MassGeneral Hospital for Children News

At one time a gravely ill baby, Orren Fox is now a healthy teenager and a chicken expert.

Healthy Fox Cares for Chickens

24/May/2010

Today it is difficult to imagine Orren as anything other than a healthy and energetic 13-year-old, who happens to be something of a chicken expert.

Elizabeth (Libby) DeLana says of her son, “When he was 9 he sort of woke up one day and was fascinated with chickens.”

Orren Fox

Orren Fox, who was treated in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at MassGeneral Hospital for Children, now raises his own chickens

Orren, or “O” as his parents call him, became interested in the animals after visiting some chickens at the house of a friend’s babysitter. He then chose to make chickens the subject of his fifth grade research project. What he learned about the maltreatment of chickens drove him to his cause of promoting locally raised, “happy chickens” and eggs.

“I’m trying to get people to buy eggs and meat from the factory farms much less,” says Orren says, adding that on local farms, “The chickens are treated much better than the factory farms.”  

DeLana says she and her husband, Henry Fox, have learned a lot from their son. “We call him the ‘chicken whisperer,’” she says.

Orren raises his own flock of chickens and some ducks near his family’s home in Newburyport, while keeping up his blog, “Happy Chickens Lay Healthy Eggs.”

As soon as he turned 13 last December, Orren was nominated to the Humane Society’s Teen Advisory Board, a responsibility that includes regular conference calls with the other 14 members.

At school, where he is in the seventh grade at Glen Urquhart School, Orren is starting a farm club. Outside of his schoolwork, he is working on his Flock Tender Certification from the American Poultry Association and with his mother attends The Essex County Beekeeping School to feed his latest interest.

A classmate who raises bees told Orren about them, and Orren says, “that just got me hooked.” He was impressed with “how smart they are; how civilized they are. They cool down the hives by bringing water into the hives on their wings, they take care of themselves,” he says, though he admits, “I bet it’s the honey that really got me intrigued.”

What’s next for Orren? “After bees, I’m teetering on the brink of sheep,” he says.

Read about Orren Fox's experience in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at MassGeneral Hospital for Children

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