Hens to be put through their paces at chicken training academy

Hens are to take part in a training academy where they will be given footballs, take part in tree-top assault courses and fly between perches in a bid to help them lay better eggs.

Morrisons is teaming up with the ‘British Egg Academy’ to create a hen training programme. The tailored “training” plan aims to produce the fittest chickens and the best eggs.
Morrisons is teaming up with the ‘British Egg Academy’ to create a hen training programme. The tailored “training” plan aims to produce the fittest chickens and the best eggs.

Supermarket Morrisons is to create the “hen training academy” to promote chicken exercise programmes in order to help hens produce the best eggs.

Hens involved in the scheme will be given access to trees - that they use to play hide and seek in - footballs and other toys that they are encouraged to play with, as well as perches at various levels within their houses - so they are able to jump, climb and fly on a daily basis.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Human students of the academy, known as the British Egg Academy, will learn how to train their chickens with exercises that help hens to lay better quality eggs.

Students will learn how to give the right amounts of feed and water to their hens, the amount of necessary light exposure and even how to create calming environments to give them time to relax and put their claws up. For the hens that need downtime after their training, dust baths will be available.

The academy, run in partnership with Chippindale Foods, said that despite being an industry worth over £1 billion to the UK economy, there is a shortage of people joining the egg sector professionally - with little training currently available.

People in the UK consume 36 million eggs a day with each person eating an average of 197 eggs a year.

Sophie Throup, head of agriculture at Morrisons said: “We want to produce some of the healthiest, fittest and happiest hens in the UK. We are always looking at ways to continually improve our egg quality and this Academy will help achieve that goal, whilst giving our students insights into how to crack the industry for generations to come.”

The British Egg Academy will be based at Bishop Burton College in Yorkshire, where the first batch of students will begin their course in January 2021.Bill Meredith, principal at Bishop Burton College, said: “The college is delighted to be working with Morrisons and poultry farmers to provide opportunities for those seeking rewarding careers in the egg industry.

“Our commitment is to provide the skills needed to maintain the highest possible welfare standards – happy hens are us.”

Around 27 companies and organisations are to provide practical, on-site visits and teaching during the year-long course, which will see students earn a Level 2 Diploma in Agriculture with training and work based learning from the supporting companies.

As well as practical and theoretical experience, students are also told they will undertake an ‘Egg-vestigative Project’ supported by an industry specialist, such as completing research in the workplace or investigating an issue using company information and resources.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

The dramatic events of 2020 are having a major impact on many of our advertisers - and consequently the revenue we receive. We are now more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription to support our journalism.

Subscribe to scotsman.com and enjoy unlimited access to Scottish news and information online and on our app. Visit https://www.scotsman.com/subscriptions now to sign up.

By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.

Joy Yates

Editorial Director