Rare chicken breed in Te Anau

The Southland Times - - COMMENT&OPINION -

Te Anau breeder Sonya Har­ris got hooked on Cochin chick­ens when she trav­elled to Nel­son nine years ago to buy 14 of them, all dif­fer­ent ages.

Har­ris bor­rowed her mother’s car for the round trip of 1940 kilo­me­tres, be­cause ‘‘her car is a lot cheaper to run than mine’’.

Har­ris said the drive home with 14 caged birds, in­clud­ing a rooster, was not too noisy. ‘‘Usu­ally when you’re trav­el­ling they sit down and go to sleep.’’

Be­fore buy­ing the birds, Har­ris owned two egg-lay­ing hens. She was surf­ing the net when she came across in­for­ma­tion on Cochins, who orig­i­nate in China.

Cochins have been in New Zealand for about 25 years.

Har­ris, one of about five Cochin breed­ers in the coun­try, runs her poul­try on a life­style block owned by her par­ents.

Last month, one of her Cochins be­came a New Zealand cham­pion at the na­tional show in Christchurch.

It is the best award Har­ris has won in her three years of show­ing poul­try.

‘‘The next goal is to have the Best Bird in the Show.’’

With shows in mind, Har­ris puts a lot of thought into breed­ing pro­grammes.

‘‘You have to put the right girl with the right boy to get the right off­spring.’’

She took a mix­ture of 12 Cochins and Or­p­ing­tons to the In­ver­cargill Poul­try and Pi­geon Club’s an­nual show at the week­end.

‘‘They’ve all got their own per­son­alty,’’ Har­ris said of the birds.

‘‘They’re good pets, big and fluffy, re­ally docile and they give you break­fast [eggs] ... The roost­ers are pretty tasty.’’

She also owns 50 Or­p­ing­tons and 30 Pekins.

Some of Har­ris’s favourites will re­main in her care un­til they die of old age, in­clud­ing a 12-year-old exshow bird.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.