Polish poultry loves to meet new friends

Pets page'Polish Bantams at Staintondale Shire Horse Farm.'Picture by Neil Silk  123128a'01/08/12
Pets page'Polish Bantams at Staintondale Shire Horse Farm.'Picture by Neil Silk 123128a'01/08/12
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You’ll see them before they see you, but beneath the elaborate crests, these unusual breed of poultry just crave love and attention.

The Polish Bantams are sure to get it at their new home in Staintondale where visitors to Shire Horse Farm can get a closer look at four five-month-old pullets and a cockerel,instantly recognisable by their colourful plumage and feathered heads.

Pets page'Polish Bantams at Staintondale Shire Horse Farm.'Picture by Neil Silk  123128a'01/08/12

Pets page'Polish Bantams at Staintondale Shire Horse Farm.'Picture by Neil Silk 123128a'01/08/12

Tony Jenkins, owner of the local attraction, said: “People find them quite fascinating, they’ve got a sort of pom-pom heads of feathers.

“They love people, that’s the nice part about them. They’re fussy things and very sociable; children can put their finger out towards them and it will come up to the wire, it’s almost like they want to be picked up.”

The aviary originally housed cockatiels, which got a bit too noisy and also contributed to an unofficial soundtrack in a BBC broadcast from the farm, before the family cats were then rehoused over the summer months. For young minds, a special sign was put up stating “The cat did not eat the canary”.

After being empty for around two years, these new residents were sourced from East Yorkshire in June.

Shire Horse breeder Tony has added to his skills to give the chickens a haircut, or rather a ‘feather’ cut, and he could soon become an expert if plans to breed a colourful cast are successful.

He added: “The feathers have got to be trimmed so they can see where they’re going, it was a delicate operation trying to get the scissors and trim it around the eyes.

“When they’re bred you can get different coloured hens and a total variation. The plumage is interesting and attractive.”

The chickens share the land with six shetland ponies, four shire horses and a palamino at Shire Horse Farm which is now open for the summer with Tony and wife Ann still at the reins after 25 years.

“It’s been lovely doing it all these years. We’re now getting children back here as adults and it’s so, so amazing every day,” added Tony.

It’s a family-run attraction with son and daughter Glenn and Shirley lending a hand to look after the animals and to maintain the static displays and woodland areas.