Staff from the Lakes Free Range Egg Company (The Lakes) were invited back to school to explain how free range eggs end up on the breakfast table. Over 60 pupils from Beaconside Church of England Primary School in Penrith learned how chicks grow into hens that lay eggs and how they benefit from being able to range outdoors.
Mark Gaskin Managing Director and Jane Wilkinson Sales Director at the Lakes Free Range Egg Company arrived at the school armed with eggs, stickers and information. They spent the afternoon with two Year 1 classes and explained how chicks grow into hens and how they learn to lay.
Using a range of eggs, Mark Gaskin demonstrated how it takes time to perfect the egg laying process and the children were quite surprised to hear that hens have to ‘learn to lay eggs’. They were shown a variety of oddly formed eggs including those that were misshapen or unusually large ‘double yolkers’.
Bringing life and colour to the story, Jane Wilkinson used photos and a video which showed why ‘The Lakes’ feels it is important to have plenty trees and hedges for their hens who use them for cover and protection. What fascinated the pupils most was the video which gave a bird’s eye view of the hens on the ranges and the factory using robotics to pack the eggs. Jane explained “There were lots of questions about the differences in eggs, but there were even more about the factory. The children were fascinated how robots could so carefully pack eggs without breaking them.”
At the end of the presentations ‘The Lakes’ team polled the pupils to find out which was their favourite way to eat eggs in the morning. 45% preferred boiled eggs for breakfast with 15% liking fried eggs best; 12% said scrambled egg. Of the group seven pupils said they had never tried an egg before, but they all decided that they would now try them for the first time.
Reflecting on the afternoon, Mark Gaskin MD at ‘The Lakes’ said “we were pleased that providing trees for shade and protection made an impression on the class. It was also really encouraging to learn that the seven pupils who said they hadn’t had eggs for breakfast were now willing to give them a go – I think we have Henrietta our mascot to thank for that.”
Beaconside C of E School Teacher Miss Sarah Kendall said “we wanted ‘The Lakes’ to visit us because we felt they would be able to bring to life our learning. Where our food comes from is an important subject and is part of the national curriculum. Today’s visit combines Science with Design and Technology and covered our projects on living things and where food comes from.
“We are planning to use the poll results to create bar charts and are also going to feature eggs in our food tasting.”
Exploring the world of eggs meant Mark and Jane had lots of questions to answer – everything from which bit of the egg is formed first, to how many eggs do you pack, and do you keep the hen shed doors open all day?
The Lakes Free Range Egg Company visits several primary schools each year and hosts factory visits for secondary schools and colleges.