The hens were initially used to support teaching and learning across a variety of animal science and agriculture modules, but it soon became clear that staff and students were visiting the friendly free-rangers for their wellbeing.
The hens were also involved in a student-led egg laying competition which was so successful it was recognised with a Lord Dearing Award, which recognises outstanding contributions to the development of teaching and student learning.
Commenting on the project, Dr O’Shea said, “Having the hens here is really invaluable in giving students experience of handling and looking after commercial free-range hens. They have also proved to be very popular with staff who want to pick their own eggs or help out with looking after them. This gave us the idea to maximise their appeal and turn the flock into a sustainable enterprise project that students could take ownership of that would widen their impact and boost egg sales.”