Question: How do you get children to come back to school after lockdown? Answer: You get eggs delivered in the post and incubate them!
Back in March 2021 we began our very own chicken-related adventure when we took delivery of an incubator along with twelve eggs. We were all beyond excited, especially the teachers! Over the next three weeks we watched in trepidation as we awaited the arrival of our feathered-friends. We even set up a round-the-clock live video feed (aka Chick-cam) so that we could watch the eggs crack in the comfort of our own homes.
As the first egg started to rock and roll ( see pic above) we were beyond excited. Bob, our first chick, hatched out overnight when we were at home, so we were eager to get to school to see Bob the following morning. He was small, cute as a teddy and black with a white fluffy bottom. Ahhh! We couldn’t wait for the next to be born, over the next few days four more chicks hatched out. They looked like wet stumbling monsters – we didn’t get much work done while watching our chicks break out (but don’t tell anyone!). The children chose names for our famous five chickadees which were:
1) Bob - he has black feathers, is a bit of a bully, eats a lot and is frizzly.
2) Sir Cluckington is also black and has a feathery top.
3) Silver was named Silver because... well.... she's silver-feathered! The children enjoyed cuddles with her every day.
4) Midnight is black feathered and feisty.
5) Chicky was the last to be born and is a frizzly black chick and is also very noisy. He takes after a couple of children in the school!
The children said that the chickies had the amazing ability to 'make you happy when you are feeling sad'. We had no idea how great rearing chickens would be for everybody's mental well being during a very difficult time - it was a truly cathartic experience. Inevitably the chicks grew startlingly quickly, constantly eating as if they were starving. They became extremely friendly, especially Sir Cluckington, who wandered around the building jumping on knees and tables looking for food and attention.
We built a temporary chicken coop on the school field so that the chicks could enjoy the fresh air whilst entertaining the children at break times. When they were 7 weeks-old, three of the chicks went to live with a teacher, leaving Sir Cluckington and Silver at school with us. We were sad to see the rest of the gang go but they were getting far too big for our coop and there was lots of space at their new home.
Our chick escapades even got us in the local newspaper, see below!
Over the summer holidays a very lovely local chap kindly built us a fantastic new coop with a living roof donated by our Head Teacher. We love it, we really do. With a chicken palace like this it'd be daft not to incubate more eggs in Spring 2022, we just can't wait!