St. Stephen – Keaton McCann wanted to know how to make his chickens lay larger eggs.
So he fed them peanuts, recorded the results, and as a result, will journey to Saskatchewan later this month, to participate in a national science fair.
McCann, 13, turned his business challenge into a science project, for the Fundy Regional Science Fair, held last month at the University of New Brunswick in Saint John, where he was named one of only three Grand Award Winners.
The Grade 8 St. Stephen Middle School student raises chickens with his younger brother, Kameron, and sells eggs to friends and neighbours, under the brand K & K Eggcellent Eggs.
The boys are the sons of Heidi and Derek McCann, and live on The Ledge Road, just outside St. Stephen, and have been raising chickens for about four years.
McCann said he took 12 eggs, and weighed them, to create a baseline for his experiment. Each of the eggs weighed 62.3 grams.
Over the next four weeks, the chickens were randomly fed 100 grams of peanuts each day, except for Mickey, a special Americana chicken, which lays eggs with a blue shell. McCann fed her 10 grams of peanuts a day.
By the second week, the average weight of 12 eggs was 63.3 grams, while Mickey’s eggs jumped from 67 grams to 70 grams.
During the course of the four weeks, the chickens’ eggs increased in size from a large to extra large (68.3 grams), and Mickey’s went from a extra large to a “jumbo-sized” (78 grams), according to standards of the Canadian Egg Marketing Board.
McCann’s scientific conclusion?
“Adding peanuts increases their protein intake,” he stated, noting in the summer the chickens have access to their own natural protein in the form of bugs and grass. McCann said feeding peanuts to the chickens did not pose a hazard for anyone with peanut allergies who might eat the eggs.
McCann is surprised how well received his project was. He said he made it to the second level of judging at SSMS and “didn’t think I’d make it very far” at the event at UNBSJ.
“The experience is going to be great for him” said McCann’s mom, of his pending trip to Saskatchewan. The trip is from May 14 to 21 and will involve lots of learning experiences for the St. Stephen teenager/businessman.
There’s only one drawback to the trip. McCann has to go it alone with two other students from Saint John and a chaperone.
Mickey the chicken has to stay home.