Fourteen fluffy baby chicks arrived at Blaxland High School on Wednesday morning, ready to be raised by year 8 agricultural technologies students.
The students will be caring for the chicks over the next six weeks, then selecting the two heaviest male and female chicks to be judged in a meat bird pairs competition at the Sydney Royal Easter Show.
The two-day-old chicks arrived at Blaxland High weighing about 40 grams each, and will have grown to weigh at least 1.6kg by the time the Easter Show kicks off.
"It's a great way for kids to experience the fact that farm animals aren't necessarily pets," said agricultural technologies teacher Megan Backer.
Student Mitchell Kildea said he wants to work on a chicken farm, and he's used to looking after chickens as they have four in the family's backyard.
"It will be hard to break away from the chicks after six weeks of caring for them," he said.
The chicks could be quite a distraction to all students over the next week as they will be contained in a cage under lights in a classroom, before they're moved into a pen outside.
Eighty-six NSW schools are taking part in the hands-on farming experience, with the top 12 finalist birds displayed on April 12-13 at the show.
The competition is judged by experts from the commercial poultry meat industry, and students are critiqued on the presentation of their exhibits, carcase quality, and their PowerPoint presentations detailing how the chickens were raised and prepared for the show.
Students from St Columba's Catholic College in Springwood are also taking part in the competition.