Bethan Evans, Reporter
Monday, April 30, 2012
CHILDREN who visit a farmland learning centre have been left devastated after two thirds of its poultry was stolen.
Owner of Somerset Equine Assisted Learning, Melina Cullum, said she discovered 18 bantams, fancy poultry, and an Indian runner duck was missing from her centre in Mark last week.
She said: “All of our poultry is free range and when I went to put all of the birds back in their hutches at 8pm, I noticed most were missing.
“I searched that night and the following day but they had obviously been taken.
“We have lost two thirds of our poultry, which will total £360 to replace them all.”
The centre, which opened in February, provides horse riding lessons for able-bodied and disabled riders and animal assisted learning. It also raises money for the National Autistic Society.
Melina said: “It’s so disheartening that this has happened so soon (after opening).
“The children are devastated they are gone. The poultry were different colours, with feathered feet and laid different colour and sized eggs, which the children used to collect.
“Now they are gone it’s limited the excitement and interest for the children who visit the centre.
“My son is autistic and also visits the centre and children with autism do not deal with change very well.
“And it’s not just the children who feel anxious, we feel anxious about leaving our poultry out.”
“We have lost two thirds of our egg supply. We would not make a huge amount selling eggs but children would often come with their parents and grandparents to buy them and when you’re living on a shoestring it’s an important amount.”
Melina still hopes those responsible for the theft will give the poultry back.
She said: “We hope that whoever has done this will return them. If not the poultry will definitely be replaced. We have already got a couple of chickens, a cockerel and a duck being donated.
“We just do not want them taken as well.”