Maria Calvillo uses her chickens to teach children at her daycare lessons on self-sufficiency. Credit: JONATHAN BALLEW/BLOCK CLUB CHICAGO

ROGERS PARK — If you see chickens roaming about Rogers Park, leave them be. They belong to a local daycare center and always come home in time for dinner.

On Tuesday, some residents noticed chickens wandering the neighborhood, leaving some concerned they might have escaped.

The chickens are owned by Maria Calvillo, who owns the El Ruisenor Learning Center, 7463 N. Ridge Blvd. She said the chickens are thrilled that winter is finally coming to an end.

El Ruisenor Learning Center is the home of the chickens. Credit: JONATHAN BALLEW/BLOCK CLUB CHICAGO

“The chickens love to go outside and they need to be free and enjoy the sunny day,” she said.

Calvillo doesn’t try to keep the chickens cooped up. She is happy to let them roam the neighborhood — they usually don’t go far and are quite adept at finding their way home.

The daycare director said she bought the three chickens almost two years ago, and they have brought her and the children at the daycare constant joy ever since.

The chickens don’t have names. Instead, Calvillo calls them gallinas — the Spanish word for hen.

They each lay two to three eggs a day, but not during the winter months, Calvillo said. She said they need light or else they focus on keeping themselves warm rather than laying eggs.

A hen wanders the neighborhood. Credit: Jonathan Ballew/ Block Club Chicago

Calvillo, who has operated a daycare center in Rogers Park for more than a decade, uses the chickens to teach children important lessons about self-sufficiency. The children at the daycare help clean the coop and feed the chickens, activities they love.

“There is a lot that chickens can teach children,” she said. “They take care of themselves and each other.”

If neighbors see the chickens out and about, Calvillo encourages them to say hello and even feed them a snack.

“They love vegetables,” she said. “Our neighbors are excellent and very nice. It’s a good neighborhood.”

Check out more photos of the daycare’s chickens below:

Credit: Jonathan Ballew/ Block Club Chicago
Credit: Jonathan Ballew/ Block Club Chicago
Credit: Jonathan Ballew/ Block Club Chicago
Credit: Jonathan Ballew/ Block Club Chicago

Do stories like this matter to you? Subscribe to Block Club Chicago. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods. Twitter @JCB_Journo