For any visitors to the farm, it’ll likely be our feathered friends who are the first to greet you on the yard! We have a small flock of chickens who live at the farm, most are well behaved enough to be allowed to wander about, though some are a little on the naughty side and have to stay in their pens. See how many of them you can spot whilst you’re visiting!
Did you know that chickens are one of the earliest domesticated animals in the world? As well as one of the most common ones! There are thought to be over 50 billion chickens reared every year; they’re largely kept for their meat and egg production. The number of eggs a hen lays will vary between breed, but hens that specialise in egg-laying can produce 250 eggs a year – around 5 eggs a week!
Chickens, like many birds, show something called “sexual dimorphism”, which is where the males look different from the females. See if you can spot Kingsley, our cockerel, around the farm! Some clues to look out for: he’s bigger than the hens, he has a big impressive looking tail and his red comb and wattle are big and showy. If the looks aren’t enough to help find him, then perhaps you can hear him instead… Here’s Kingsley giving a wake up call!
Cockerels are well known for waking people up, but really they don’t care when we wake up – they’re showing off! When a cockerel crows he’s warning any other nearby males that they had better stay off his patch! They’re not the only loud ones mind you, the hens can be pretty chatty too – you’ll often hear them clucking away to each other; they have very distinct noises too – for example, if they find something exciting, or if they lay an egg, they’ll let the others know about it!
Kingsley as well as some of our hens are a breed of chicken known as Leghorns. They are very distinctly solid bright white, with yellow legs. They’re kept for their egg-laying ability. If you remember with some of the old Looney Tunes animations you might recognise the breed name too – the famous Foghorn Leghorn character was based on this particular breed!
On the opposite end of the spectrum, you might see a very different chicken around the farm, we also have a very unusual breed known as Ayam Cemani chickens. These chickens are completely pitch black; their feathers, legs, beak, comb and wattle on their head, they even have black meat.
Ayam Cemani is a rare breed, originally from Indonesia – they’re not as prolific egg layers as other breeds, but are prized for their stunning appearance. Darth Vadar, our Ayam Cemani cockerel, is certainly very handsome. Darth is often to be found in his pen with his hens to keep him company.
Our chickens are very relaxed and used to people, so there’s nothing to be afraid of with them wandering around the farm. Remember to always be sensible and respectful to animals, and they’ll be happy to spend time around you!
You can book a visit to see Kingsley, Darth and Dorothy and find out plenty more interesting poultry facts. We are open daily and entry is free.