Newick Church of England Primary School

'Life in all its fullness' John 10:10

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Newick Ducklings

"If children grow up not knowing about nature and appreciating it, they will not understand it, and if they don't understand it, they won't protect it, and if they don't protect it who will?” (Sir David Attenborough)

Incredible Eggs

 

On 19th April Otters took delivery of a duckling ‘hatching kit’ the children were super excited and have had an absolutely magical experience, learning how to care for the ducklings from the time they were in the egg.  Over the course of three days, we watched as the little duck eggs were incubated, using specialist equipment in Otters classroom.  The ducklings started arriving on Wednesday and by Friday we had four fluffy, yellow ducklings. The children got to school just in time on Thursday morning to see one of them hatch out of the eggs- it really was a once in a lifetime experience!

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Who are Incredible Eggs?

A group of 7 small, family-run farms runs a programme called Incredible Eggs. It provides education in the form of chick/duckling-hatching experiences for settings across the UK. As part of this, it helps with wildlife conservation too, breeding several rare and pure poultry breeds to safeguard biodiversity and avoid losing some of the breeds forever. Animal welfare is a top priority and the programme aims to give every bird “a good life, and a life worth living.”

The Hatching Experience in Otters class

On Tuesday 19th April the team from Incredible Eggs arrived, bringing with them all the equipment we would need, along with five precious duck eggs. They explained to us everything we needed to know for the days ahead. We were given printed hatching guides, information sheets, posters and instructions and staff were fully briefed as to what to expect and what they would need to do to ensure the welfare, safety and health of the new arrivals once they came.

The Hatching

As the eggs had already been partly incubated while at the farm- we worked out they had been incubated for 26 days so would only need a further 2 days in school. But by Tuesday evening (day 26) tiny ‘cheeping’ noises could be heard from the eggs as they began pecking away at the egg shells, from the inside. The first duckling appeared on Tuesday after the children had left – we watched as he pecked himself out into the world, then we left him in the incubator until the morning. The following morning another hatched- Mrs Sawyer caught this on film but again the children were not at school. Duckling 3 came on Wednesday night- whilst there wasn’t anyone around. On day 28- Thursday, the children were let into school early and were lucky enough to watch duckling 4 hatch- it was amazing to see their faces and hear their comments as he pushed himself out to meet us. Sadly duck 5 was not quite strong enough to break out and survive despite being given the best opportunities by the Reception team over the weekend ☹

 

A Memorable Experience for Children & Staff

Once hatched, the ducklings were all gently moved into a ‘brooding’ unit, a lovely warm area where they could dry out, gather their strength and rest for a couple of days. They settled in comfortably and were cared for, fed and watered by the children and staff. Once they were strong enough the children were allowed to gently handle the ducklings. The children were told to stay calm and quiet and to avoid sudden movements, so as not to scare the ducklings, all the children held a duckling- even those who were a little apprehensive to start with. As they grew we moved them into their coop in the day so they had more room to run about.

On Thursday we introduced them to water- in the form of a paddling pool. They made a lot of mess but we had lots of fun watching them. As their feathers are not waterproof for about 4-5 weeks we had to dry them off afterwards.

This week we introduced them to the school pond. Otters buddies came along to watch too.

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An Educational Experience

As well as getting to know the beautiful ducklings, the hatching experience was an educational one. It covered all areas of the EYFS curriculum but especially the key area of Understanding the World- finding out about nature and living creatures. The hatching experience also taught the children to respect and care for animals. They have had so much fun!

What next for our ducklings?

Incredible eggs picked up all their equipment on Friday 29th April but the ducklings will continue to stay in Otters until half term. They will then go and live in their forever home with Mrs Smith who has built them their own new pond.

We will upload pictures once they get to their new home.

To all our Otters (2022) families. We hope you and your children have enjoyed the experience as much as we have.

       

 

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