‘They’re out of control’: flock of 100 feral chickens torments village

‘they’re out of control’: flock of 100 feral chickens torments village

Not all the villagers are angry about the chickens, with some finding their presence charming. Photograph: ACM1988/Getty Images/iStockphoto

The clucking nuisance of about 100 feral chickens has left residents of a Norfolk village spitting feathers, with locals claiming the birds destroy their gardens and keep them awake.

Dwellers in Snettisham, Norfolk, have said their life is being made “hell” as the chickens swarm in from a nearby wood. It is unclear who owns the land the chickens live on, but villagers believe numbers have soared recently.

They also complained of an influx of people travelling to see the birds and leaving food for them, which is attracting rats. This has created a febrile atmosphere, with reports of rising tensions between residents and visitors.

Villagers have raised the problem with their parish council, which is threatening to remove the chickens altogether.

Rod Mackenzie, a parish councillor, said: “They’re a pain in the butt. If they come into your garden they dig everything up. It’s not just food for the chickens, it’s every bit of detritus they can find and that brings rats.

“What was it someone left the other week? A quart of pink prawns. The rats are quite sizeable around here and they breed like hell.”

Ben King, 48, who lives on the lane where the birds nest, said he had to wear earplugs to sleep at night because of their constant crowing.

“They’re out of control now, there’s not just one or two … if someone came and moved them, I’d buy them a big beer.”

However, others are sticking up for the flock, saying the animals add to the village’s rural charm.

Graeme McQuade, 43, who has lived on the lane for 18 months after moving from Cambridge, said: “I have no issues with the chickens whatsoever. Before we moved here, we didn’t know chickens get up at 4am, but it gives character to the place.”

A dog walker, who did not wish to be named, added: “People in the new houses are moaning about them, but they’ve been here such a long time and there’s more important things going on in the world than a few chickens. They should get a life.

“Two of them have been in my garden since they were babies and they don’t bother me.”

The issues with the unruly flock were raised at the latest Snettisham parish council meeting. The minutes read: “It was noted that members of the public throw all sorts of food down for the chickens. This is causing a rodent problem which is potentially a health hazard.”

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