Hetty's berry good balancing act

It's strawberry time at a fruit farm in Staffordshire- but get there quick before talented pooch Hetty does.

Hetty's managed to perfect balancing a strawberry on her nose - possibly aided by how big they are at Gailey Fruit Farm this summer.
Hetty's managed to perfect balancing a strawberry on her nose - possibly aided by how big they are at Gailey Fruit Farm this summer.

The four-year-old yellow Labrador has perfected the skill of balancing things on the end of her nose, before flicking them up in the air and into her mouth.

And the heavy rain over the past few weeks has left her with strawberries 'the size of golf balls' to hone her skills with at Gailey Fruit Farm.

Hetty showed off her unusual talent as farm bosses launched their pick-your-own strawberries season yesterday.

Hetty, who is the family pet of farm owners Helen and Ian Fortescue, first learned her skills as a five-month-old puppy.

She was taught the trick using treats but can now even balance a banana on the end of her nose.

Mrs Fortescue, who has been running the farm for 12 years, said: "We get Hetty to sit and then balance the strawberry on her nose.

"She stays there until we say good girl and she throws it in the air, catches it in her mouth and eats it.

"I first saw it on Gardeners' Word because Monty Don has got a beautiful Retriever and he can do it."

And this year's crop of strawberries are proving particularly popular with Hetty.

Mrs Fortescue said: "The variety we are starting with this year is called Christine and they are a type of strawberry that loves a lot of rain.

"So, after the mild winter and plenty of rain, they are literally the size of golf balls.

"We weighed one of the strawberries and it was 70g- they're usually about 40g each."

Gailey Fruit Farm, just off the junction of the A5 and A449 at Gailey Island, is open on Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10am to 5.30pm and on Sundays from 10am to 4.30pm.