Limerick classroom’s baby chicks plan hatches to perfection

Donal O’Regan


Donal O’Regan

Pupils make some fluffy new friends: Junior infants in the Convent of Mercy National School in Doon with some of the chicks hatched in their own classroom.Picture: Michael Cowhey
JUNIOR infant boys and girls in the Convent of Mercy National School in Doon are cock-a-hoop about their new classmates.

JUNIOR infant boys and girls in the Convent of Mercy National School in Doon are cock-a-hoop about their new classmates.

Margaret Kelly, a special needs assistant, hatched the plan to bring in an incubator and fertilised eggs into Nora Ryan’s class.

Ms Ryan thought it was a great idea as it “brings education to life”. The pupils were counting down the days for the first egg to hatch.

“Excitement was at the highest level we have ever seen in the school. It was better than any Christmas morning when they started hatching. It took 21 days to incubate and the first chick to come out was the little black chick. He came out after 20 days,” said Ms Ryan.

The first couple hatched outside school hours but some very considerately arrived into the world during class.

“They were able to see the egg moving and the shell breaking,” said Ms Ryan, whose classroom has been easily the most popular in the school.

“It is lovely because lots of people from he community and parents have come in to see them and when anybody comes to see them 23 children go to look at them as well!” said Nora.

Clodagh Purcell, aged six, says the chicks are really cute. While Liam Dore Barry, aged five, likes them because they are very “fluffy”.

But like the boys and girls - they grow before up you know it. The majority of the chickens have returned home to Ms Kelly’s home as they were getting too big.

“They were left to dry in an incubator for a few hours. We have two barrels in the school with red lamps so they were put in those.

“Some of them had to go home last week because they grow very quickly so there was not enough room for them. We will keep two or three to see them growing for another week,” said Ms Ryan.

The experience has also helped her to teach the five and six-year-olds.

“We did the story of the life cycle of the chicken and they had no problem with it because they saw it happening in front of their eyes. Margaret has chickens at home so she took photos to show them where the eggs came from,” said Ms Ryan, who gave all the credit to Ms Kelly for the idea.

“It was Margaret’s brainchild. She has been coming in at weekends and evenings to check on them. Margaret is now going do it with third and fourth class because they just loved it. They have been up and down - all the classes have - to see them.” said Ms Ryan.

It wasn’t just the pupils.

“Lots of the parents came in to see them because their children came home and told them to go see them too, which was lovely,” she added.

And if chicks weren’t enough they also have ducklings!

“They hatched last week,” said Ms Ryan.

The Ugly Duckling is another obvious candidate for Ms Ryan to read to the children. All in all it was a “cracking” good idea in the Convent of Mercy National School in Doon and the expressions in the photographs tell what a success story it has been.