Chicks are hatching in front of visitors eyes this Easter, thanks to our local partnership. For the fourth consecutive year, The Lakes Free Range Egg Company (The Lakes) has been working with the team at the Rheged Centre to create a platform that enables visitors to see how chicks are hatched and learn how they will become hens laying free range eggs in the future.
On Saturday 8th April, ‘The Lakes’ installed eggs in incubators in the play area at the Rheged Centre, aiming to have chicks hatching every day until the exhibition closes on Sunday 23rd April. Carefully planned to hatch daily during the holidays the chicks have helped make the Rheged Centre a destination visit for Easter.
The Lakes has worked with Helen Campion, Events Manager at the Rheged Centre, to create a fun and stimulating link that demonstrates how the food chain works with eggs. Over the last few years they’ve refined the exhibit to make sure as many visitors as possible get see what’s happening.
Chris Oglesby or Lizzie Brass from The Lakes Free Range Egg Company call in to the Rheged Centre on a daily basis to check on the hatching chicks and to chat with visitors. Lizzie and Chris said “as soon as we arrive visitors have lots of questions ranging from ‘did I hear the chick cheeping in the egg’ to ‘how old are they when they start laying eggs themselves?’ Children are fascinated, but parents are also keen to understand more about the food chain which is also very encouraging.”
Helen Campion, Events Manager at the Rheged Centre said “It’s lovely working with local companies like The Lakes Free Range Egg Company; we couldn’t run an event like this without such a strong partnership. Chicks hatching is something most people don’t get to see – myself included and it’s quite mesmerising to watch. We have thousands of people passing through the centre at Easter, the chick hatching is a really big draw, we see visitors coming time and time again to check on the chick progress.”
The Lakes Free Range Egg Company is based just down the road at Stainton, where they produce and pack around 1 million free range eggs every week. Keen to ensure they have the strongest, healthiest hens; The Lakes rear most of their own free range egg producing flocks, making them the ideal partner for the Rheged Centre.
The Lakes has won awards for animal welfare and environmental provenance and is always keen to promote their ethos to the public. David Brass, Chief Executive at The Lakes said “The Rheged Centre attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year and they’re just across the road, so it makes them an ideal partner to help explain the sustainable food chain. The hatching unit is a great showcase opportunity for the public to find out what chick rearing and egg production is all about – perfect at Easter. And if it inspires more people to buy free range eggs, that’s a bonus.”
Last Easter the Rheged Centre had around twenty thousand visitors; numbers are likely to be just as high this year, with many more children expected to flock upstairs to see the chicks before the exhibit closes on 23rd April.