Meet the Farmyard Animals

Chicken (Gallus gallus domesticus)

Diet: Chicken pellets, vegetables and small bugs such as worms.
Home: Domestic chickens live all over the world!

The chicken is one of the most common and wide spread domestic animals, with a population of more than 24 billion. They were domesticated around 8,000 years ago. There are more chickens in the world than any other bird, with more than 150 different varieties of domestic chickens.

The rooster is a male chicken and crows all day round. Chickens’ life expectancy is between five and eleven years, with the world’s oldest chicken living until 16 years of age.  They have four to five toes on each foot and have a heart beat of up to 315 beats per minute.  The largest chicken egg ever laid weighed 450g and an egg was once found that contained nine yolks. 

Kunekune Pig (Sus scrofa domestica)

Diet: The pig is an omnivore, which means it eats plant material and meat.
Home: New Zealand.

Kunekune are intelligent and have a placid nature. They are believed to have descended from an Asian domestic breed introduced to New Zealand in the early 1800s by whalers or traders. Kunekune were kept by the native Maori people - kunekune means ‘chubby’ in the Maori language. In the late 1970s the population of purebred kunekune was believed to be around 50. With the effort of dedicated people they were saved from extinction and now number in the thousands around the world.

They are hairy and mostly have two tassels hanging from their lower jaw. They also have four toes and use the middle big toes for walking. Pigs can be trained and are great truffle finders. 

Alpaca (Lama "pacos")

Diet: Grass, hay, and alpaca pellets. 
South America.

Cinnamon, Ricotta and Liquorice have all been born in New Plymouth, on an alpaca farm. 

Alpaca were first domesticated by the Inca people of South America, about 5,000 years ago. They have been kept by the people of Peru, Bolivia and Chile ever since. They are well adapted to the thin air and low oxygen of the mountains in this region.

Alpaca, and their cousins the llama, belong to the same family of animals as camels (the cameloids).

Modern alpacas are kept for their fleece, which is even finer and softer than merino sheep wool. It is spun and knitted in the same way as sheep wool. Baby alpaca are called cria. 

Helmeted Guineafowl (Numida meleagris)

Diet: Crawling insects, seeds, rodents, fruit and vegetation.
Home: Africa

The guineafowl population is unknown worldwide as their numbers are too high. In the wild they inhabit grasslands, forest and bush areas. They prefer to run rather than fly and roost in trees. 

They are a social animal with a life span of up to 15 years, and are monogamous. They are often used and raised on farms to control parasites on farm stock. 

Our guineafowl are pearl grey and lavender in colour. They can lay up to 20 eggs at a time and the young are called keets. They are also both momomorphic and monochromatic – both sexes look and act alike, although a male’s wattle is much larger a female’s.