Client : Curly’s Farm

Location : Leysdown, Isle of Sheppey, Kent

Surrounded by 10-acres of beautiful Kent countryside, Curly’s Farm on the Isle of Sheppey is more than just a farm.

This not-for-profit charity is the heart of its community, engaging children from age three upwards, young people and vulnerable adults into learning and education by working on a real farm with real farm animals.

Curly’s Farm was established in 2018 by Curly’s dads, Kyle and Garry Ratcliffe, as a way of ‘giving back to the community’ after the BBC’s DIY SOS created a forever home for them and their four children, Haydn, Isobella, Phoebe and Curly – three of whom have special educational needs or disabilities.

The farm regularly adopts unwanted or mistreated animals and is currently home to over 200 hens.

Kyle Ratcliffe, Curly’s Legacy Head of Charity said:

“Curly’s Farm is a 10-acre working farm which provides farming experiences for hundreds of children with special needs and vulnerable adults and is accessible to all. We are home to over 300 animals, including our very large flock of mostly re-homed chickens. Some of these chickens are Old British Traditional Light Sussex hens.

“Our hens are housed at night in a large purpose-built enclosure and are free to roam during the day. They provide a bountiful supply of eggs which we are able to sell in our Curly’s Farm Shop and the egg drop-off for local vulnerable community members.

“Unfortunately, during the Black Soldier Fly larvae trial, every chicken, due to the national outbreak of Avian Influenza (bird flu), had to be kept in their enclosure. The feeding of the BSFL was a real treat for our enclosed hens, becoming used to their new feeding regime and eating their new supplement with gusto. Our chickens are sometimes fed meal worms so they took to eating the BSFL very quickly.

“The BSFL was easy to feed to the chickens even with our large flock and we noticed their feathers looked healthier at the end of the trial. Even though we did not notice an increase in egg production during the trial, our hens were happy feeding and a happy hen will lay healthy eggs,” added Kyle.