By Sam Brydon
As part of our Enviroschools’ journey at Patricia Avenue Special School, we decided to introduce chickens at our Base school, where we have students aged 5-21 years old with a range of special needs. There was some concern about how all the students would react to them, so we decided to get 3 young chooks as a trial, and if it didn’t work out, they would be sent to live with a staff member who already had chickens at home.
Well, the chickens arrived 7 weeks ago now, and they have been a complete success! A voluntary chook team was set up, and several classrooms opted in to the chook care rota. Some students have had an extraordinary reaction to the chooks – they absolutely love them! Others have just completely ignored them. A favourite play time activity is now chook cuddles.
As time has gone on, some students have emerged with natural abilities for animal care and we now have a team of students from the senior school who are in charge of feeding and water. They are gradually becoming more independent at managing this which has contributed to an increased feeling of mana and self esteem for these students.
The trial period is over and everyone is very happy with our new additions to the school. After a week of voting, names were chosen – Whero, Aroha and Wahine. We have just ordered a fancy new chicken coop. The chooks are here to stay!