“Mum my school having chicks next week”.
“Me too. My class too”
I always like to hear about my sons day in school and my little girls afternoon in playgroup.
When my children talk about their day and are enthusiastic about something, I love to see it. It makes me feel confident that they are happy and enjoying it.
I had heard other schools doing a similar programme. The school are given chicken eggs, they watch the process of them hatching, feed them, clean them and talk about it all and take part in related activities, for a period of about 10-14 days.
My son Cody had to miss 2 days of school at the beginning of the week due to him having tummy trouble on the Sunday night. (D and V!) My daughter was ok and came home telling us that the eggs had arrived in her class.
On the Wedneaday I came to pick them up. Cerys comes out first and she took me in to see the baby chicks and ducklings! They were so cute! Cerys sat on my lap and we got to hold one of each.
Then we picked up her brother, and he asked his teacher if he could take us into his classroom to show us their baby chicks.
Cody’s classroom teacher, Miss Sweeny, said one of the children could take the chickens home on the weekend to look after them. We offered to put our name forward, and they would pick a name out at the end of the week. I’ve always wanted an animal to look after. We don’t have any pets here at the moment. This would be a great opportunity for Cody to feel involved with his school and have some responsibility.
I think it’s such a great idea to show the class the process of an egg hatching and a baby chick being born. To show them how to care for them and to also do a variety of activities related to chickens.
Well, Cody was very lucky to be chosen. He came bouncing out of school all excited. I was too!
I’m a little nervous too. I’m hoping they all survive the weekend. We will do our very best to look after them.
The chicks were in a plastic rectangled box, with circular holes in the top for ventilation to breathe. A light bulb that gives out heat is also attached inside to give the little chicks some warmth.
Although I came in the car to collect Cody and the chicks, we left my wheelchair at home so we could safely take them home in the boot with plenty of space. Another box with sawdust, food and a folder with information came along with them too.
On the car journey home we could hear them tweeting away. As soon as we got outside our house, Cody couldn’t wait to unload the boot and take them in. He was telling me they are called Cyw, melyn in colour and that there were wyth (8) of them. (From myself counting at home there are actually naw (9) ) “mum, we must plug in the heat lamp”. So I let him do that. Cody wanted to ring everyone to tell them what he had brought home for the weekend. He FaceTimed my parents and asked his nanny to call over to see them.
I said to Cody to get comfortable on the settee and I would let him gently hold one of the chicks. I showed him with my hands how so soft to be and how to position them. The smile on his face beamed. He choose to put a blanket on his lap. I think he got this from visiting the farm, when they give a towel or blanket to put on your lap for a rabbit or guinea pig to sit on. When I first took the chick out of the box, I wasn’t exactly sure how to hold them, but once I had it in my hand, it came naturally. I held it at first in Cody’s lap. I wasn’t sure if it would make a run for it and escape. As the chick settled still I removed my hand and suggested to Cody he cup the chick in his hand. His eyes lit up and was watching the chick with amazement.
His sister Cerys patiently sat next to him, and asked if she could have a turn. I moved the blanket onto her lap and I held the chick while she smoothed it with one finger. Cody wanted another hold but I said he could have a turn tomorrow because the chicks were so little and just getting use to our environment. I didn’t want to stress them out.
The instructions say to clean them out about every other day. When I saw some visible poo though I did get a bit of damp tissue and mopped it up, just to try prevent the spread of harmful bacteria as much as possible.
I’m writing this in the middle of the night while I’ve got up to check on them. So far they are like newborn babies. They sleep for a bit, wake up and explore, then huddle up together and go back to sleep.
On the Saturday we gave them a full clean out. We empited the box that stored the food, sawdust and folder in, and one by one I picked up the chicks and placed them inside. I was a bit timid to begin with, but by the time I got to the ninth chick I was getting more confident. The sawdust and newspaper was put in the bin, food dish and water bowl wiped clean, and so was the bottom and sides of the box. A layer of fresh newspaper and sprinkling of sawdust was put down and clean fresh water.
I encouraged Cody to draw a simple picture of a chick and I laminated it, so he could take it into school, and my parents printed a couple of pictures I requested and brought them over to us. My Welsh is very very basic, so I messaged our cousins and aunty who speak Welsh to help translate some sentences that I could write underneath the pictures.
They chicks confidence definately increased as the weekend went on. In the beginning when I put my hand in they would run away, but by the time to take them back to school on the Monday, they would run towards your hand when you put it in.
I gave them another full clean out early Monday morning before we took them back to the school.
Cody, Cerys and myself had another hold too. I could see a difference in the size of the chicks, they were larger, and wing feathers were forming and their eyelids changed too. They seemed to have gone slightly lighter in colour too and I’m sure in places the fluffy fur was thinning. They got louder in tweeting too!
Click here for another video of the chicks
We all certainly enjoyed the experience of looking after the chickens.