THEY watched their chicks burst into life when they hatched last year.
But now these children at Northern Parade Schools in Hilsea are devastated after discovering that two of them – Omelette and April – have been stolen.
The theft happened between 10pm on Monday and 5.30am on Tuesday.
It is thought that a group of people climbed over the roof of the school into an open area where they then stole the chickens.
Year 3 teacher Claire Emmett said: ‘I’m upset because they have been such a good influence on the children.
‘They have really attached themselves to these chickens.
‘A lot of the children go outside at lunchtime and break times to see them.
‘There are particular children who are always there and always visit them.
‘They are such a key thing for our sensory resource as well.
‘The children do a lot of work with animals in there. It’s a shame for them as well.
‘It helps their learning and understanding of the world.
‘It’s inspired the children to write. They are writing their own newspaper reports and lots of children are investigating what happened.’
The chicks hatched at the school in April last year.
Ms Emmett then took them home and looked after them until they were old enough to return to the school several weeks later.
The children then helped to raise them.
When staff came into the school on Tuesday, they noticed that part of the chicken enclosure had been broken and chickens were running loose around the school.
Ms Emmett said the children are very upset.
‘Word spread quickly,’ she said. ‘I told my class. They are shocked and confused at how anyone would get in and why anyone would want to do that as they see them as their chickens and their belongings.
‘I have had lots of questions. It’s difficult explaining to children that they have been stolen. They are very upset.’
Hampshire police have confirmed that they are aware of the incident and it is being investigated.
Anyone with any information about the incident can call 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.