Australia‚Äôs most trusted animal welfare organisation is venturing into new technological territory to teach children about farm animal welfare, through the launch of its first online game, Cheeky Chooks.
Created in partnership with Trilum Studios, Cheeky Chooks is a free, educational, online game about farming layer hens, created for 8-13 year olds, and with easy links to the Australian curriculum.
Players create their own ‚Äòhenpire‚Äô of chooks, who feature lots of different, cheeky personalities. Their goal is to raise happy, healthy hens by providing everything hens need for a good life.
RSPCA Australia Humane Food Manager Hope Bertram said the game was developed to promote empathy for layer hens and raise awareness of the plight of millions of layer hens still living in battery cages in Australia.
‚ÄúUnfortunately, even as more Australians buy cage-free eggs in the supermarket, around 10 million hens are still confined to barren battery cages across the country,‚Äù Ms Bertram said.
‚ÄúMany Australians may have never interacted with a hen before, and they might not know just how curious, intelligent and social these animals are. Layer hens need to have the right environment to allow for their natural behaviours ‚Äì like perching, dust-bathing, foraging and socialising ‚Äì in order to have good welfare and a good life.
‚ÄúWhen hens are crammed into barren cages, with less than an A4 sheet of paper‚Äôs worth of space each, they suffer immensely. Cheeky Chooks is a fun way for young people to learn about layer hen welfare, and to enhance their understanding of where their food comes from.
‚ÄúWe hope that when playing Cheeky Chooks, users learn about the unique nature of hens, and how they and their families can make higher welfare choices when shopping and eating out to drive demand for cage-free eggs. While the game was designed for a younger audience, we know plenty of adults are enjoying time on Cheeky Chooks,‚Äù said Ms Bertram.
Cheeky Chooks has already created buzz online, with over 120k downloads to date, and glowing reviews from international vloggers. The RSPCA has developed resources for teachers to use when planning lessons incorporating the game. You can find out more on the RSPCA website, or download the game via the App Store, Google Play, or Steam.