May 2010 - Cheeping chicks charm childrenA new generation of residents have arrived at the Royal Alexandra and Albert School. The school’s flock of Dorking hens has produced three lively chicks and pupils have been helping to care for them. The chicks, two girls and a boy are three days old, are fit and healthy and the females are destined to be the egg-layers of the future. The male is likely to be used for showing.
Chickens arrived at the school a year ago and have been providing a steady supply of eggs as part of the Countryside and Environment BTEC course. Younger pupils have also helped look after the chickens and there are many enthusiastic members of Chicken Club which takes place after school.
Dorking hens are a local breed with royal connections as their eggs were favoured by Queen Victoria. On a recent visit to the School, the Duchess of Gloucester was presented with eggs from the flock. The breed has distinctive plumage and is unusual in having an extra toe (most chickens have 4)
The chicks were hatched in an incubator but will join the rest of the flock in a few weeks time. Teacher, Mr Greenhalgh comments “The animals that are raised at this school are important element in the curriculum for the BTEC. Pupils learn how to look after them and also how to ensure that they are commercially viable. Our chickens have been very successful and the new chicks will be a welcome addition to the flock.”