As the fear of an imminent egg shortage swept the nation in the early phases of the UK’s lockdown, Britain’s demand for pet hens rocketed. One breeder in Kings Heath, Birmingham, reported an entire year’s worth of sales in just three weeks. Some towns have reported thefts of hens from gardens and allotments, and there are concerns that after the lockdown has lifted, new hen owners will change their minds causing an influx of hens up for adoption.
Moor Green Allotments in Moseley has had a couple of dedicated chicken keepers on site for a number of years.
Goose, aptly named by his friends, has kept a healthy and varied flock of more than a dozen chickens on his plot since 2019; their favorite snack is a cabbage dangled from the ceiling of the pen.
Flash, another plot-holder, positioned his chicken pen at the back of his plot for those walking in the adjacent Cannon Hill Park to enjoy as they stroll by. He recently experienced a close call when one of his chickens fell ill and unexpectedly stopped laying eggs. This marks the end for most hens around the world, but determined Flash massaged her back to health, and she’s now doing better than ever.
Oscar and Otis have recently taken on their first flock of 2020, after they lost some chickens to the local foxes last year. This time around, they’ve used human-proof security fencing to ensure they’re not vulnerable to four legged burglars again. They have some beautiful Silver Laced Wybars, and a pair of timid Booted Bantams which are fantastic to watch.
Dani is another new chicken owner, and perhaps keeps the funniest looking chickens at Moor Green so far. He and his Polish Bantams share a hair style, and the head of the flock tends to perch on his shoe when he enters the pen.
With the success of Tiger King on Netflix, a comical DocuSeries about tiger owners in the USA, there have been talks of a Chicken King series on the horizon – who knew. At the very least, though, it’s nice to have some company at the allotment during lockdown, even if it is of the feathered variety.
Committee Secretary Moor Green Allotments