YOU’VE heard of mini eggs – now meet the mini chickens!
These tiny birds are causing quite a flap among the youngsters who visit the Haswell Avenue Allotment Association, in Hartlepool.
They belong to St Joseph’s Primary School pupil Robyn Walker, who is eight.
The tiny chickens, which originate from China and grow to be just 10 inches high, have brought a ray of sunshine to the allotments.
It comes after the Mail reported in February last year that cruel arsonists had a wrecking spree, setting six sheds and a greenhouse alight at the site.
This was just minutes before three sheds and a caravan were destroyed by firebugs at the nearby Brierton Lane allotments.
Robyn’s dad Chris Walker is secretary of Haswell Avenue Allotment Association and to bring some light relief, he invested in the micro-sized chickens, who are from the Silkie breed, for his daughter.
Chris said: “After the arson attack my daughter decided I had to buy some chickens, which are the first-ever ones on the site.
“We acquired two hens and a cockerel from a farmer friend and after three months of settling in we had our first egg, which is the size of a ping pong ball!
“The school children who visit on a Tuesday to tend their designated plot are always keen to have a look in the nesting boxes and feed them insects.”
Chris, who lives with Robyn’s mum Jane Donley, 46, a medical administration assistant, said the chickens are free range and are let out in the allotment in the early morning and late evening to roam.
He added that they do very little damage to crops because of their size and they have five toes unlike other chickens, which have four.
Chris, a 45-year-old Hartlepool Borough Council senior legal worker from the Foggy Furze area, added: “One day after a few weeks of laying, my daughter went to collect the eggs and was confronted by the cockerel sat in the nesting box.
“After shuffling him away we found a very small egg, at first we thought it was someone pulling our leg but it was in fact, certainly the smallest egg I have ever seen, a real chicken egg.
“It weighed in at a massive 6g, according to Google the record is 4g.
“The cockerel seemed ever so sad when we took the egg away.
“He is a very attentive cockerel to the hens and always brings them worms when he finds them – he is well hen-pecked!
“Since that egg we have hatched two eggs, a hen and a cockerel who are extremely tame and so much fun for everyone who comes to look at them.”
Chris, who is dad to Craig, stepdad to Kyle and Beth and grandfather to 11-month-old Sienna, said you need three or four eggs to make a decent fried sandwich, and his family have been using them for cooking as they have lovely orange yolks.
He added that St Cuthbert’s Primary School pupils who visit have taken much delight in the new additions at the site.