Bumblebee sized Chicks at Tatton’s Home Farm!
The tiny chick on the left is a baby Chinese Painted Quail, the latest of ten quail chicks hatched at Tatton’s Home Farm this summer.
Smaller than a fifty pence piece and hatched from an egg the size of a ‘chocolate mini egg’, she is dwarfed by a Buff Orpington chick – though they were born within hours of each other!
So great is the contrast between them that the Quail thinks the larger chick is her mother! Alex Logan, the Farm staff member who initiated the introduction of the hatchery to the farm and is charged with responsibility for poultry, commented “The quail chick keeps nestling underneath the Buff Orpington for warmth and security. The larger chick seems quite happy to take on her Mother Hen role so far – quite a task for her very first day!”.
The Chinese Painted Quail brood began with the donation of a male and a female at the beginning of the summer. Surprisingly, the female started laying when she was only six weeks old (hens usually lay after they are a year old). Alex commented “within two weeks the first eggs hatched, producing these tiny balls of fluff; they looked just like bumblebees!”
Ten quail chicks have now hatched successfully and are harmoniously housed with other chicks and Indian Runner ducklings in a specially designed ‘brooder’. When the quails reach about 5 weeks old they will be fully grown at approximately 4 inches high and will have turned a lovely lavender colour.
The hatchery was introduced last year and is now one of the most popular attractions on the Farm. Since then, approximately 200 chicks and 50 ducklings have been safely hatched and brought into the Home Farm family. Although not all have been able to remain on the Farm, the poultry section now represents a diverse mixture of over a dozen British and international rare breeds. Poultry is Alex’s passion “It is fantastic to be able to show these special breeds to the public and share our enthusiasm for the whole process from egg to chick to their later development. The quail chicks are so tiny and unusual that they are fast achieving celebrity status amongst our visitors!”
The poultry experience is a highlight of the Farm’s ‘Boredom Busters’ activities taking place throughout the summer. The public can view the ‘hatchery’ and see the chicks and ducklings enjoying themselves during special educational sessions, three times a day.
The next main event at the Farm is Adopt a Farm Animal Day on Monday 31st August. Come and meet our three special ladies available for adoption: Tallulah the Tamworth Pig, Blossom the Clydesdale horse and Rosie the Red Poll cow. Visitors can learn about our essential conservation and education work to help promote and preserve these rare breeds.
Home Farm is open High Season (until 14 October): Tuesday to Sunday from 12pm-5pm (last entry 4pm). Prices: Adults £4.50, Child £2.50 (2-15 years of age), Family £11.50 (2 adults and up to 3 children). National Trust members pay 50% entry to the Farm. Park entry charge £4.50 per car.
There are special free activities for children throughout the summer including grooming a donkey, meet the pigs and chicks!