A coup for rare chickens who find new home at Merton community farm

Rare chicken breeds found a new home in Merton when the Mayor of Merton, Councillor David Chung, opened a new chicken home at Deen City Farm last week without ruffling any feathers.

After eight months of planning and construction farm workers and volunteers put the finishing touches to two of seven planned poultry enclosures.

Built on a small budget, the new wooden enclosures will help protect four chicken breeds from the Rare Breeds Survival  Trust watch list.

One chicken breed, yet to be decided, will join 24 other varieties, including the impressively named Crested Cream Legbars, Silver Spangled Hamburgs and Buff Orpingtons.

All of the chickens are born and bred southwest Londoners. While some of the chickens were bred onsite, others were hatched from eggs at Vauxhall City Farm.

These are no ordinary birdcages; instead the enclosures boast a range of facilities to keep the birds in top physical and mental condition.

Tom Hogan, the livestock and land manager responsible for the birds, said: “The enclosures will include climbing frames made of branches, sand pits for dust bathing, hanging fruit and veg, and woodchip flooring to encourage foraging and digging.”

Visitors will be able to purchase fresh eggs produced by the chickens from the farm shop or taste them in the café produce.

Although designed mainly for chickens, the new area will also house five turkeys, fifteen ducks, ten canaries, ten finches and one owl.

Deen City Farm gives urban dwellers the chance to get first hand experience of farm animals such as pigs, cows, goats, alpaca and guinea pigs.

It operates as a charity and offers free entry to an estimated 60,000 visitors a year.

The farm received help with funding the project from the Grange Farm Centre Trust and the Charlotte Heber-Percy Charitable Trust

However, it is seeking more sponsorship and volunteers, particularly carpenters and builders, to help complete its poultry plans.

Picture courtesy of Holly Occhipinti, with thanks

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