The Channel Island of Jersey is known for being a peaceful, picturesque location; ideal for a calming getaway.
However, Jersey residents are being left thoroughly ruffled by hardened gangs of feral chickens who are causing absolute mayhem.
Now, you may not think of chickens as being particularly intimidating creatures. However, imagine a 100-strong gang of them chasing you while you’re out on a morning jog and try not to shudder…
In a rather Hitchcockian turn of events, Jersey residents are currently being menaced by huge groups of chickens.
These bold birds have reportedly been waking up locals, trashing gardens and causing a traffic hazard. Contrary to the cowardly stereotype, this cocky bunch have even been chasing joggers.
Although two small culls have already been carried out, with 35 chickens having been killed by a pest controller, the birds are continuing to wreak havoc.
These chickens are suspected to be abandoned pets which have since bred rapidly. As there are no foxes on the island, there are no natural predators to keep the booming numbers under control.
Jersey’s Environment Minister John Young has made the following statement on the matter:
We are now dealing with very large numbers – the culls that happened were quite modest.
We are in a situation where we have got animal lovers on the one hand and where we have got those who are experiencing a nuisance on the other. I can’t pretend to sit here and say I have got an answer to that.
Mr Young’s department has received no fewer than 40 complaints this year alone regarding the unruly chickens.
Alarmingly, it is understood several different gangs are operating at various locations on the island, with the largest group of clucky rascals now believed to exceed 100 members at the time of writing.
Local authorities have said they are fighting a tough battle against the chickens, and have warned residents against feeding them as this will encourage them to breed.
Director of Environment for the States, William Peggie, has explained plans to address this problem had been thwarted by the loss of the States vet. However, with an interim replacement, discussions may now lead to a practical solution.
Authorities were initially unaware people were abandoning chickens in these areas, making it difficult to keep a check on the situation.
As they don’t belong to anyone, feral chickens are not given protection under the animal welfare law.
Under nuisance legislation, landowners may ‘dispatch’ chickens if they are being a nuisance, and action may be taken if a feral chicken is fed in a way that would cause a nuisance.
What the actual cluck is going on…
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.