The 9-day old chickens in their new cage.
On 14 March 2011, ten living eggs joined our school and great excitement filled the air.
Two days later the first egg hatched. Over the next few days we were gradually joined by more chicks. We were able to follow the action on the live web cam streamed directly from our website.
Whilst watching the action from the ICT suite, the Year 6 children were so delighted when 'Charles Chickens' hatched that they broke into a spontaneous round of applause. When the time drew near for the chicks to return to their owner, the process of research into the possibility of keeping the chicks began.
Mrs Pawley and Mrs Duquette visited another school who keep chickens and with their support and advice the decision was made – we are going to keep some of the chicks and nurture them as chickens!
A competition has been launched; all of the children have been invited to decorate an egg with the chance of winning a prize … watch this space to see some of the winning entries.
Our new chickens have names.
Following on from the excitement of the General Election and how much our pupils liked exercising their right to a democratic vote, we voted again. This time we voted on what to call our chickens. During July 2017, pupils and parents nominated their chosen names and then each class held a democratic vote.
Our newest chickens are now called: Goldie, Princess Lay-A , Henrietta and Gordon.
Our latest chicken additions.
In April and May 2017 we were delighted to have a new set of eggs and an incubator in school.
After great excitement, the eggs all hatched. We have kept six chickens and they are currently touring classrooms in their crate so that all children can enjoy tracking their development.
It won't be long until they're outdoors with their cousins.
11 November 2014
Collecting eggs from our chickens.
It seems that word about our super chickens and their great laying talents has spread into the local area.
We were delighted to welcome pupils from Sundridge Primary School on 11th November 2014. They have been learning about healthy eating. In preparation for cooking omelettes, the children came to collect eggs at source.
The visiting pupils were very impressed with being able to collect their own eggs and enjoyed meeting 'our girls'. We look forward to hearing if our new friends had a cracking time making omelettes.
September marks the start of a new school year for everyone, including our chickens! Over the Summer break our newest recruits have started laying eggs. Every day a group of students help a staff member ensure that our chickens are clean and have enough food and water. Some pupils have even helped decorate the chicken area with beautiful chicken portraits. September is also the month when the whole school enjoys 'International Talk Like A Pirate Day'; not wanting 'our girls' to be left out- they too, had a pirate theme for the day!
Our little chicks are growing up quickly and even Nugget, our senior chicken, is beginning to tolerate them. Our chickens particularly enjoy lunchtime when they get let out of their egglu and can wander around their fenced area freely. They particularly like being fussed and petted and love a good cuddle.
Who is who? When looking at our chickens, visitors often ask 'who is who?', as one chicken does look very similar to another!
To help identify 'our girls' they have been given different coloured leg bands. Nando = purple, Lilly = red and Boc-baa = green.
We didn't want Nugget to miss out on the new accessory fashion trend and feel left out, so she is now modelling a new yellow leg ring... very this season.
Our latest baby chicks are growing up rapidly and are now in the outside egglu.
A cheeky neighbourhood fox thought all of its birthdays had come at once when two of our young chickens dozed off; leaning against the fence of their enclosure. Quick as a flash, the clever fox seized it's opportunity and unfortunately one of our chickens, Chips, is no longer with us. Hoping for a second chance at dinner, the fox attempted to snap a large chunk of Nando. Thankfully Nando woke up, dashed away, and our intrepid fox was left with only a mouthful of feathers! Nando was left slightly distressed , with a lot of blood and was taken immediately to our local vets. After an overnight stay, a course of antibiotics and some TLC, we are pleased to say that Nando is safely back, fit and well, with her sisters.
Ms T and Mrs J can now officially share that it takes at least two people to give a chicken antibiotics!
After a few weeks indoors visiting different classrooms, our four new chicks (who are rapidly becoming chickens) were ready to go outdoors.
The new chickens were named by the children through a competition and are called: Boc-baa, Lilly, Nando and Chips. They were introduced to our established chicken, Nugget, over a couple of days and are thoroughly enjoying being outdoors in the chicken run. Nugget was a little reticent at being surrounded by four excitable chicks but has shown them who is boss!
We wonder how long it will be before our new chicks start to lay eggs?
The chicks decided to go on an eggciting trip over the Easter holidays.
When they left school they were just starting to get a few feathers on their wings. During the Easter holidays however they have started to get really big and now have lots of feathers all over their bodies. They have made some new friends and have even started to get cheeky, jumping out of their house in order to explore the surrounding rooms.
We are amazed at how much they have grown in such a short space of time and wonder whether the children have grown quite as much!
Our Chicken Monitors at work.
"As Chicken monitors our role is to look after the chickens everyday giving them food, water and cleaning out their cage.
At the Abbey we started off with five eggs in an incubator and we looked after them until they were old enough to live in a cage outside.
Unfortunately one of our chickens passed away and our cockerel was sent to Manchester to start a new life on the farm. We now have three hens that lay eggs which we collect daily and sell to raise money to support with food and supplies.
We have extended their home so they can run around a lot more which they enjoy.
It is really rewarding looking after our chickens and something that we all enjoy."
by Chicken Monitors - Olivia W, Maya, Eden and Danielle, Year 6
A makeover for the chickens.
The chickens have been treated to a makeover of their area. The ground around their eglu was becoming very muddy and difficult to work on so a local landscaper has barked the whole area.
It is much better now.
Goodbye and good luck Rambo!
Rambo has been a true Abbey success story. When he tried to hatch out in the incubator last year, he had immense difficulty. He struggled to break free of his egg when hatching and had to be nursed through his first few days of life.
When the time came to keep the chickens and send the cockerels back to the farm, we just couldn't say goodbye to Rambo. Rambo remained popular with the chickens and over the Summer holidays grew immensely; becoming the fabulous proud cockerel we have come to love. Everyone took great delight in his loud 'cock-a-doodle-doo' throughout the day. However, Rambo's job was to protect his chickens; this sometimes meant he could be a bit grumpy and not want to share the chicken pen with children or staff.
Rambo has now moved to an allotment in Manchester to look after seventeen chickens. Whilst we will all miss him and his 'good morning crowing' we're sure that he will settle into his new home very well.
Rambo's new home in Manchester.
Some of Rambo's new housemates.
The chickens have been expanding rapidly and need more space, they have been treated to an extension to their eglu. Year 6 monitors supervised the construction of the new run and soon the chickens were free to enjoy their extra space.
Beginning construction on the new run.
The chickens at home in their new run.
During the summer holidays I attended Marmadukes summer club, and I helped to look after the chickens. While I was feeding and cleaning them I noticed there were two eggs lying there. It was the first eggs they have ever laid! It was so exciting! We took them home and enjoyed them. On the following Monday there were twelve eggs waiting in the hen houses.
Report by Shannon, Year 5
28 July 2011
Our first egg!
Eggciting news! The chickens have laid their first egg. They waited until the Summer break started!
Marmadukes staff and pupils were the first to notice that there was an egg awaiting them when they tended to the chickens.
The chickens have changed quite considerably since they were born. They are now wearing individual coloured tags so that they can easily identified. Nugget has a pink tag, Paddy has green, Tandori's is yellow and Rambo has a blue tag.
Unfortunately, one of the harder part of keeping pets is when you have to face the loss of one of them. Sadly, Yolko is no longer with us, as she has died from natural causes.
The first few days after our chicks were born.
Day 2: Our first eggs hatch.
Day 8: Year 1 learn about new life.
Day 10: all the chicks are asleep.
The chicks love being handled.
Rambo helping out in the office.
One of the chicks attempts to fly (they aren't flight birds they can clear garden fences and pens).
Clipping the flight feathers on one side of the bird prevents them from achieving a balanced take off.
Relive the wonderful moments of new life entering our world by re-viewing highlights of our 'Chick Watch' right here!
The moment of our very first chick hatching.
The fourth egg hatches.
Another chick joins our brood.