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Chickens (Chapter 1)

We are delighted and honoured to have won Welsh Assembly Government backed ‘Best Primary Enterprise Award 2014’

(Welsh Assembly Government Press Release)

Last February we had 7 hens. Fast forward 12 months and we now have 99 hens and produce 400+ eggs each week that we sell to the parents and local community. We believe we are the only school in Wales that can sell eggs to shops as each egg is stamped with a unique code issued by the Egg Marketing Inspector and each box is stamped with a unique packing number.

A real selling feature of our 7-egg boxes is that they are made of recycled plastic and are transparent. You really get to appreciate the dark brown eggs,laid by the Copper-blue marans, the pale green eggs laid by the Cream legg barrs, the powder-blue eggs laid by the Lavender Arucanas, the pure white eggs laid by the Anconas as well as the shades of brown laid by the other hens! Whatever the colour, you are guaranteed to get delicious eggs, bought on the day that they were laid by our happy free range hens!

Ysgol San Siôr’s business ‘Wyau San Siôr’ has gone from strength to strength and is proving to be very successful. Every child from the Nursery through to Year 6 have had a part in the project. Every class has hatched chicks. Every week a different class has we have what is known as ‘Wythnos Ieir’ (Chicken Week) where the teachers adapt their planning to drive standards in literacy and numeracy .

2014 promises to be an exciting year for us as we launch Wyau San Siôr at Bodnant Welsh Food Centre Farm Shop this Easter. We have now added quails to the school farm and should soon be selling quail eggs as well as they have started laying a few weeks ago. The school’s Chicken or the Egg cookbook will be available soon. We hope you enjoy using San Siôr eggs with some of the delicious recipes found within our book. There’s something for everyone.

As you enter our school you are greeted by a quotation by Dr Seuss that says

Oh the Places you’ll go!

 

Today is your day

You’re off to great Places

You’re off and away.

‘You have brains in your head.

You have feet in your shoes.

You can steer yourself

In any Direction you choose’

‘And you will succeed?

Yes! You will indeed!’

(98 and ¾% guaranteed)

Summary: We think we have succeeded. On this page we will try and show you how we achieved success. What do you think?

This page is different to all our other pages as the more recent information is at the bottom of the page not at the top. This page tells a story of how we came to be a school that produces over 300 eggs each week….

We have started a business called ‘Wyau San Siôr. A business selling eggs. We now have a flock of 100 chickens and produce 200 eggs each week. By Spring 2014 we should be producing between 300-400 eggs each week. The eggs are sold to parents but we have also registered the school as an egg production establishment so are now the only school in Wales (possibly the UK) that can sell eggs to shops. We have developed a partnership with Bodnant Welsh Food Centre and in Spring 2014 we will be launching Wyau San Siôr at their Farm Shop. We have now added quails to the school farm and should soon be selling quail eggs as well.Click here to see a egg production spreadsheet
Click here to see our Market Research
Click here for our 2min video

That was just a summary. Now you can read about our how we started our enterprise. To put the project into perspective and to see how we raised the funds you might want to read this. It’s explains how our drive to become a ‘bin-free’ school enabled us to save enough money to start Wyau San Siôr. If you read it to the end it will make sense.

This was on ITV news recentlypromoting the school egg business,Wyau San Siôr

ITV from San Sior on Vimeo.

We started off by buying 100 eggs off eBay. After ‘egg-sactly’ 21 days they started hatching. These photos are from the Reception Class, but every class from Nursery to Year 6 hatched eggs. Every single child in our school has seen a chick hatch. It was amazing to watch.

These particular chicks are silver-laced Wyandotte Bantams, but each class hatched different varieties. 5 of the 6 eggs hatched and were put in a brooder under red lights to keep them warm.

We have two types of incubator. One holds just eggs and the other holds about 24 eggs.

Chicken eggs need to be incubated for 21 days at 37.5C

The incubator turns the eggs and after 19 days the incubator stops turning the eggs.
Eggs hatching in incubator 21 days later – just hatched and exhausted! Just one day later and they are running around!

We placed the date and a cross on each egg. Our incubators turned the eggs automatically.

Photo of brooder We bought 3 brooders. These are basically plastic boxes with red heat bulbs to keep the chicks warm.
We already had a flock of 9 hens and now we were going to need space for many more birds. We also bought more ginger nuts to increase the number of eggs that we were able to sell.With so many chicks we had to extend the chicken run to make room for them all!We bought more coops and we cleared an are behind the school that had become overgrown. This area was previously waste ground and it was impossible to get in there. Mr Jones (our Headteacher) and Mr Jones the caretaker spent a lot of time over the Easter holidays clearing the area. We got the local steel fabricator to put another gate in so we could get to them.The chicken run has now been extended and runs the length of the whole school. It hasn’t been easy clearing the bramble!

This is the fox den which is just outside Year 2. See our video on this page.

We have been very busy extending the chicken run. We placed railway sleepers at the front and very large logs at the back to stop the foxes from getting into the chicken run and eating our chickens.

Each week a different class goes out to the chicken runs to collect eggs and to make sure that they have enough food and water. We have a rota in place so that a different class has chicken duties each week. Click here for Chicken Rota. The class is responsible for feeding, cleaning and collecting eggs. The teachers also plan class activities so that it helps wityh our literacy and numeracy. A group of Year 6 children oversee all the activities and report to Mr Jones and Mrs Roberts. In fact Gus, Callum, Tayo, Ethan and Nathan spend most play times sorting the hens.

A Friend of the School built wooden brooders for the chicks as they were too young to go outside.

The chicks are active within a couple of hours of hatching but look nothing like their parents. See if you can link these to their parents below!

appenz1

Silver-laced Wyandottes

Silver Appenzeller Spitzhauben

Plymouth Barred



Speckled Sussex

Minorca

Ancona

It’s great to see the nursery Class collecting eggs from the chickens

Everyone is involved in this project. Each week a different class is responsible for the chickens. There is a rota in the school. The class responsible that week have literacy and maths activities that involve chickens and the children may show a powerpoint presentation to the rest of the school on a Friday.

Nursery Presentation

Reception Presentation

Year 1 Presentation

Year 3 Presentation

How many chickens are we allowed to keep?

We had to fill in some forms for Mr Martin Elphick who is the Egg Marketing Inspector. Before we can sell eggs to Bodnant Welsh Food Centre we need to be registered. Mr Jones gave us some of the questions.We had to calculate how many chickens we could keep by working out the area of all the chicken coops. We can only place 9 hens per square meter inside the coops. The chicken run has an area of approx 118m squared.

We calculated the area of each coop be multiplying the length by the width. (A = L X W)

Thanks to graffiti artist Any Birch of Dime One we now have our very own egg label for the 600 egg boxes that we have bought. Thanks Andy!!!!

We have lots of his art work all over the school. You can contact him at dime_one@hotmail.o.uk

Photocopying the design

Cutting…

Pasting…

Quality Control

Pale blue araucana eggs & West Sussex and Rhode Island Red eggs

April 2013 we have a flock of 9 chickens and many many chicks, in fact…. we have 60 chicks. We have different breeds, some rather unusual ones. The Araucanas lay beautiful blue eggs and the Marans will lay deep copper eggs. We sell the eggs and use the profits to pay for feed and bedding for the chickens as well towards buying live food for the school menagerie.
Message from eBay member copperblack1011 Hi , will post 6 french copper blue maran on monday, should receive Tuesday by 1pm, eggs will hatch 50% copper blue ,25% copper black and 25% splash marans ,it gives us great pleasure to send these eggs to your school free of charge, these childen are very lucky to get a very good start in life from your school, any problems please get in touch.

We record the number of eggs laid each week on a spreadsheet. To see how many eggs are laid and if we are making profit please click the top of this page.

I think it’s time you meet our Chickens

We have 121 chickens of the following breeds:

29 x Ginger Nut Rangers

3 x Light Sussex

These are our Copper-blue and Silver-blue marans x4

 

4 x Silver Appenzeller Spitzhauben

1 x Plymouth Barred

4 x Minorcas

5 X German Langshans

4 x Speckled Sussex

3 xSilkie cross

1 x Silver-laced Wyandotte

7x Lavender Arucana

7x Bluebell

9 xCuckoo Maran

1 white wyandotte

 5x Wellsummer

3 x Dark Sussex

5 x Anconas

2 x chocolate Wyandottes

5 x Cream Legbar

 6 Specledies

 5 Black Rocks

3x Astral White

1x Golden Sebright

1 Brown Red (Modern Game)

3x Golden Pheasants

 2x Vorweck

  As of 9th May we also had the following in the school brooders at different stages of development:28 chickens: 5x Silver Duckwings, 3 Gold Duckwings, 4 Silver Birchens, 2 Golden Sebright, 1 Silver Sebright, 13 crosses of our own laying hens & 7 Golden Pheasants.We plan to sell all the Modern Game and pheasants at auction in October or to enthusiasts via the internet

Today was a very busy Eco Club meeting and was more like a factory…. Printing labels, cutting labels to fit the boxes, pasting the labels on the boxes. Inside each box we left instructions so parents can ask in Welsh whether their children want an egg.

Wy = egg

Wyau= eggs

Wyt ti eisiau wy wedi ei ferwi?
Do you want a boiled egg?Wyt ti eisiau brechdanau wy i ginio? Would you like egg sandwiches for school?Wyt ti eisiau wy wedi’i ffrio? Would you like a fried egg?Oes os gwelwch yn dda (yes please) Dim diolch (no thanks)Wyt ti’n hoffi wyau San Sior?
Do you like San Sior eggs?Ydw (yes)
Nac ydw (no)
   
STOP PRESS: We now sell fresh eggs laid by our flock of chickens £1.50 for half a dozen or a box of 7 for £1.75. Our eggs are unique in that you may get a blue egg laid by one of our Lavander Auracana or Cream Legbar hens, a chocolate brown egg laid by our Copper-blue Marans or a pure white egg laid by our Arucanas as well as the pale brown eggs laid by the other hens! Whatever the colour, you are guaranteed to get delicious eggs, laid by our happy free range hens!
Special thanks to North Wales Joinery for supplying all our bedding.

Egg production was going really well and we decided to put a little twist on the egg box and bought egg boxes that hold 7 eggs!

We hope that this will make our eggs stand out from the rest.

Click here to see the designs by children in the school

Egg container designs 1

Egg container designs 2

Here we are redesigning our egg boxes with the help of Jeff Gill, a parent who was trained as a graphic designer. We had to make sure that the label included some importsnt information without which we would not be allowed to sell them in shops.

Each box has to have the following information: our address, the fact that they are mixed weight and Class A eggs. While we should not keep the eggs refrigerated we must tell the customer to ‘keep the refrigerated after purchase’. We must also include our packing number UK/0/686 – this number is unique to our school. We must also stamp the box with a best before date which is the date 3 weeks after they were laid.

We also have a sticker that we put on the inside of each box with an explanation what the numbers on the eggs mean. Our unique code is 1UK22467.

1 = free range, UK = origin and 22467 = our producer identification number which is unique to

Wyau San Siôr

What a lot of eggs…..Shouldn’t chickens stop laying in Winter?December has been a record month with 893 eggs laid (£223.25)

Our Plymouth barred and Silver Appenzellers have really grown. We have given away most of our cockerels now but have kept cockerels of our lavendar arucana, copper splash, plymoth rock and Silver Appenzeller

Like our new boxes? We now sell eggs in boxes of 7 eggs. And this week our lovely Ancona hens have started laying their pure white eggs. It was a record week this week with 182 eggs laid in just one week. Also this week our 2000th egg was laid and the Siena and Brandon bought the box and were treated with a day’s free entry to Bodnant Gardens. Thank you Bodnant Gardens for the prize.
Keeping so many hens things don’t always go smoothly. We have had some very difficult situations to deal with. We had problems with gape worm and macroplazma over the summer and had to do some research and invite the vets to the school to give us advice. We had to worm the hens and worming 88 chickens isn’t easy! Sometimes we had to put a hen down as this was the kindest thing to do and we were very lucky to have support from a local farmer to help us.This doesn’t look like much fun but today we gave each of our chickens some medicine to make sure they don’t have worms and to make sure they lay the tastiest biggest eggs.Some of our chickens had scaly leg and we read about how we could make them better by spraying the chickens’ legs with WD40!

Message from Executive Chef, Bodnant Welsh Food Centre


Click the photo to go to the Bodnant Welsh Food site

Bore Da. Thank you so much for your email and for thinking of us here at Bodnant Welsh Food. I think this project is an amazing and fantastic idea for us to have your eggs here in Bodnant, I shall speak to my manager and also forward your email to him. I also mentioned to Mrs Jones Dosbarth Bodnant that I would love to purchase your eggs to use in the Hayloft Restaurant, I cant think of anything better than having such a wonderful project and being able to utilise it with our restaurant and menus. Thank you once again and I look forward to my sample, I shall e-mail you soon.
Kind Regards
Clare Jones
Executive Chef
Click here to read a letter of support from Mr Gwyndaf Pritchard, the General Manager of Bodnant Welsh Foof
A real selling feature of our 7-egg boxes is that they are made of recycled plastic and are transparent. You really get to appreciate the dark brown eggs laid by the Copper-blue marans, the green eggs laid by the cream legg barrs, the pure white eggs laid by the Anconas.We would also show you the blue eggs laid by the lavendar arucanas but we are sorry to say Mr Fox got them. We have now hatched another 5 lavendars to replace them. One is a cockerel so we will breed more of them.To the right is a video of the culprit which we recoirded with our nature cam
award The Eco Council have returned from Cardiff where they were awarded the Recycling Innovation Award by the Environment Minister for Wales. This was a Keep Wales Tidy Award.Recognition for all our hard work is wonderful. We have replaced two 1100litre bins with just one 240litre bin. We are well on our way to become a bin-free school! All wood shavings we use in the chicken nest boxes and the chicken coops are donated to use by North Wales Joinery – this is their waste product. We have even bought recycled chicken feeder made of recycled mudflaps.
newspaper cuttings

banner1

banner 2

We have been involved with the local press from the beginning and this has raised the profile of Wyau San Siôr. Guto Bebb MP and Janet Finch-Saunders AM have both visited the school to see the Wyau San Siôr enterprise. Signs outside the school mean that local residents now call into our school to buy their eggs.

 

hugh whitting 1 hugh whitting 2 Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall heard about us and sent us a signed Chicken and Eggs River Cottage Handbook

New feeding station made out of recycled car mudflaps!It even collects rainwater for the chickens! feed1 feed2 feed station

This is a Silver Appenzeller Spitzhauben chick. It is such a cool bird with a funky punk rocker hairstyle! They come from Switzerland and are quite rare. After the second world war they almost became extinct. They are excellent climbers and are good at flying and like to roost in trees. However they are not good layers so we had to make the difficult decision of giving them away to make room for hens that are good layers.

This is a Silver Appenzeller Spitzhauben chick. Doesn’t he look cool with his funky hairdo?

The Eco Club regularly clear out the chickens. This photograph was taken after new bark was placed on the floor of the chicken run. It was a very messy job and afterwards we were rewarded with eggs to take home. We feed the chickens on fresh food, corn and layers pellets. Because of this they lay the tastiest eggs…

 

An unusually large egg was laid in the nest box today…

We cracked the egg open to find – a double yolk!

 

Thse photos will show you how the back of our school has changed

We have widened this area and placed additional coops to accomodate the extra birds


chicken run 1a

This is the main area and here we keep the majority of the ginger nut rangers. These are very good layers. During the day we open a hatch and the chickens have free reign at the back of the school. They can’t stay here at night as it isn’t entirely fox proof. If you’ve read this page you will know that there is a fox living in our playground. Watch the video we made of the fox.

We were aware that the area was too small for the number of hens that we had hatched. So this Winter we have extended this area. We were very lucky that we found some fence panels in a skip and we were able to use these to make the area better. It now looks brilliant

chicken run 7a

We have now extended the Nursery area using panels that we upcycled from a skip. They are brilliant for our needs. We record how many eggs are laid on Mr Jones’ door but here, on this board, we can record when the last time someone checked the chickens

During the day the chickens can roam in an area we have cleared at the back of the school. We store all the bedding donated to us by North Wales Joinery in the shed.
As part of the project we also hatched quails and golden pheasants. These are housed in an enclosue that we built right in the middle of the playground. Unfortunately one of the male golden pheasants escaped and we have also lost two quails.They are still are managing to get out and we have no idea how?
tally chart As soon as the eggs are collected we record the number of eggs on a tally chart on Mr Jones’ office door. This is very important as this is the record of how many eggs are laid and how many are sold. This information then goes into the spreadsheet. To see the spreadsheet you can click here We record the income on the left hand side and the expenditure on the right hand side. Then we take away the expenditure from the income = profit.
This used to be our bin compound. But because we are now practically a bin free school we decided to place the recycling bins nearer to the school and convert the bin compound into a roosting area.

As you can see it makes a perfect chicken coop! We put a light inside because when the hens roost they are calm and we can inspect them.

Photo taken at lunch time by the Chicken Team

Same place but taken at night

Keeping 9 chickens was easy. Having a flock of close to a 100 birds is a challenge and means a lot of work. We give up most playtimes to make sure our hens are happy hens. One unpleaseant job (but someone’s got to do it) is cleaning out their poo. Believe us when we tell you that 100 birds do a lot of poo

Our Market Research show that we are selling the eggs at the correct price. We sell boxes of 7 eggs for £1.75 so that’s 25p each. The average price for an egg in the Mixed Weight Egg boxes was 26p. See our research here. But it is important to consider the welfare of the birds. Our birds really are free range. If you buy caged or barn hens they probably never see the light of day. Sadly this may also be true of many commercial free range chicken farms.

THUMBS UP
The advantages of buying your eggs from San Siôr:

You know exactly how the hens have been cared for, what they have eaten and can come to inspect the flock yourself.

You can usually buy the eggs on the day they were laid.

We sell beautiful colourful eggs laid by different varieties of hens including duck-egg blue, pale green, dark brown and pure white.

We only feed our hens the very best, this includes layers pellets and mixed corn and fresh left over vegetables from the school canteen.

All profit goes back to the school to ensure that the school environment inspires learning.

Children actively take part in everything involving the chickens from feeding, cleaning, collecting and packaging eggs.

This is a whole school project (all year groups are involved) and activities are arranged to drive standards in literacy and numeracy.

Children learn about enterprise skills and the project has involved many businesses and professionals working alongside the children to achieve success.

 


THUMBS DOWNThe disadvantages of buying your eggs from San Siôr:
The eggs sell out very quickly so you may not get any. The hens currently lay around 200 eggs a week There are times where the eggs are dirtier than usual particularly during wet weather. We now have a rota in place to make sure the eggs are collected more frequently throughout the day and that this issue is resolved.
Was the enterprise a success. Without a doubt – YES! Our chickens have been used as a whole school project to make our lessons fun and interesting across many subjects science, art, maths and language. We have all learnt together – teachers and pupils. It has enabled us to learn how a business works and we have worked with some interesting people. We have learnt a lot about chicken farming. There were many challenges and obstacles but we now know about sour crop, gape worm and scaly leg and more importantly how to treat it and in the process we have even made some money.Maybe not as much as we initially predicted as many of our hens haven’t started laying yet. See spreadsheet link at the top of the page to see if we are in profit. Next year we expect to make £1500.

 

STOP PRESS – We are now planning the San Siôr Chicken Cookbook. Click herefor instructions. This will be sold at the same time as the launch of Wyau San Siôr in Bodnant Food Centre this Spring. A preview will be available here soon

cover

Click the cover on the left for a preview of our cookbook. It’s not yet finished. It will have 100 receipes.Launch date:1st March, 2014
Click the video on the right to see our 2 minute videoor for a clearer image click belowEnterprise Troopers from San Sior on Vimeo.
Click here for our nomination for the Trooper Award
This was on ITV news recently

ITV from San Sior on Vimeo.

quail eggs We have now diversified and have a flock of 20 quails as well as eggs in the incubator. The quails are in the greenhouse made of coca cola bottles after we made it more secure by lining it with chicken wire. Chickens and quails should never be kept together as they can pass diseases to one another.
Freya Gill quotation of the week:

‘The egg we sell isn’t innovative,

 

but the way we sell it is!’

Six pupils will represent the school in the National Final of the Enterprise Troopers Competition. The event is taking place in the Senedd Building, Cardiff Bay, Cardiff on Tuesday 25th March and …..

We won the Best Primary Enterprise in Wales Award!

(Welsh Assembly Government Press Release)

enterprise winners 1

enterprise winners 2

Llyr Griffiths AM visited our school and …

Llyr Gruffydd said: “In my three years as an Assembly member this has been one of the most inspirational visits I’ve undertaken. It’s obvious that everyone from the head to the youngest child has bought into the idea of San Sior as an eco-school and in conserving energy and developing renewables.

The school is also pioneering in its educational use of animals of all kinds to help the children learn. As the only school in Wales accredited to sell the 350+ eggs its chickens produce each week, it’s also helping to foster an enterprising spirit among the children and re-connecting them with animals and the countryside. I really enjoyed meeting the enthusiastic young ambassadors on our tour around the school – they will doubtless be at the forefront of a new generation who understand the need to reduce energy consumption and to find cheap, reliable renewable forms of energy to use in the future.”

Enterprise1


Enterprise2

We hope you have enjoyed reading about our Chicken Project. This page is now continued here