Im-peck-able! Are chickens Norwich's new favourite pet?

Sue Todd owns a flock of Barbu d'Uccle Mille Fleur hens.
Byline: Sonya Duncan

Sue Todd owns a flock of Barbu d'Uccle Mille Fleur hens. Byline: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

It's fairly common for city folk to share their homes with four-legged friends.

However many are now swapping out their feline and canine pals for something a little more feathered.

Susan Todd, recently retired, has said chickens are now her pets of choice courtesy of their cheerful personalities and the added bonus of eggs.

Sue Todd owns a flock of Barbu d'Uccle Mille Fleur hens.
Byline: Sonya Duncan

Sue Todd has a large coop for her flock of Barbu d'Uccle Mille Fleur hens. Byline: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

The 66-year-old from Flordon has six Barbu d'Uccle Mille Fleur hens and a cockerel called Jasper.  

She said: “I have had chickens for the last five years.

"Duchess was one of my first and she's my favourite. She's very old now but she had some lovely chicks which still live with me.” 

Sue Todd owns a flock of Barbu d'Uccle Mille Fleur hens.
Byline: Sonya Duncan

Sue Todd owns a flock of Barbu d'Uccle Mille Fleur hens. Byline: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Susan's chickens only lay an egg every two days or so.

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She said: “I share them with my children and grandchildren who all love eggs.

"To be honest though the chickens are more like pets to me as opposed to productive chickens."

Sue Todd owns a flock of Barbu d'Uccle Mille Fleur hens.
Byline: Sonya Duncan

Sue Todd loves her chickens like pets rather than productive chickens Byline: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

For people thinking of bringing winged housemates into their homes, Susan had some straight-forward advice.

She said: “You need somewhere nice for them to stay and you can buy a big bag of corn and mix it with sunflower seeds and dried worms for food. That's pretty much all you need to get started. 

Sue Todd owns a flock of Barbu d'Uccle Mille Fleur hens.
Byline: Sonya Duncan

Sue Todd owns a flock of Barbu d'Uccle Mille Fleur hens. Byline: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

"Holidays are more difficult though. You can put dogs into kennels, cats into catteries but it's much harder to find someone to look after chickens.” 

Sue Todd owns a flock of Barbu d'Uccle Mille Fleur hens.
Byline: Sonya Duncan

Sue Todd owns a flock of Barbu d'Uccle Mille Fleur hens. Byline: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Amber Bale lives in Bowthorpe with her two rescue chickens named Doris and Doreen.

The 27-year-old radiographer has had her hens since October 2020. 

Amber Bale owns two rescue hens. 

Amber Bale owns two rescue hens. - Credit: Amber Bale

She said: “I love their personalities - chickens are just the same as dogs or cats.  

“They love spending time with me and wait outside the back door for snacks.” 

Amber Bale's hens are called Doris and Doreen. 

Amber Bale's hens are called Doris and Doreen. - Credit: Amber Bale

To give the chickens the best start Amber said: “They will need a secure coop with nest boxes as well as an area to explore."

Alex Watling from Mile Cross has 20 chickens at home.

Alex Watling has 20 birds living in his home. 

Alex Watling has 20 birds living in his home. - Credit: Alex Watling

The 27-year-old property and garden maintenance business owner said: “The best thing would have to be the eggs.  

“My children also enjoy seeing them and getting to help look after them.” 

The Watling's are getting on average 28 hens eggs a week. 

The Watling's are getting on average 28 hens eggs a week. - Credit: Alex Watling

Alex has some hen's in his flock that are just one week old. 

Alex has some hen's in his flock that are just one week old. - Credit: Alex Watling

Fun facts about chickens:  

Chickens are omnivores: Many people think chickens are vegetarians however they have been known to eat insects, toads and field mice.  

Chickens are descended from dinosaurs: Scientists have discovered that many of the molecules found in a Tyrannosaurus rex show a remarkable similarity to those of the humble chicken. 

There are around 25 billion chickens in the world: They outnumber humans four to one.  

Chickens have great memories: They can memorise over 100 faces. People who own chickens often say that their chickens recognise them, their family and even the other family pets.  

Chickens dream when they sleep: Scientists know this because chickens display REM eye movement when they sleep.  

Hens defend their young: Meaning being called a chicken isn’t really an insult.