidon or Hades, it’s hard to tell which — out of his cage. He carries the animal to the sink, lathers him with shampoo and holds the squirming rodent under warm water for a rinse.

“I really didn’t choose this class. I was randomly put into it,” said Borja, a senior. “But I found it to be interesting, so I stayed. . . Now I’ve kind of grown close to the animals and I like taking care of them.”

On the lawn just outside the classroom, sophomore Kayleen Jack and senior Ashley Gillespie are tending the chicken coop, filling water tanks and replacing bedding while about 25 hens scamper around.

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Other students harvest peppers, tomatoes and okra from the school’s community garden. Another is building solar panels that will power pumps for the garden’s new koi pond.

“There’s a lot going on every day,” says Joanna Farmer, director of the school’s agriculture program. “I give them their chores, and they get it done.”

When the new Southeast High School opened two years ago on a wide expanse of prairie at 127th Street East and Pawnee, the district launched its first career pathway in agriculture, offering courses in horticulture, animal health and agriscience.

Since then Farmer and her students have expanded the program, building a chicken coop and raising about two dozen chicks last spring. These days, the hens lay about a dozen eggs a day, which Farmer gives away to Southeast students.

“A lot of them have not seen fresh eggs before,” she said. “It shocks them when they open the carton and see green eggs and brown eggs and all the different colors. . . . They all tell me they taste good.”

To help finance the program, students have applied for and received grants from the Wichita Community Foundation, Whole Foods, Tractor Supply Co., Credit Union of America and Future Farmers of America, among others.

“If I see a grant (possibility), I say, ‘Get to work,’ and they do it,” Farmer said.

“Get to work” is a common phrase in this classroom, where a cockatiel named Uma flies free and a Flemish Giant rabbit named Ricky Bobby sleeps in the corner.

Most students enroll because they want to be veterinarians, farmers, ranchers or zookeepers. Some just love animals. All are learning that taking care of living things takes time, patience, sweat and commitment.

Over summer break, Farmer and a group of about eight students went to Southeast every morning to take care of the animals and work in the garden.

“I didn’t mind waking up early and coming out here, because you know it needs to be done and Ms. Farmer needed the help,” said Bailee Thompson, a junior who wants to study veterinary medicine.

“It wasn’t boring. The whole time you had people here, and you could talk and visit with your friends. . . . And I just love the ducks so much.”

The ducks, which live in harmony with the chickens, were a gift from a Southeast High teacher. Most of the animals in Farmer’s classroom were donated or adopted, she said.

“This seems to be the retirement community for pets that people don’t want anymore,” Farmer said.

Along with the practical side of farm life, the students study animal anatomy and physiology. At the start of every year, Farmer assigns each student to build an animal skeleton using hot glue and a variety of dried pasta. One student’s bird skeleton-in-progress features a spaghetti metatarsus and a rigatoni humerus.

“We go through the anatomy of about 15 different animals,” Farmer said. “It takes a lot of time and effort to get it right, but once they’ve learned the major bones, it translates across to all the animals.”

Farmer has taken students on field trips to the Kansas State Fair and Kansas State University to compete in FFA competitions and to see agriculture careers in action.

“First of all, it teaches them where their food comes from, because a lot of them truly don’t know,” she said. “I had a student actually see an egg being laid, and she was in total shock. She couldn’t believe it.”

The hands-on activities — watering plants, feeding chickens, gathering eggs or administering medicine to pets — also teach life lessons, she said.

“A large percentage (of students) want to go into some animal-related career, and for some, it’s just curiosity,” Farmer said. “Here they’re learning about responsibility and what it takes to really do those things.”

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