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Sleepy town thrust into chaos as out-of-control chickens ruin families’ everyday lives

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May 29, 2024

What the cluck?

A group of unruly feral chickens are reportedly wrecking havoc on a tight-knit British village, altering the way of life in the quiet community, while also attracting tourists who have exacerbated the problem.

Residents in Snettisham, a village in the English county of Norfolk, said their lives have been made “hell” after the birds swarmed the area, The Guardian reported. The feral chickens have reportedly ruined gardens and kept residents up at night, among other nuisances.

Villagers said they aren’t sure who owns the chickens but that their numbers have soared. 

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To make matters worse, curious tourists who travel to see the birds have left them food, which has attracted rats. 

“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,” Rod Mackenzie, a parish councilor, told The Guardian.

“What was it someone left the other week? A quart of pink prawns,” he said. “The rats are quite sizeable around here, and they breed like hell.”

Ben King, 48, who lives in the village, said he wears ear plugs to go to sleep because of the constant crowing at night. 

“They’re out of control now, there’s not just one or two… if someone came and moved them, I’d buy them a big beer,” he said. 

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While they certainly have their detractors, some residents aren’t bothered by the flock. 

“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,” said a dog walker who declined to give the newspaper their name. “They should get a life.”

“Two of them have been in my garden since they were babies, and they don’t bother me.”

While delicious and mostly harmless, chickens have caused trouble for their human neighbors before. In Ireland, a man died after being attacked by a Brahma chicken that was moved to his property in Ballinasloe after it attacked a child.

The man, Jasper Kraus, was found in April 2022 on his kitchen floor in a pool of blood with a wound to the back of his legs. A trail of blood led from the body to a chicken coop outside. 

A judicial inquest found Kraus died after being attacked by the rooster. 

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