Feathers flying as people try to catch feral chickens that have taken over Norfolk estate
- Credit: Nick Butcher
People fed up with feral chickens have today launched 'Operation Chicken' in an attempting to catch some of the 200 plus birds which have taken over the streets around their Norfolk homes.
Armed with nets, cages and boxes to put the chickens and roosters in, a group of amateur chicken rustlers have come together on the Ensign Way estate in Diss to remove the nearly 200 chickens that have made the area their home.
The Ensign Way Chicken Removal and Re-homing Group is looking to clear the chickens by rounding them up and finding farmers and households who will be able to take care of them.
The early morning operation made for an unusual and sometimes farcical spectacle as the elusive birds repeatedly avoided capture.
Amongst those wielding a net and trying to catch the unruly birds was Diss district councillor Graham Minshull. 'Trying to round them all up is the trick,' he said. 'It's a bit of a chicken wrangle and quite a way to spend a Sunday morning.
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'It all started with a cockerel and half a dozens hens and has quickly got out of hand. Hearing roosters at 4am isn't the best thing on a housing estate.
'We have been working with local people to try to get the birds to somewhere safe. Last week they managed to get one of the main cockerels. This week we did some work to help clear the undergrowth and we have got 30 or 40 already today.'
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Members of the group included both locals and people from as far afield as Kent and Yorkshire who had travelled to Norfolk to help and to offer birds a safe home.
Sporting a chicken tattoo on her arm, poultry fan Patsy-Jane Homer, from Doncaster, said: 'I saw it on Facebook and wanted to get involved. I have been in contact and offered to re-home some. I have a back yard that I keep chickens and roosters.'
It is estimated that around 10 chicks are being born every week around the estate. South Norfolk Council has no legal power to remove the chickens because they are classed as wild animals and are not owned by anyone.
And the RSPCA said, while they were aware of the flock, they would not cull the chickens, as they appear to be living happy and healthy lives.
Ann Shaw, from Winfarthing, who helped set up the group, said: 'When I heard about them I said we should do something to help find them a better home. We were here last week but it was impossible because it was so overgrown. The council have been a cut it back so we have probably got two or three times as many as last week already.
'The first couple of runs went well. It's not the easiest thing to catch them but we have to work together.'