CASAdelDRAGON is a social space, a think tank, an art hot spot in the province Castellon and a lab to improve new concepts of sozial art at all.
This is a story about raising chicken, doing social art, listening an australian prime minister, realizing the new world order of a global food chain and setting up a new working unit of our community in Spain.
i am what i eat, i eat what i sow, I sow what I like, i like what i am.Juan Petry
It’s a story about lots of animals, lots of people, lots of screws, lots of recycling, lots of fun, and an unusual exhibition at the contemporary art gallery CASAdelDRAGON.
In the spring of 2022, a few friends of Familiafeliz got together to start a chicken farming project. That alone would not be the beginning of a new social sculpture, but a real verified interest of a target group is the motivation for the artist to start one.
Familiafeliz has been keeping chickens in the home unit in Germany for more than 25 years and has a lot of experience in rearing and caring for them.
A 28-year-old incubator has been waiting for its first use in the CASAdelDRAGON for many years.
First, hatching eggs from different sources were brought together. The new flock of chickens should show a high level of genetic variance in order to ensure diversity in the species and robustness and health of the brood later when rearing new generations.
Artificial brood is certainly the second choice when rearing chickens naturally, but it offers many advantages, especially when starting over. The absence of older animals prevents the transmission of many parasites, the animals are of the same age and grow up together, which reduces the stress of group integration. The controlled supply of the animals with high-quality organic feed right from the start guarantees health, well-being and vitality of the animals later.
The selection of the hatching eggs included the option of combining specific characteristics of selected breeds for later breeding. The choice fell on: Ayam Cemani, BiBlue, Sussez, Marans, Oliver Eggs, Araucana, Ameraucana, Rhode Island and local breeds with good adaptation to the local climate of the Maestrazgo.
Simultaneously with the beginning of incubation, several chick homes were built. The aim was to recycle as much material as possible from the large pool of 36 years of rebuilding the CASAdelDRAGON and 15 years of running the gallery on the ground floor of the house.
The simultaneous construction of several chick houses should allow a selection of the chicks according to size and breed right from the start. The design should take into account the natural needs of the chicks and at the same time offer the possibility of relaxed natural breeding with a mother hen (separated from the group).
The electrical installation served to connect a light source and a heating source.
Chicken eggs hatch for 21 days. Between the third and seventeenth day, the eggs are regularly turned, at least twice. In natural breeding, this is done by the mother hen.
The mother hen also pays attention to the signals from the eggs and sorts out rigorously what does not answer accordingly. After the seventeenth day, the eggs are no longer turned and the incubator is only opened briefly to check the humidity and temperature. Particular attention must be paid to a good supply of fresh air, because the chicks’ lungs start working long before hatching and breathe through the closed (porous) eggshell.
The goal is to hatch and raise healthy, strong chickens. The preparation of the chicks for the expected habitat and its challenges is an important moment. This also includes the contamination of the chick home with bacteria and germs that occur in this habitat. For this purpose we dug up topsoil from the garden and single grasses that are offered to the chicks from the beginning. Some larvae and beetles were also found in this natural soil, a very popular prey for the chicks.
An important aspect of a social sculpture is the interaction with the target group. The change to use the project for informal education was taken into account from the beginning.
The audience followed the hatching process attentively.
After 21 days, the chicks hatched. In artificial hatching, a hatch rate of over 60% is a success when the sources of the hatching eggs are not certain and thus the fertilization rate of the eggs is not clear. In the project we were happy about 32 healthy chicks, which corresponded to a rate of about 70%.
The chicks form a community by vocalizing even before hatching and agree on the moment of hatching. You can listen to them communicating and watch them break through the eggshell with the greatest expenditure of energy. Anyone who manages to do it on their own shows the absolute will to live and immediately sets out to explore the new environment.
The pack behavior is distinctive, provides protection and security, and creates trust for the habitat and its challenges.
This is the story of the chicks, and it is also a story of the people. On the day the first chick was born, Australia’s incumbent Prime Minister introduced legislation that could make food production in Australia difficult, if not impossible, for private individuals. This political initiative is just one of many to re-regulate global production, supply chains and conditions of food production. If, at the same time, the emergency slaughter or the house arrest of millions of animals are ordered because of the claim of a new wave of bird flu, the question arises as to who wants to push through which agenda to the benefit of whom. Nature usually responds to challenges with diversity, diversity in genotype and phenotype, diversity in habitat, food supply and climate.
Globalists strive for centralized solutions. They suspect the easier control. Kevin Kelly’s book “Out of Control” described many developments early on. The hubris of controlling nature remains a companion in the development of adolescent societies that have not yet made it out of their egg of presumption about the nature of their reality.
The egg doesn’t come out of the box (bought in a super market). It comes from a living being. And it needs people to raise it, nurture it, feed it, and be willing to share the fruits of their labor with others.
This article is dedicated to such people: Agnieska, Aura, Maria, Jens, Dilan and Francesca.
Most chickens are given names, which makes it easier to operate in day-to-day communication with each other.
The first chick that hatched also got a name: Dan.