£22,650 Lottery cash for students’ poultry project

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STUDENTS at a Spalding school will be breeding some rare Lincolnshire chickens thanks to a £20,000-plus Lottery funded heritage project.

The Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded Gleed Boys’ School £22,650 so that students can explore the area’s agricultural history through a project called “Poultry Past”.

The children will learn about past Lincolnshire life and the importance of keeping poultry to the county’s heritage – in terms of producing food and the social aspect of prize shows that brought together communities.

As part of their studies the children will see how to breed Lincolnshire Buff chickens – a local breed that has an extra toe which experts believed evolved to cope with the muddy Fenland fields.

They will incubate eggs and see them develop from embryo to chick before learning how to rear them using traditional methods alongside the Lincolnshire Buff Society.

The whole thing will also be filmed, with a webcam brought in so the school can watch chicks hatch and learn how to edit together a film to turn into a DVD for Ayscoughfee Hall Museum’s cinema area.

Emma Sayer, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund East Midlands, said: “The heritage of Lincolnshire is tightly bound to the development of local agriculture.

“This project will give young people the opportunity to get hands on experience of breeding the Lincolnshire Buff, whilst exploring the history of their community.

“By learning new film-making skills they will be able to celebrate their work and share their discoveries with other schools, at country shows and the local museum.”

The Lincolnshire Buff breed became extinct in the 1920s but was re-introduced by the Lincolnshire Agricultural College through breeding trials. The Buff, which was popular for being fast growing and easily raised, was seen as a good winter layer and with its white – pigmented skin made an excellent table bird.

Gleed Lead Behaviour Professional (LBP) Tina Trigg said: “We are all very excited about this project. Thanks to the Young Roots Heritage Lottery Fund we have a wonderful and unique opportunity to teach young people in Spalding the importance of heritage.”

Headteacher Geoff Cowley added: “This is a real opportunity for our students to understand and learn about important aspects of Lincolnshire.

“I am looking forward to seeing this project develop in school and learn myself.”