Cumbrians flock to join hen party
5:50pm Tuesday 6th September 2011
SCORES of people in Cumbria are turning to keeping poultry in the biggest revival of the pastime since World War II.
Residents of towns and rural areas alike are joining around 700,000 fellow Britons who are now keeping hens, bantams and other fowl.
It is thought most have turned their hand to the hobby in a bid to save money by having their own regular egg supply.
David Knipe, who runs Heartwood Poul-try, at Levens near Kendal, welcomed the news, revealed in a British Hen Welfare Trust survey, and said it was testament to the fact that poultry make good pets.
“This is wonderful. Poultry are interesting to keep They each have their own character and the great thing is that there are so many different types – 101 varieties of hens in total.
It is a wonderful thing for a family to keep them as it helps children to learn how mother nature works.”
an indication of how many more people are taking up keeping hens is the stunning increase in the number of ent-ries in poultry classes at next week’s West-morland County show.
Chief executive Chris-tine Knipe said: “It has grown phenomenally. we must have about 220 more than last year so that means more than 600 entries in the poultry classes.
“There are also 179 egg entries, and that includes pairs and groups of four. we must have the largest show of eggs in the country.”
mr Knipe added: “This just proves that more people are get-ting into it. It shows that many people are so proud of their hens and bantams that they want to show them off.”
Poultry expert and President of the old English Game Club, Frank Addison of Field Broughton, Cartmel, said: “If people want birds to provide them with eggs they need to be getting hybrids like Warrens and Black Rocks rather than the older more traditional breeds. Hybrids are bred purely and simply for egg production.”
Supermarkets now stock chicken coops and Tesco has reported a 180 per cent increase in sales in three years.
Brian Mott, director of dried pet food supplier Nature’s Grub, said: “It would appear that we are seeiing a return to 50 years ago when it was quite usual to keep half-a-dozen chickens in the back yard.”
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