Youngsters at a brand new school in the South West just love keeping hens

Chickens have proved a big hit at a new school in a brand new town in the South West.

The birds have been introduced at St Martin’s C of E Primary School at Cranbrook, the new and expanding town on the outskirts of Exeter.

The chickens project in the school’s ‘sensory garden’ is managed by FISH, the

breakfast, after school and holiday club.

A club spokeswoman said: “We wished to provide the children with the experience of caring for animals. What better animal to care for than a chicken?

“We prepared for the arrival of our hens by focusing our scheme of play around caring for hens. The children used the internet and books to research all about hens and created a wonderful display full of facts and pictures.

“We work closely with the school. Together we decided that the nursery children would also benefit from the opportunities for learning from the hens. The four chickens are very popular with the children. Even now, after six months, when we announce that it is time to visit the chickens, all the children want to come to collect the eggs, feed and water them and even put on the gloves to spot clean the coop.

“The chickens all have their own characters. Stephanie is by far the most popular because she is extremely friendly, choosing to follow the children rather than her fellow feathered friends.

“The chickens are a perfect distraction for settling new children into FISH. If a child is reluctant in leaving their parent an offer of visiting the chickens soon encourages them!”

The pupils certainly seem enthusiastic. Mickayla, aged 6, said: “I like Stephanie because she is white, fluffy and friendly.”

Ellysia, aged 6, said: “I like stroking all the hens because they are all fluffy and I feed them with my hand – it tickles!”

Adele, aged 10, said: “When I’m walking to school, I can hear the hens calling. It’s funny!”

The pupils are also learning about the food chain and tasty eggs to bake with and to eat at breakfast and snack time.

“It’s great having our own hens. We don’t have to go to the shops for eggs any more,” said Annabelle, aged 8.

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