News & Events

Princess Christian’s Farm Poultry Enterprise

Posted on 12th February 2015 in Animal Management

Students at our Princess Christian’s Farm campus in Hildenborough are working on an exciting new Poultry Enterprise project – a new purpose built area with wheelchair access to enable students of all ability to care for the poultry birds. The Poultry Enterprise project is self-funding and is student led every step of the way.  A grant from KCC was obtained and with help from private donations the project has been made possible.

Three colour-coded breeding pens house: Crested Cream Legbar, producing blue eggs; French copper black Maran, which have dark brown eggs and Exchequer Leghorn that lay white eggs.  These hen houses are easily accessible to all students and have been designed with the option of shutting the hens in or out, to enable less confident students to carry out duties such as egg collection and cleaning pens.

Some eggs are placed into incubators in the hatching Room; these are fertile eggs and will be temperature controlled and automatically turned in incubators, hatching takes place after approximately 21 days.  Our students are responsible for monitoring the hatching process, they will also monitor and record the growth and development of the hatched chicks.  As the chicks grow, they are moved into cages and then larger pens.  Pullets (young hens) can be sold to the public for egg production, males will be sold for meat.  Good quality Cockerels and hens are available for the public to purchase and will also be sold at various poultry auctions.

Further improvements are planned for the Turkey Unit, where ‘Bernard’ - an impressive pet male turkey - lives with his two lady friends. A new area for smaller bantam chickens is also being developed; this will provide a smaller breed of poultry that is easier to handle and more suitable for some of the units that are covered in some qualifications.

The project will provide the students with practical hands on experience of running a commercial business, enhancing employability skills developing their numeracy, literacy and IT training.

Princess Christian’s Farm also has a commercial Poultry Unit that consists of a free range unit for up to 800 free range chickens, plus 2 houses of barn chickens; this type of housing allows the birds to have a large scratch/dusting area and plenty of perches.  The birds also have a varied mix of enrichment opportunities given to them daily plus Classic FM played to them via a radio – each barn housing 400 chickens.  Eggs from these chickens are collected and taken to the Egg Room, where students process and grade them into colour coded trays.

Eggs are available from the on-site Farm Shop, open weekdays between 9am and 4pm.  Also available is beef, pork and lamb, as well as vegetables, in addition you will be able to buy jams and preserves, biscuits, cakes and juices. 

For further information or to express an interest in purchasing hatching eggs, Pullets or Cockerels, please contact Alan Dray 01732 838408

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