No farm is complete without its duckpond, and the inevitable noisy guard-dog geese! Ours is no exception. Traditionally Aylesbury ducks were bred for their amazing egg laying abilities, and for the table, along with the Christmas goose, but nowadays most people keep these lively and friendly characters just for fun - which is why we have them too!
Various other ducks we have at the Centre have been brought into us for safe keeping, and rehoming. Here you will meet our muscovies, cayugas, farmyard geese (noisy but harmless), Australian black swan and bar-headed goose.
Since keeping 'banties' free range we have learnt a great deal about them - they are poor egg layers, usually laying anywhere so that they can't be found, never in their nest boxes, they can never be eaten as they are tough and carry very little meat, and the eggs are difficult to incubate - no wonder many are now 'rare breeds'! However when we do find fresh eggs, although they are small, they are delicious, with dark yellow yolks.
However, they are great companions around the yard, and are consistently good at staying around in a large group, very often with more than one male in the group. Keeping bantam chickens has become popular with those who desire to have a small, friendly, low-maintenance backyard pet. These tiny chickens laying tiny eggs, grace farms worldwide and are also well-loved as show chickens.
Some true bantam breeds date back 4,000 years. The popular Silkie bantam originated in Tibet in the 13th century and soon became common throughout China. The Silkie has soft, hair-like feathering. The Seabright comes in silver or gold. The Belgian D'Anver and Belgian D'Uccles, come in several varieties and colors. The Serama is the smallest bantam and is a treasured house pet in Malaysia. The little Dutch bantam, originally found on Bantam Island in the Dutch East Indies, was first introduced to Holland in the 17th century by Dutch seamen. They are most popular in the Netherlands and in England. Some bantam chickens are bred-down versions of large breeds, and they are not considered true bantams, although most large chicken breeds now come in a bantam version.
Inspite of their poor egg laying abilities our farmyards without our banties become a lifeless zone - from time to time we have some available for new homes, so come and visit, and if you like, place an order!