This chicken at a Gorleston nursery thinks it is a child
PUBLISHED: 17:55 09 January 2019
She sometimes gets in a flap, is known to be feather-brained, and hates being cooped up.
But when this one-year-old goes to class at Shine Nursery in Gorleston, she always has a cracking day.
That’s because this peckish pupil is a chicken.
Its playground pals have taken the bird, named Chick-Chicken, under their wing, and love seeing her enjoy rides in a pram and sitting on laps during story-time.
She joined the nursery in 2018 after being rejected by her mother, having hatched two days after her siblings.
This was at a farm in Yorkshire, where the daughter of the nursery’s CEO had been working.
Sarah Southernwood, a manager at Shine, said that when the chick arrived in Gorleston, she was “in a very sorry state”.
“Her mother had been pecking at her, injuring her head,” Ms Southernwood explained.
“We weren’t sure if she was going to be blind in one eye or suffer brain damage.
“We weren’t even sure if she was going to survive.
“We decided to be a surrogate mummy,” Ms Southernwood said.
Chick-chicken has been nurtured by the nursery’s 21 children.
She roams around freely, sleeps in a coop in the garden and eats fresh food including cabbage and brussel sprouts.
When the chicken was six months old, Shine adopted three guinea pigs - Ham, Egg and Chips - who Chick-chicken follows around and nestles beside.
Ms Southernwood said: “We did try to introduce a friend for Chick-chicken.
“However, she was having none of that nonsense - Chick-chicken likes to rule the roost.”
Chickens can and will attempt to protect their status within an established social order, often accomplished with their beaks - the origin of the term ‘pecking order’.
The chicken is now so used to being with the children, running around the garden at playtime, that staff at the nursery think she “genuinely believes she is a child”.
“She thoroughly enjoys being pushed around in the pram, sitting on laps during story-time,” Ms Southerwood said.
Every two days, she lays an egg, which they use to make cakes.
According to some psychologists, pets help to enhance child development.
Learning, growing and spending time with a pet can bring social, emotional and educational benefits to children and adolescents.
Experience with pets tends to support greater self-esteem, less loneliness and enhanced social skills.