Janine Marsh balks at the thought of taking Bossy Betty, Peggy, Barbie or Gregory Peck for a constitutional on a lead
Irecently read an article in a national newspaper entitled Are chickens the new Chihuahuas? Well, I’m not sure what your chickens are like, but the thought of taking any of my pampered poultry anywhere in public on a leash, as one celebrity apparently does with her beloved chicken, makes me laugh out loud.
I’ve got 20 chickens of assorted sizes and breeds, including a Cream Legbar called Bossy Betty. She is the Queen of the pen and rules the roost with an iron beak. She is quite happy to peck me, and anyone else for that matter, when she wants something. I can imagine she would enjoy it if I took her to the local supermarket, but she would cause havoc in the fruit aisle – she does love an apple.
I have a new girl called Peggy. She is a Cochin chicken with golden plumes and lovely feathery legs. She’s short and squat and rushes about squawking and most of the time she looks like she’s wearing little boots. She recently hatched two eggs, but Mother Nature has not made her a good mum. She pecked the baby chicks and threw them up in the air. They are now living in a nursery pen in the garden with eight black cochin babies given to me when they were abandoned by their mum. She might not win awards for her parental skills, but Peggy draws admiring views from everyone in the village, so I can imagine that walking her, perhaps on a jewelled lead, would turn heads.
Barbie the blonde chicken would also be a good choice. She is the prettiest chicken I have ever seen. Her pale yellow feathers have delicate black feathering on the tips which looks like lace. She is very chatty and runs to the back door when she sees me in the morning. She pushes the cats off the cat food (which she loves), comes when you call her name, likes to be stroked and is more like a dog than a chicken in some ways.
Gregory Peck would probably be the best chicken to take out. He is very large, has glossy jet-black feathers and really is a handsome boy. He also has a deep soulful crow. We call him the Pavarotti of the Pen. He is tame and not remotely aggressive; more of a lover than a fighter, and he enjoys human company. The problem is, around these parts there are lots of chickens roaming in the streets. If he ABOVE: Definitely handsome enough to be seen in public - but would he behave! BELOW: Blonde Barbie loves the cat food saw a bird that took his fancy, I fear he might drag me down the road in order to fulfil his desires.
The rest of them are just too naughty and noisy to even contemplate a public airing. They would poo everywhere, climb things, eat everything in sight and peck whatever piques their curiosity.
In this house, chickens are definitely not the new Chihuahuas. We will leave that to the celebrities. If you think differently, and have been seen in public with your chicken on a lead, do let us know – and send us a picture. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org