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What will happen to the 200 chickens living on a Norfolk housing estate?

PUBLISHED: 17:11 15 August 2018 | UPDATED: 17:14 15 August 2018

A chicken on the Ensign Way  housing estate. Picture: Marc Betts

A chicken on the Ensign Way housing estate. Picture: Marc Betts

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Chickens living in a market town housing estate in Norfolk have hit the headlines, but as their numbers continue to rise residents are asking "what will happen to our chickens?".

It is estimated that around 10 chicks are born every week in Ensign Way, Diss, as more hens are spotted with chicks every day.

The chickens on the estate have been attracting a lot of attention since we first reported on them, with BBC Radio Norfolk talking to residents and interest from national television channels.

With the numbers increasing, residents are hoping that the interest will bring a farm or landowner forward to take some away.

It was originally feared that if the chickens were taken away they would be culled, but the RSPCA says this would not happen.

Chickens on the Ensign Way housing estate. Picture: Marc BettsChickens on the Ensign Way housing estate. Picture: Marc Betts

A spokesman for the RSPCA said: “The RSPCA is aware of the flock of chickens living in the wild in Diss. The chickens appear to be healthy and thriving, so there are currently no welfare concerns for the birds.

“However should a welfare issue arise, such as sickness or injury, we are happy to help get them to a vet.

“The RSPCA would not cull these chickens as they appear to be living happy and healthy lives however if the council is looking to cull these birds we would do whatever we can to work with them and other charities to find alternatives.”

South Norfolk Council has no legal power to remove the chickens because they are classed as wild animals and are not owned by anyone.

Chickens on the Ensign Way housing estate. Picture: Marc BettsChickens on the Ensign Way housing estate. Picture: Marc Betts

This means that the council would not be able to take them away. In the past, it is believed that the council has offered to help with the chickens but at the time residents were happy to let them stay.

Resident Carol Morris, 71, said: “I would say that 85pc say the chickens are definitely welcome but one or two would say otherwise as the cockerels in the morning start up at around five or 6am.

“We had a long chat with the RSPCA but there was nowhere for them to go. They do go in everybody’s properties, I am worried they may cause an accident because some of the cars do come hurtling around the road and not because it will kill the chickens but it will cause problems for the cars.

“The chickens just keep growing and growing, we had another new clutch of 12 yesterday.”

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