This week at Garden-to-Table, learn about chickens, hear Sarah from Healthy Habits Start Now read Chicks and Salsa, then make salsa!
Select Page
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

According to a theory endorsed by Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye the Science Guy, it was the egg! Birds developed from dinosaurs, which laid hard-shelled eggs. 

Chickens are the most common bird on earth. They are kept for their eggs and their meat all over the world, from huge farms to people’s backyards. Hens (female chickens) often live in groups and each hen looks after her own brood (family of chicks). Chickens have a “pecking order”. This means that some chickens will rule over others and have their first choice in nests.


When buying eggs make sure to look for eggs that are “pasture raised” or “free range” which means that the hens are free to roam around, and not confined in a cage. Or, better yet, raise your own chickens.

Mary Garboden, the Head of Outreach at YDL, has some backyard chickens that she would like to introduce to you. Meet Doc, Marty, Maxine, Susie, Sister Agnes, Paul, and Neville Longbottom. Where have you heard that name before?

Chickens prefer to bathe in dust, rather than in water; dust bathing both controls external parasites and conditions a chicken’s feathers. Check out Mary’s chickens bathing themselves. Have you seen other birds do this?


  • Chickens usually live in backyards or on farms, but you can find wild chickens in India and Asia.
  • Chicken “feed” contains grains and  vegetable/animal proteins, but chickens in the wild eat mice, insects, and grains.
  • Chickens drink over 2 cups of water every day.
  • Chickens can be white, black, brown, gold, silver, red, blue and green. You can predict about 75% of the time what color a hen’s eggs will be by the color of their earlobe.
  • There are around 20 billion chickens in the world! 
  • Alektorophobia is the fear of chickens.
  • Americans eat 8 billion chickens a year.

Chicks and Salsa by Aaron Reynolds is a fun story about a group of barnyard animals that get tired of their regular diet. Through the resourcefulness of one clever rooster, they are all able to partake in some delicious culinary delights. Listen to Sarah Stone, a nutrition educator from Healthy Habits Start Now, read it aloud!



  • 5 plum tomatoes         
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 onion the juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tablespoons oil salt and pepper to taste
  • Small handful cilantro

Place grill outside the henhouse and preheat. Cut tomatoes in half. Peel onion and cut in half. Toss tomatoes and onion in oil in a large bowl. When grill is hot, roast tomatoes and onion until charred. Remove tomatoes and onion, roughly chop, and return to a bowl with oil. Chop cilantro and garlic. Add to a small bowl with lime juice. Mix everything in the large bowl together and add salt and pepper to taste. Grab a chip! Crow and dip!


  • 2 green onions the juice of 2 limes
  • Small handful of cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons Rooster’s Roasted Salsa
  • 1 garlic clove ½ teaspoon salt or more to taste
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • a couple dashes hot sauce or red chile sauce

Chop green onions, cilantro, and garlic, and set aside in a bowl. Halve, peel, and pit avocados, then slice into small pieces and add to bowl. Add lime juice, salsa, salt, and hot sauce. Mash with a fork until mixed but not mushy! You can also use a food processor to mix the ingredients. Just ask a grown-up to help.


  • 1 bag of tortilla chips
  • 2 cups black beans
  • ¼ cup chopped green chilies (substitute fresh jalapenos if you like to go red in the face)
  • ¼ cup chopped green onions 2 cups nacho cheese sauce
  • 4 tablespoons Rooster’s Roasted Salsa 4 tablespoons Quackamole
  • 4 tablespoons sour cream

Spread tortilla chips on a nice platter or in a trough. Cover with black beans, chilies, and green onions. Pour nacho cheese sauce over all, then heat in the microwave. Dollop salsa, Quackamole, and sour cream over the top. Dig in, but don’t be a hog–these really stick to your spareribs!


MyPlate is a reminder to find your healthy eating style and build it throughout your lifetime. 

  • Make 1/2 your plate fruits and veggies. Checking what fruits are in season in your area can help save money.
  • Make 1/2 of your grains whole grains-even popcorn counts as a whole grain and is a good snack!
  • Use low-fat or fat-free milk and yogurt.
  • Eat a variety of proteins–nuts, fish, beans, chicken.
  • Add color to salads with baby carrots, shredded red cabbage, or green beans.

Play this fun game with your friends and family to see who can name the most fruits and vegetables in 1 minute. Then get active!

SUPPLIES a timer and 1 piece of paper and a pencil/pen per person


  • Pick a color (red, yellow, blue/purple, green or white).
  • Set a timer for 1 minute.
  • When someone says “GO”, write down as many fruits/veggies of that color that you can think of until the timer goes off.
  • Count how many different fruits/veggies you came up with. If two people wrote the same answer, only count it once.
  • Multiply the total number of fruits/veggies by 2. 
  • Now it’s time to MOVE! Do the move assigned to your color as many times as the total number of fruits/veggies you came up with times 2. For example, red fruits/veggies = squats, so if you named 15 red fruits and veggies, 15 x 2 = 30, do 30 squats! 


  • Red = squats
  • Yellow = jumping jacks
  • Blue/Purple = push ups
  • Green = arm circles
  • White =sit ups

*This activity was adapted from Michigan Fitness Foundation Fit Bits Upper Elementary, Grades 3-5. Copyright 2013, Michigan Fitness Foundation


Residents of the city of Ypsilanti may keep hens if they obtain a permit from the city prior to acquiring the hens and pay a permit fee set by city council. 

September is National Chicken Month