Community, Education

Raising chicken champions

Renwick School pupil Hugo Foote, 8, is excited for the imminent arrival of several chicks. Photo: Paula Hulburt.

Brother and sister Hugo and Greta Foote are getting ready for some new arrivals.

Renwick School pupils Hugo, 8, and Greta, 6, are getting ready for Pet Day as orders open to buy potential champions.

And the imminent arrival of eight new, fluffy additions to the household has the pair very excited.

“They’re very fluffy and very yellow and like to keep warm in front of the fire,” says Greta.

It will be Greta’s second time helping rear day-old Brown Shaver chicks in preparation to show them at the school’s annual Pet Day.

Outside on the family’s half-acre section, the clucking of past competitors can be heard.

Greta Foote, 6, holds one of her feathered friends which she helped raise from a chick last year. Photo: Paula Hulburt.
Greta Foote, 6, holds one of her feathered friends which she helped raise from a chick last year. Photo: Paula Hulburt.

The family keep all the chicks that make it to adulthood.

Every year schools across Marlborough get the chance to buy 4 chicks for $26.

The goal is to teach children care, compassion and the dedication needed to keep an animal alive.

For Hugo, this year will be his fourth time taking part.

“I’ll take them to Pet Day and hopefully get a place to go on and show them again.

“They love to eat chick crumble,” he says.

Due to hatch in early September, the chicks spend their first few days in a cage near the fire with an all-important heat lamp to keep them warm.

The children complete a daily diary and log the chicks’ weight regularly.

As the chicks grow, they get plenty of room to roam says mum Renee Foote.

“It’s great for the children to have the responsibility and realise that a lot of effort goes in to making sure they survive,” she says.

Dad, David Foote, who grew up on a farm, says he clips the hen’s wings before they get to enjoy their new home in the great outdoors.

“It’s a great learning curve for the kids,” he says.

After Pet Day at individual schools, children can enter their chicks at regional events before going on to show them at Marlborough’s A & P show.

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