AN outdoor spectacle has welcomed its newest cast members following the addition of ‘Viking’ chicks.

The baby Icelandic Chickens – which were originally bred by Vikings – will take part in Kynren, an outdoor show celebrating 2,000 years of English history.

The production's seven and a half acre stage in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, will now become a permanent home for the chicks, which trace their origins back to the ninth century.

Research has shown the 'Viking' chickens are significantly different genetically than all other breeds worldwide and the birds' DNA is 78 percent unique to the species.

They nearly became extinct in the 1950s following the arrival of commercial chickens.

All the Icelandic birds alive today, estimated to be around 5,000 worldwide, are descended from a small group saved in the 1970s.

The chicks arrived in time for Kynren's summer shows which are Viking themed.

The birds were brought over as eggs from a specialist breeder in Germany and hatched out in incubators.

Once they mature they will become permanent 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 horses, donkeys, sheep, geese, goats and cows.

Kynren shows will take place every Saturday from June 29, to September 14.

All tickets are sold on a first come first served basis.

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