School farm 'a beacon for the rest of the country', says TV's Jimmy Doherty
- 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.
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.
"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.
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.
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.
"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.
In total, there are 11 rare, heritage breed bantams and 20 hybrid chickens at the school farm.