STUDENTS at Northmead Creative and Performing Arts High School are gaining a real understanding of where fast food chicken comes from.
The school's agriculture students will raise a brood of 13 chicks for the annual Meat Bird Pairs School's Competition.
Sponsor Steggles provides the baby broiler chickens to schools six weeks before the Sydney Royal Easter Show where their efforts are judged based on the health and weight of the birds.
Agriculture teacher Catherine Atkins said the chicks were delivered to the school on February 6.
The birds, genetically modified to gain weight quickly, are fed mashed up pellets or "growers mash", and kept in a temperature-controlled environment and are regularly weighed. "They're growing twice as fast as a normal chicken," Miss Atkins said.
"They started at about 50 grams and at week three we've got some that are 325 grams.
'We want them to reach about a kilo.
"'Normally we don't show the broiler chickens, we only talk about them, so it's good for the students to see."
Year 9 students Annabelle Palmer and Miriam Alimardani, both 14, have two 78-minute agriculture lessons each week.
"Their growth is so rapid that their legs don't support their weight," Annabelle said. "They'll spend a lot of time laying down, sitting down and conserving their energy."
Meat bird pairs judging is on March 21 .