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IMG_1744There is a diminutive new chicken breed on the farm, the Dutch Bantam. Bantams are small chickens and the Dutch bantams is the smallest! The new bantams are the smallest of the chicken breeds here at Mudchute. At full size, a Dutch bantam cockerel weighs only 500-550g. It is one of few “true bantam” breeds, meaning it has no large counterpart. As their name suggests, the breed originate in the Netherlands where they are called Hollandse Kriel. The breed standard for Dutch bantams includes a “upright & jaunty” carriage, which we think our cockerel certainly exhibits as he strolls Pets Corner and watches over his hens. The breed is accepted in a variety of colours. Our group are of the gold partridge variant.

You can find out more about the breed from the Dutch Bantam Club of Great Britain.

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Many thanks to J B Riney & Co Ltd for the donation of several benches. With the help of our wonderful corporate volunteer groups from Barclays and HSBC, these benches are being lovingly restored and installed across the farm. We hope they will provide a welcome place for you to rest your legs and an opportunity to take a pause from the hustle and bustle to soak up the scenery, watch the wildlife and enjoy our patch of East London Countryside. Thank you again to all who helped make this work possible!

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There have been many new arrivals to meet in Pets Corner, including a flock of large, handsome white ducks. These are our new Aylesbury ducks. The Aylesbury duck derives its name from the town of Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire, where the breed was developed as a table duck to supply the London market in the eighteenth century.

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The Aylesbury duck was a leading waterfowl exhibit in the first national poultry show held at the London Zoological Gardens in June 1845. This was the beginning of live poultry exhibitions, and it was the Victorian stress on size that led to the development of the modern Aylesbury duck with its pronounced keel and long pink beak.

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The Aylesbury is a heavy duck with the drakes weighing 4.5-5.4kg (10-12lbs) and the ducks weighing 4.1-5.0kg (9-11lbs). The females are not very good layers only producing 80-100 eggs per year.

Here’s farmer Tom moving them to their daytime quarters in Pets Corner.