NOWRA High School agriculture students are cock-a-hoop.
The students are again taking part in the annual meat bird pairs competition at this year’s Sydney Royal Easter Show.
Nowra High is one of 60 schools across the state taking part in the competition, in which students nurture poultry over a six-week program and are responsible for the wellbeing and growth of baby chicks.
The competition provides students with a chance to learn about breeding programs and gain a practical, hands-on insight into the diversity of the Australian poultry industry.
Each school then enters its best two chickens for judging at the Steggles Poultry Pavilion at the Sydney Royal.
Nowra High has taken delivery of its chicks from Steggles and already the results have been impressive.
The chicks arrived as day olds and weighed an average 45 grams; now, at day 21, the birds have increased to an average weight of 418 grams.
Nowra High agriculture teacher Peter Ryan said the competition was a great chance for the students to test the theory of agriculture through practical experience.
“The year 10 agriculture students are in charge of the birds for the competition but a number of classes throughout the school have hands-on experience with them,” he said.
“For year 10 it is part of their poultry unit and they are in charge of measuring the weight and size of the birds.
“The year 11 students use it as part of its growth and development unit.”
The chicks are a special hybrid bird.
Nowra High has 15 birds and will take the male and famale pick of the males and females to the Royal.
“It’s the second year the school has taken part in the competition and it is a good experience for the students,” Mr Ryan said.
“We have improved how we are doing things this year.
“Last year we had some problems with heating after suffering a few blackouts. We have rectified that problem and have purchased a special brooder for them.
“This year nutrition is our main focus; coming up with an improved mix of feeds that allows our birds to gain maximum growth.”