School farm 'a beacon for the rest of the country', says TV's Jimmy Doherty

Jimmy Doherty with Birchwood's chicken monitors. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

Jimmy Doherty with Birchwood's chicken monitors - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Television presenter Jimmy Doherty has said a primary school near Ipswich which produces its own food "could act as a beacon for the rest of the country".

The Jimmy's Farm and Wildlife Park founder visited Birchwood Primary School, in Martlesham Heath, as it opened a new chicken area at its farm.

Year 6 pupils run it as an enterprise, with pupils acting as micro-business managers and chicken monitors who look after the flock on a daily basis – collecting eggs, cleaning and general husbandry.

The eggs are then sold to nearby businesses and people within the school community.

Jimmy Doherty visited Birchwood Primary School to officially open their new rare breed chicken coop.

Jimmy Doherty visited Birchwood Primary School to officially open its new rare breed chicken coop - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Teachers believe the farm has a huge benefit to their all-round education - and were delighted by Mr Doherty's praise when he visited the school on Monday, June 28.

Paul Firman, local authority governor for Birchwood and Holbrook primary schools, said: "It was an amazing visit from Jimmy and to have his seal of approval on what we are achieving is great. 

Farmer and TV presenter, Jimmy Doherty.Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

Farmer and TV presenter, Jimmy Doherty - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

"Parents really enjoy their children having this."

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In recent years, the school's eclectic collection of rare, heritage, at-risk and hybrid chicken breeds has got old.

Jimmy Doherty visited Birchwood Primary School to officially open their new rare breed chicken coop.

Jimmy Doherty praised the farm at Birchwood Primary School - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

So the school created a separate new area for the rare breed bantams with a large coop.

It also includes an outside fox-proof area.

Rare breed bantams enjoying themselves in their new coop at Birchwood Primary School. Picture: Sar

Rare breed bantams enjoying themselves in their new coop at Birchwood Primary School. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

The hybrid chickens are kept in the existing area, where they will produce eggs nearly every day of the year.

"Doing this will enable us to support the rare breeds, as these do not produce so many eggs," Mr Firman added.  

Rare breed bantams enjoying themselves in their new coop at Birchwood Primary School. Picture: Sar

Rare breed bantams enjoying themselves in their new coop at Birchwood Primary School. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

"It is important that we help to protect these rare and at-risk breeds. If not, some of these breeds could be lost forever."

One pupil chicken warden said she loves how the chickens have "amazing souls" and produce "amazing eggs" to eat.

Rare breed bantams enjoying themselves in their new coop at Birchwood Primary School. Picture: Sar

Rare breed Bantams enjoying themselves in their new coop at Birchwood Primary School - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

In total, there are 11 rare, heritage breed bantams and 20 hybrid chickens at the school farm. 

Jimmy Dohert with Birchwood's chicken monitors. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

Jimmy Doherty with Birchwood Primary School's chicken monitors - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

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