After 20 chicks were rescued from ‘educational’ purposes, the RSPCA warned schools to avoid egg-hatching.

The baby birds would have to go to their death as food for snakes, after they were cared for by the teachers.

However, the school receptionist who had been working on the project for close to a decade called an animal rescue charity. They have since placed them at a sanctuary.

RSPCA warns schools to not consider chicks ‘disposable learning tools’.

Oakridge Infant School, Basingstoke in Hants, was responsible for hatching the nineteen young birds. Staff took the chickens home every weekend to teach the children how to take care of them.

An employee became concerned after the completion of Helping Dogs and Cats UK.

Kirsty Wrightson is the rescue manager and the founder of the charity. She said that once the birds are born, they will be cockerels.

The RSPCA has warned primary schools against egg-hatching projects after almost 20 'starving' chicks (pictured) had to be rescued having been used for 'educational purposes'

RSPCA warns primary schools about egg-hatching after nearly 20 starving chicks had to be saved. They were being used for educational purposes.

She stated, “The chicks arrived all wet and covered in dirt. They were starving.” They were not being looked after, which was really disappointing.

They had been left in an empty plastic bag with no food. It was a relief that they were there.

“I don’t know where they’d have gone but the woman at reception did not call me. The woman told her that they were going to be taken and killed, but she did not want to hear this.

This makes me mad and sad, because I know there are more ways to help these kids. 

“The chicks were sweet but they weren’t cockerels so nobody wanted them. They just pulled their necks.

“It’s cruel, because they’re being bred for children to hatch eggs and then killed.

“It is not pleasant for them.” [they can be]’Left at school overnight. Children handle them and they aren’t gentle.

The chickens were saved by the charity and rehomed at Summers Rescue.

Emma Freeth, of Helping Dogs & Cats UK, with one of the chicks rescued from the school

Emma Freeth, of Helping Dogs & Cats UK, with one of the chicks rescued from the school

Libby Searle was the early years coordinator and the assistant school headteacher. She said that the project was crucial for ‘educational reasons’.

She explained that they are purchased from a reliable company, which supplies equipment and goes to many schools. The eggs are delivered by them and they’ve done it for at least four years.

The children see the eggs hatch, and the staff takes them home for the weekend. Staff also teach the children what they need to keep safe and healthy.

“It is a great opportunity to meet the chicks and see them firsthand. It is possible to take chicks home or have them adopted by the same company they were taken.

“We also called for community members to come get them.

RSPCA asked schools to think about whether or not they could’met the welfare needs’ of an animal.

Oakridge Infant School (pictured) said the project was important for 'educational purposes'

Oakridge Infant School (pictured), said that the project was crucial for ‘educational reasons’

Dave Allen is the RSPCA’s head of education. He stated that it was important for children to understand the natural world and why schools and nurseries might consider hatching ducks and chicks to educate their students.

“However, eggs hatching in schools is a concern for many reasons. Schools can cause distress to animals and are often noisy or frightening. It could also be hard for them to be monitored and get veterinary care if they become sick.

“It is not always as simple as people think. It’s difficult to find a home for animals after they have grown up. Many times, local animal welfare charities pick up the tab in their local communities. This is unfair on both the charity and the animal.

“We think animal welfare can also be taught through other methods, including online resources, videos, nature walks, to see animals in their natural habitats and without disturbing them, as well as educational talks.

“We provide a wealth of education resources. We encourage schools to join the RSPCA Animal Friendly School program and help teach kindness and compassion toward wildlife and animals.

It is wrong to bring in eggs to see them hatch and to then move them on. This does not teach children how to be respectful of them.

They are not disposable learning tools. Instead, they should be considered living and feeling people whose welfare long-term is paramount.

Hampshire County Council spokeswoman said the problem was at schools’ hands and there are guidelines in place to ensure safety.