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The Young Rangers' Club
A Club for Children interested in Wildlife & Conservation

Chicken out in the Rain!
7th July 04

Bantam Peking

This Young Rangers' Club meeting was on an evening with appalling weather. As a result, some of the club members sadly missed out on meeting some of Ranger Alan's birds, which he had brought in to show the Young Rangers.

This was a good opportunity to have a look at some of the rarer breeds of poultry and to marvel at the enormous numbers of different varieties produced from the original wild Jungle Fowl, as a result of breeding and artificial selection.

Thank you letters to Polly. Before the introductions were made, the Young Rangers wrote letters and made pictures for Polly to thank her for the pond party.
Barbary Dove The first  bird on show was a Barbary Dove. This bird is very quiet and all the children were able to handle it.

Barbary Doves are very similar to the wild Collared Dove which can often be found in gardens at bird tables.

Barbary Doves are not a native species, but arrived in Britain in the 1950s and have now become widespread.

'Junior' - a Bantam Partridge Peking. The next bird was a young cockerel called Junior.

Junior is a Bantam Partridge Peking. A 'Bantam' is a type of small domestic fowl. 'Partridge' refers to the colour of the bird, while 'Peking' is included in the name because the breed originates from the vicinity of Peking, China.

Pekings are all Bantams, but come in a variety of different colours.

Silkie Hen and chick. Next on show were two White Silkie hens together with a 3 week old chick.

This breed also comes from China and has a number of different colour variations. Silkies are very different from other poultry. They have blue /grey skin and get their name from their silky soft feathers.

Silkies don`t lay a lot of eggs and are generally kept more for their mothering abillity than for their eggs.

The next hen was a Bantam Rhode Island Red (R.I.R.) with her day old chicks. The R.I.R.s come from Rhode Island, in America. There is a large as well as a bantam version of this breed and they are usually kept for their egg laying ability.
Young Ranger with one of the chicks. Lastly, the Young Rangers looked at a variety of different types of chick which were about 9 weeks old.
White-topped Black Polish The most interesting variety of chick was a White-topped Black Polish.

These make great pets for the garden. They come in a variety of colours and are unmistakable with their large feather bonnets .

The breed is believed to have its origins in Russia rather than Poland, as their name might suggest. They actually get their name from the lump or pole on the top of their skull which they have when they hatch. This makes it easy to tell a Polish chick from any other.

(Left: an adult White-topped Black Polish)


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