The Trouble With (Some) Chickens


Back in early April, I chatted about our new chickens on Facebook.

We took them in from a friend, after she told us that one of them had been bullying her other hens.

So we took on the naughty one and her friend, who for some reason she didn’t pick on at all. Hen pecking really can be savage.

The pair have been in turns massively entertaining and extremely frustrating ⁠— chasing us around the garden (fun), and occasionally escaping over their fence into the neighbour’s garden (less fun).

They’ve started wandering into the house, too. And showing a keen taste for chicken-flavoured cat food, for some reason.

When we’ve let them out and about for a wider wander, you can never quite relax. They can move around surprisingly quickly!

With a flap of the wings and a shuffle of the legs, they’re across the garden in seconds . . . usually chasing off a pheasant or a pigeon for the fun of it.

We’re grateful for the odd moment when they relax and sit still.

They love to sunbathe, one wing at a time. Particularly on the decking, where the wood is presumably nice and warm underneath.


Photograph by Alex Corlett.

Here’s one of them, soaking up the rays underneath the “chicken stick” (our apple picker, which we use to chase them out of places they’re not meant to be).

The other day, one of them ⁠— Star, as seen above ⁠— came right into the living room. Our cat was fast asleep and never saw her coming until she was right next to him.

Well, poor Murphy got the fright of his life, and legged it as soon he woke up.

A right character

Star is a right character. I put a fence around them, and within an hour she had figured out how to climb on to her hen house and use it as a boost to get over the new barrier.

There I was having lunch, all smug from my new construction, when she suddenly appeared at the window, pecking on the glass for food.

She reminds me a lot of this escapee badger the BBC made a video about. Ingenious.

We’re due to get four more battery chickens from the British Hen Welfare Trust, but the rehomings had been cancelled due to the pandemic.

Things seem to be opening up again with them now, and we’re looking forward to welcoming the new arrivals.

I’m sure they’ll keep us on our toes!

For more from Alex, read his Features Ed blog by clicking here.

Alex Corlett

Alex is the "Friend's" Features Editor, working with the talented Features Team to bring you everything from cryptic crosswords to financial advice, knitting patterns to international travel and inspirational real life stories. Always on the hunt for a new feature idea, Alex also enjoys cycling and loves a good tea room.