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People to be fined for feeding feral chickens on housing estate

PUBLISHED: 13:43 29 January 2020 | UPDATED: 17:19 29 January 2020

People feeding feral chickens on a housing estate in Diss could be issued with fixed penalty fines. Picture: Denise Bradley

People feeding feral chickens on a housing estate in Diss could be issued with fixed penalty fines. Picture: Denise Bradley

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Animal lovers have been warned they face being fined if they continue to feed a flock of feral chickens that live on a housing estate.

Resident Carol Morris feeding some of the chickens that live wild on a housing estate in Diss. Picture: Marc BettsResident Carol Morris feeding some of the chickens that live wild on a housing estate in Diss. Picture: Marc Betts

Notices put up on the estate in Diss warning people they could be issued with fine for littering, state: "The feral chicken population has reached an unsustainable level in the town and we are asking residents not to provide them with food."

Up to 200 chickens and roosters have been living in the wild around Ensign Way, Viscount Close and Victory Court, and in a patch of land between Nelson Road and the town's train station.

In 2018 amateur chicken rustlers, some from as far afield as Kent and Yorkshire, descended on the estate armed with nets and cages in a bid to catch the birds and re-home them.

Up to 200 chickens have been living wild around homes on Ensign Way and Victory Court in Diss, though numbers are now around 30-40.
 Picture: Nick ButcherUp to 200 chickens have been living wild around homes on Ensign Way and Victory Court in Diss, though numbers are now around 30-40. Picture: Nick Butcher

There are now estimated to be about 30-40 birds but the presence of the noisy cockerels has become a source of dispute between neighbours with the police called on at least one occasion.

One resident, who asked not to be named; said: "They are crowing from morning until night. I know it is difficult to get rid of them completely, but it's ridiculous that people are still feeding them."

The warning notices from South Norfolk Council state that providing food to the chickens could result in a fixed penalty fine.

One of the notices warning of fines for feeding chickens put up on the Diss estate. Picture: Simon ParkinOne of the notices warning of fines for feeding chickens put up on the Diss estate. Picture: Simon Parkin

Carol Morris, from Ensign Way, who has regularly fed the birds, said: "I have contacted the council because I don't want to do anything against the law, but they said legally they cannot do anything if you feed on private land.

"I feed the birds in my own front garden so I will just do that from now on. Many people have birdfeeders in their gardens and the chickens will inevitably go in because there is some feed on the ground.

"I would hate them to have to be culled. There have been chickens here for years, they predate the housing estate."

The 2018 operation to try to round-up the feral chickens living around homes on Ensign Way and Victory Court in Diss.  Picture: Nick ButcherThe 2018 operation to try to round-up the feral chickens living around homes on Ensign Way and Victory Court in Diss. Picture: Nick Butcher

MORE: Feathers flying as people try to catch feral chickens that have taken over Norfolk estate

Rebecca Hagan, who has also fed the birds, said: "The cockerels are noisy I understand that, and I don't think I'd like to live right next to them, but it's no good just saying to not feed them.

"Starving them out isn't right, they need a proper programme for people who know what they are doing and have the space to look after them to take them. Otherwise they will just continue to breed and live here, whether people feed them or not."

Diss district councillor Keith Kiddie said: "The council is aware that the numbers of feral chickens in the area is causing a nuisance and we have received numerous complaints from residents.

"In the past we have asked that people do not feed the chickens and we have worked with residents to relocate as many of the birds as possible. The notices are just to make residents aware of existing powers that we have and can use if required."


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