A quacking good time thanks to TV chicks

A NEW craze in pets has hatched across Somerset thanks to the hit TV show Friends and one family in Cross has been cashing in on the fad. Jan and Steve Brinson along with their 16-year-old son Richard and 19-year-old daughter Natasha moved out of their lo

A NEW craze in pets has hatched across Somerset thanks to the hit TV show Friends and one family in Cross has been cashing in on the fad.Jan and Steve Brinson along with their 16-year-old son Richard and 19-year-old daughter Natasha moved out of their lovely home in Winscombe to set up a free-range farm in Cross.Jan believes people have been following in the footsteps of Chandler and Joey from Channel 4s popular show, who shared their home with a pet chick and duck. The Brinsons now live in a caravan off the A38, just two minutes from their farm, so they can keep an eye on their livestock and protect the birds from foxes.More than 1,500 chickens, 100 ducks and scores of turkeys roam the 13 acres of land and Jan goes round every week collecting up the eggs to sell to businesses in the area.But she says, rather than sell the animals for food, most of them are bought as pets.Jan said: "It's hard work, but I love it. You can't beat it. A lot of people buy the birds as pets, it's the new thing and is becoming increasingly popular."The couple also breed cows and sheep which they sell for meat. Jan and Steve have not been selling eggs for long, but have found many pubs and restaurants are keen to buy from nearby producers, including the Battleborough Grange in Brent Knoll and The Swan Inn in Rowberrow.Jan, aged 46, said: "It's hard because we've got to go to each shed and pick the eggs up and the feeding isn't done automatically like it is with barn hens. We spend a morning a week feeding all the birds."You need more land to have free-range animals. It is less economical, but the eggs taste so much better."The couple's son, Richard, helps out on the farm and is due to start an agricultural course at Cannington College in September.He has a pet turkey called Turk, and Jan also has a few pet ducks. Anyone interested in picking up a new pet can pop along to Jan's farm off the A38 in Cross. For more details call 01934 732294.


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