Villagers cry fowl after flock of a hundred feral chickens rampage through their gardens and torment their sleep by crowing throughout the night

Locals say their numbers have dramatically increased in recent months They claim those travelling from outside the area are dumping food for them

Villagers are spitting feathers over a flock of around 100 feral chickens who rampage through their gardens and torment their sleep.

Residents of Snettisham in Norfolk say the birds have been making their lives a living 'hell', by digging up gardens, attracting rats and crowing through the night.

Locals say their numbers have dramatically increased in recent months and suspect the irresponsible owners have been dumping more on the edge of the wood.

And they claim that those travelling to see the birds from outside the area are dumping food for them, which is attracting rats.

This has led to rising tensions between residents and those who visit the birds with abuse being hurled at those who feed them.

Villagers have now raised the issue with their parish council, which is threatening to remove the birds that nest next to Common Lane.

Pictured: One of the noisier cockerels living among the flock

Pictured: One of the noisier cockerels living among the flock

Pictured: A group of chickens foraging along Common Lane at Snettisham

Pictured: A group of chickens foraging along Common Lane at Snettisham

Rod Mackenzie, a parish councillor who lives on the road, 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.'

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

He said: 'They're out of control now, there's not just one or two. They've started coming into gardens and you get rats as well.

Pictured: Two of the cockerels living at Snettisham who have been rustling residents feathers

Pictured: Two of the cockerels living at Snettisham who have been rustling residents feathers

'If someone came and moved them, I'd buy them a big beer.

Another frustrated local man, who did not want to be named, added: 'I think they're a total pest. It doesn't help that people come and feed them.

'I wouldn't want to buy one of these houses.'

But 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: 'There's a lady from Heacham that comes and feeds them and she's had abuse.

Locals on Common Lane have complained about the flock destroying their gardens and keeping them awake at night

Locals on Common Lane have complained about the flock destroying their gardens and keeping them awake at night

'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.

The birds have also been accused of attracting rats to the leafy village

The birds have also been accused of attracting rats to the leafy village

'This is causing a rodent problem which is potentially a health hazard.'

Councillors heard there was 'uncertainty as to ownership of that land and ownership of the chickens'.

And they have now agreed to take specialist advice over the birds and consult a chicken rehoming charity to see if it can assist.

The authority has also agreed to put up warning signs asking people not to feed the birds.

The minutes further add: 'Councillors noted the concerns of residents local to the area with people dumping food waste for the chickens.

'This was leaving foul-smelling waste and encouraging rats to the area.'

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