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Unique opportunity for visitors to see Easter chicks hatch at the Rheged Centre

Three generations – Gran and Mum with Jamie (9) and Molly (6) Stephenson

[C]hildren visiting the Rheged Centre this Easter have a rare opportunity to see chicks hatching before their eyes – thanks to a live exhibit from The Lakes Free Range Egg Company (The Lakes).

Easter 2018 is the fifth consecutive year that The Lakes has worked with the Rheged Centre and this year’s live exhibit is bigger than ever before. There are two incubators and a specially heated pen for the hatched chicks to grow – all at eye level for little ones to get a good view.

Rebecca Skelton, Events Manager at the Rheged Centre said “It’s fantastic to have Easter Chicks as a live feature and we really enjoy working with The Lakes Free Range Egg Company. For the last five years, The Lakes team has brought incubators filled with eggs ready to hatch into chicks and they tell the story of how chicks grow into hens that lay the eggs we sell in our shop.

“The chicks keep growing in popularity, so this Easter, we’ve given them dedicated space in our create area. Chicks hatch every day and there’s such a buzz – we know people come back year after year to see them. The team from The Lakes are always so professional and accommodating and spend ages talking to visitors.”

Roger Gill and Christina Steven from The Lakes Free Range Egg Company with Rebecca Skelton from Rheged

Roger Gill, The Lakes Agriculture Manager said “We feel it’s important to help people understand and appreciate where our food comes from. The hatching unit is a great showcase opportunity for the public to find out what chick rearing, and egg production is all about – and if it inspires more people to buy free range eggs, that’s a bonus – and it all starts with healthy day-old chicks.

“We have to plan well in advance, producing posters showing how chicks grow into hens laying eggs and we aim to have at least one chick hatching every day. Parents and children are fascinated and keen to learn more about free range eggs. Popular questions from all ages include how long does it take for a chick to grow and hatch? (21 days) and how old are they when they start laying eggs? (20 weeks).”

As well as watching chicks hatch, visitors have chance to enter a competition to name a chick -winners will be announced Friday 13th. There’s also a new game to entertain visitors. The egg box stacking game was introduced as a fun family idea, but it has kept parents amused whilst children stare at the incubators waiting for chicks to peck their way out of their shells or huddle over the heated enclosure to watch the new chicks scurrying about.

The Lakes Free Range Egg Company is based just across the road at Stainton, where they produce and pack around 1 million free range eggs every week. Keen to ensure they have the strongest, healthiest hens, The Lakes rear most of their own free-range egg producing flocks, making them the ideal partner for the Rheged Centre at Easter.

Children can flock to see chicks hatching until the egg exhibit closes on Sunday 15th April. To find out more about The Lakes Free Range Egg Company visit www.lakesfreerange.co.uk

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