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The new Aviary

Anyone who’s been visiting us will have noticed over the past two years, there’s been quite a few changes at the farm. Amongst other things, one of the larger and more obvious changes has been knocking down and rebuilding our old chicken area (once upon a time, christened as Chicken Village!). The old chicken area had been around a while and its age was starting to show, so a fresh start was required!

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We’ve been slowly be surely adding to it, when time and money permits. As of the end of 2016 we had 4 fully completed pens, housing our lovely Buff Orpington, Silver Spangle Hamburg and Cream Legbar chickens as well as our Bronze and Royal Palm Turkeys (also known as Pied, or Cröllwitzer Turkeys). The most recent enclosure to be fully completed is our brand new Aviary! This week we’ve moved all of the birds from our main yard aviary across, so they’re all busy settling into their new house.

There are four different types of bird living in our aviary at the moment, two types of quail, canaries and one lone zebra finch male. The quail are easy to tell apart as they’ll be on the ground. At the moment we have one, small Chinese Painted Quail who can often be found hiding underneath the larger Japanese Quail. Out of the flying birds, there’s one zebra finch (who’s easy to tell apart from the canaries – he’s got a very bright red beak, rosy cheeks and lovely zebra striped tail feathers) and everything else is varieties of canary.

As you can see from our aviary alone, canaries can come in quite a wide variety of colour types. There’s your typical yellow canary, all the way through to solid white, patches of different colours and shades, bright orange and some with yellowy-green feathers and markings. The birds we keep in aviaries are not wild, they’re a domesticated form of the wild canary, a type of finch. They were originally bred in captivity in the 17th century, and are still popular to keep today – as well as being quite pretty to look at, the male canaries are amazing singers! You’ll almost certainly be able to hear them trilling away from their perches, hoping to impress some ladies!

 

The old aviary still remains, for the time being, in our main yard. Currently housing two of our handsome cockerels, it will eventually be destined to be pulled down. It was originally built in 2002, so being almost 15 years old, it’s on its last legs anyway!

We have some grand plans to go in it’s place, but they’ll be a while off yet!

Barry and Faith at the Royal Institute!

If you were watching TV over the Christmas period, and in particular, the Royal Institutes Christmas Lecture, you might have even seen some familiar faces! We were fortunate enough to be invited down for a small section of filming for the 2nd of three lectures. It was a bit of an adventure, and a good laugh! Barry and Faith were on the best behaviour for the night (as were Alice & Tom), much the delight of not only the lecture hall, but all the backstage staff!

You can see us on BBC iPlayer here, or have a search online for the Christmas Lectures with Saiful Islam. If you listen carefully, you might realise that Barry is introduced as Bonnie… we forgot to change the name for Saiful, sorry! Barry was her stunt double for the night!

 

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New things at the Farm!

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Our new rare breed poultry enclosures were opened by the Mayor of Merton, Cllr David Chung today!

A massive thank you to the many staff and volunteers who have worked around the clock to get them built, as well as the Grange Farm Centre Trust and the Charlotte Heber-Percy Charitable Trust for helping to fund the project.

More enclosures will be appearing over the summer as we continue to redevelop the area, so why not pay us a visit and see the chickens enjoying their ‘free range’ home!

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More enclosures will be appearing over the summer as we continue to redevelop the area, so why not pay us a visit and see the chickens enjoying their ‘free range’ home!

And, as if that’s not enough, we have also installed a new hand washing point at the Farm.

Funded by Circle Housing Merton Priory, the new sink is located in the picnic area, near the play ground, making it even easier to wash your hands after feeding the animals!

 

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Good Stuff at The Farm!

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We were delighted to welcome Angelica Bell to the Farm recently to film some short videos about city farms for Munch Bunch.

Here’s one of them. See how many of our animals you recognise!
[youtube height=”HEIGHT” width=”WIDTH”]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5cx0zNQJ4zs[/youtube]

We are open from 10am-4pm please book your visit to guarantee entry.