As of this weekend we have three groups of poultry here at school. We have collected 14 hens from a commercial scale free-range farm for the princely sum of £20! They are in good condition, nothing like the images of ex-battery hens that you see, so they should be good layers for another couple of years yet.
We also have a random assortment of birds from the eggs which we hatched this year, all different breeds. They aren't laying very well yet but they are useful for our practical assessments in poultry work in our KS4 classes.
Finally we are gathering a breeding group of the very rare Blue Andalusian chicken. They lay a good number of white eggs but the challenge with this breed is the genetics of the inheritance of their colour. We currently have a black cockerel, Pedro, with two "splash" (white with blue-grey speckles) hens, and we have been given a splash cockerel who will also need a Spanish name! He will be put with two black hens and we also have a selection of blue girls. Between these groupings we should be able to breed some good quality birds which the boys can show next season. We will only be hatching eggs from these birds next year and will aim to sell surplus stock to other keepers to help increase numbers of this rare breed, just as we do with our pigs and sheep.