Beenham Primary School pupils looking after five ducklings
Pupils at Beenham Primary School have been nursing a poorly duck back to health after taking five ducklings under their wing two weeks ago.
The school’s reception class received five mystery eggs on Tuesday, May 3, and gave a variety of wild suggestions as to what they might contain, with some students thinking they could contain dinosaurs, guinea pigs or crocodiles.
The eggs hatched on Saturday and Sunday in that same week, and the Beenham Primary pupils and staff have been looking after the ducklings, including the injured Gaby, ever since.
Beenham Primary School’s headteacher Amy Donnelly stated that the drive behind the long-term project was teaching the children to learn and care for animals. She also said of the school: “we are all animal lovers.”
When the eggs first arrived, they were placed in an incubator in the reception classroom. The school fashioned its own ‘eggcam’ which focused on the incubator so that they could always keep an eye on them.
The firstborn duck was called Winston as he was born on VE day and is the leader of the pack, always leading the rest of the ducklings out of their cage.
There are two ducks named Sunny and Buttercup because of their glorious yellow colour, and another called Caramel due to its golden colour that matches its namesake.
The staff and pupils quickly noticed after hatching that the final duck Gaby had a strange looking neck. After doing some research, the school quickly determined that Gaby was suffering with a wry neck, a common affliction that affects ducklings which means they’re unable to lift their head up on their own.
Beenham Primary were determined to look after Gaby, and after finding out about the condition and communicating with the company that originally gave them the eggs, the school found out they needed to fashion a neck brace to support her recovery.
A brace was made from cutting out a cardboard ring from a toilet roll and then filling it with cotton wool. It has already had a positive effect, and the school hopes that along with regular neck massages, Gaby’s neck will soon be back to normal.
The duckling project came out of the class’s current key topic on animal safari. Beenham Primary pupils also recently received a facetime talk about how to look after animals from a vet at The Sidings Veterinary Surgery in Cirencester.
As the ducks grow bigger, the responsibility will be shared throughout the school, with breakfast and after-school clubs waking the ducks up and putting them back to sleep. The school’s pond will also be re-designed to better suit the ducks in the future.
Mrs Donnelly believes having pupils learn to look after the five ducks will teach them responsibility, one of Beenham Primary School’s core values.