Belgian backers bring their best

NEW BREED: Peyton and Cooper Anderson and Declan Boyde with their Belgian chickens. Picture: ADAM HOLMES

NEW BREED: Peyton and Cooper Anderson and Declan Boyde with their Belgian chickens. Picture: ADAM HOLMES

AS many in the poultry game can attest, few are more passionate about their birds than breeders of Belgian Bantams.

The passion for the unique variety of chicken was on display in Bendigo on Sunday with 200 entries at the Victorian Show of the Belgian Bantam Club.

The popularity of the varieties of Belgian chickens has been on a rapid rise in recent years.

Secretary, treasurer and newsletter editor of the Belgian Bantam Club of Australia Irene Hammond said the demand for unique and useful pets had caused a boom in Belgian Bantam numbers.

"It's because they're brilliant for backyards," she said.

"You can basically keep a couple hens in a cage not much larger than a guinea pig's cage.

"Most of them are really good egg layers and they tame down quite well. The eggs are small, but you just need to account for that by adding two eggs instead of one to a recipe.

"They lay quite prolifically."

Ms Hammond said the birds were at their most popular since she started breeding them in 1983.

The increasing move towards self-sufficient households has also seen an increase in the popularity of chickens, particularly the Belgian Bantam.

The Belgian breeds arrived in Australia in the early 1980s due to their popularity in the UK and Europe.

The most popular of the varieties is the feather-footed d'Uccle.

Sunday was the 15th anniversary of the show in Victoria.

David Boyde, of Glenroy, entered a number of chickens into the show on Sunday with his grandchildren.

He said they made perfect pets for children.

"They go out and feed and water them every day and make sure they get locked up at night," Mr Boyde said.

"The d'Uccle's are really nice birds."

The club also reported a number of sales throughout the afternoon.

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