Hens for Hire’ at Longwill School for Deaf Children- or ‘a little bit of country’ Longwill is a small Special school for Deaf children in Birmingham – landlocked and urban with many of our children living in the inner city with a high level of deprivation. For many years I have wanted to enhance our outdoor environment and particularly to give the children a real animal experience. Next problem… How nice does one have to be to a caretaker to persuade him to look after them in the holidays? Then I saw an advertisement for Hens for Hire! We’re off! The wonderful, children’s picture-book famer, Claire Peach, arrived at school with all the kit and two beautiful, ready- to- lay the next day (and they did!) fully vaccinated, beautiful chickens. They are called Henny and Penny ,they are lively, clucky, busy, not too smelly, fascinating to watch and to find out about…and the children love them and even better, do not tire of caring for them and getting the big reward of two eggs every day. We have a ‘year- group a week’ as hen monitors, we make graphs of their egg count, make mini-enterprises egg-selling weeks, write stories about their imagined adventures when they go away for their holidays, we make films about their care, we have the most engaging assemblies and ‘The Golden Egg Award’ for most creative egg use, and our sign language using pupils are able to fulfil all their language and Speaking and Listening requirements. But the best thing is….a bit like the grandchildren…Hens for Hire go home again to their other life in the holidays leaving me the guilt-free and happy!
We decided it would be fun and also a great tool to house chickens within our school grounds. We contacted Hens for Hire and discussed our ideas with them and within a few weeks our hens had arrived, staff trained and we had our first eggs! We have now had our two chickens for nearly a year, and I have to say how fantastic an experience this is for our children. The chickens are extremely easy to keep and enhance the children`s learning of life cycles, where our food comes from, and most importantly being responsible for looking after a living thing! They are also fabulous to use as a reward tool for children struggling with their behaviour. They love feeding the hens and collecting the eggs too! Some even enjoy cleaning them out, once or twice a week. I feel that having our hens has made a fantastic difference to our school and I would highly recommend keeping them to anyone.
We are delighted with the service we receive from Hens for Hire. Claire is friendly, efficient and knowledgeable - the children talk fondly of 'The Chicken Lady.' The hens have contributed to working relationships, peer activities and our school ethos. It is a wonderful to see all the children passionate in the same interest. The hens have fitted effortlessly to our school routine and the school council thoroughly enjoy organising their care and teaching others how to care for them. We are excited for the future activities and learning opportunities.'