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Saturday, 8 February 2014

Looking After Chickens in School

In our school we have four chickens. Since the picture above was taken the chickens have, as well as a lovely cosy coop, a brand new chicken run. I think the plan is to eventually have more chickens and then perhaps some pigs.

Keeping chickens is a new venture in our school which has been received very favourably by the children and parents alike. We have 'chicken' monitors, a job I know I would have loved in primary school because lets face it it beats book or pencil monitor any day!

The monitors go out to clean, feed and replace the bedding for the chickens as well as to collect the eggs. During the winter the chickens lay an egg each a day and apparently this will increase as the weather improves.The eggs are then sold to parents or staff for a token price which is then put towards the cost of the feed.

I decided it would be good for my class to learn a bit more about the chickens by taking over the jobs of the KS2 monitors for the next two weeks. Fortunately my T.A. has some experience of looking after the chickens as during the school holidays she comes in to care for them when the caretaker is not around.What I didn't know however is that she is actually scared of them which has proved quite hilarious, especially when she goes into the run to change the bedding. Obviously she hides it from the children but it is funny to see her doing her best to avoid them and them following her around. Well we do have to get our fun from somewhere don't we and fortunately she has a similar sense of humour to me.

The most challenging part of looking after the chickens has been the organisation of my class.

Firstly we had to get all 34 of  them to bring in wellies or a change of shoes, this has proved a nightmare as despite two weeks notice and two text messages I still have two children without a change of footwear! Then obviously we have had to store 33 pairs of wellies in an already full classroom.

Secondly trying to get 34 around the chicken run was clearly not going to work so we have had to split the class up into two groups which then means my T.A., bless her, has to brave the chickens twice every day!

Finally imagine trying to get 17 children to find their wellies, take their shoes off, put their wellies on at the door (to avoid mud all over the carpet) and repeating the whole process when they come in again along with washing of hands. Sound chaotic? Well it is and then we have to do it all over again for the second group!!

Even when I am writing this I am thinking 'You must be mad!' but I'm hoping to gain something for all of our pain. A bit of writing at least and of course lots of fun and real life experience for the children. I really do believe that they are and will over the next two weeks get so much out of the whole experience.

Watch this space!!