United Kingdom: inmates at Armley prison are looking after chickens and a mushroom farm

Inmates at HMP Leeds are also being taught how to cook Asian food as part of an activity programme.

It gives new meaning to “doing bird” inmates at Armley prisonare looking after chickens as part of a new prison activity scheme. Eggs produced at HMP Leeds’s “Chicken Wing” are used in the kitchen or sold to staff.

Under the supervision of staff, prisoners help tend to around 50 free-range chickens.

The birds are located in an outdoor area within the prison’s grounds, with sheds used to house them at night.

The initiative was revealed in the annual report of the prison’s Independent Monitoring Board (IMB).

It said that “2018 saw the introduction of chickens into the prison (the ‘Chicken Wing’) and the eggs that are produced are sold to staff and also used in the kitchen”.

The IMB’s chairman Barrie Meakin said the idea was for prisoners to learn about animal husbandry.“It’s a matter of looking after the chickens and keeping the place clean,” he said.“It’s just another added activity, another added interest.”

In another “purposeful activity” scheme, the prison has introduced a small mushroom farm, with the produce sold to a commercial user, the report said.

It added: “Both the Chicken Wing and mushroom farm are popular with prisoners, who state that they feel that these activities give them a sense of achievement.”

A Prison Service spokeswoman said: “The chickens at HMP Leeds are part of wider efforts to help prisoners learn new skills and gain employment when they leave custody.”

Another popular programme is the “fusion kitchen”, where prisoners are taught how to cook Asian food.

The IMB report, which covers January to December 2018, said: “It is hoped that in 2019 an Asian restaurant will open in the prison for staff use.”

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