Ultra Rare 'Viking' Chicks Hatch Out in Time for Starring Role
Published : 13 May, 2019
An epic live theatre production celebrating 2,000 years of English history welcomed their newest cast members in the shape of a dozen extremely rare ‘Viking’ chicks.
Considered an Old World treasure, the chickens were originally bred by Vikings and can trace their origins back to the 9th century. They were even nicknamed ‘hens of the settlers’.
The Viking, or Icelandic, chicken is significantly different genetically than all other chicken breeds worldwide. Research has shown the birds’ DNA is 78% unique to the species.
Icelandic chickens very nearly became extinct in the 1950s with the advent of modern commercial chickens. All the birds alive today, estimated to be around 5,000 worldwide, are descended from a small group saved in the 1970s.
The theme for the summer shows, which takes place on a 7.5-acre outdoor stage in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, is the Year of the Viking.
Kynren’s birds were brought over as eggs from a specialist breeder in Germany and hatched out in incubators. Once they’re old enough the will become permenant residents of Kynren’s new walkthrough Viking Village.
The first chicks to hatch out were welcomed by Viking Kevin Watts from Bishop Auckland in full costume who plays one of the marauding Norsemen in the new show.
They are part of a menagerie of animals featured in the show including 33 performance horses, donkeys, sheep, geese, goats and cows.