Should we hatch in our classroom?
There has recently, quite rightly, been some high profile media coverage regarding the poor welfare of some chicks from a school hatching project using another provider.
We would like to stress yet again that this was nothing to do with the way we operate at Eggucation. We feel that it is unequivocal that animals should not be used to entertain or educate, unless their welfare is kept as the HIGHEST priority.
We pride ourselves in being a company that does just that. At all stages in the process.
- Our laying birds, that provide the eggs for schools are our top show winning rare breed birds, all on the Rare Breed Survival Trust endangered list. They live in spacious clean sheds, each with a grassed outdoor run, in groups of no more than 10 hens. No commercial intensive laying conditions.
- ALL our chicks are collected and come back to each individual branches’ smallholding. Their future is not the responsibility of the school or setting.They are ours. Part of our conservation/breeding programmes.
- We don’t ‘rehome’. We just bring our chicks home.
As for staff inexperienced in hatching, being left with complex procedures to ensure their chicks hatch healthy – that simply does not happen with EGGucation. It’s our job to be the EGGsperts!!
All of the equipment we set up in schools is fully automatic with regard to turning, temperature and humidity, serviced and calibrated regularly and is set up by our staff. We take the time to brief staff in the schools and leave a comprehensive instruction booklet. PLUS we stress that we are available 24/7 for any advice, no matter how big or small. Staff are NOT left wondering what to do, or expected in any way to have to guess what to do.
How can we be sure our adult birds and chicks are happy? We are all experienced poultry keepers and breeders and like any good stocks people we know our birds! Also, Debs our Director, has a MSc in Applied Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare, so is not only passionate about animal welfare, but ensures the whole company keeps up to date with the latest research and regulation. But you don’t have to take our word for it! Each of our branches are inspected under the new Animal Welfare (Licencing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) Regulations 2018. This involves all premises and procedures being inspected by the local authority animal health officers. We receive nothing but praise for the welfare of our stock!
So in short – schools hatching is a wonderful, engaging, enriching educational experience. Schools just need to ask the right questions when choosing a provider, and should expect welfare to be paramount, as well as professionalism and transparency at all stages of the process!