New henkeeper Vikki Smith, from Cirencester, shared her reflections on her new hobby…

We’ve owned chickens for two whole days. I am practically an expert. As such, I consider myself highly qualified to spread my knowledge on things I have learned about chickens…

1. They poo a LOT. And not little poos. Big, stinky, wet poos that shoot out of their rear end like a rocket.

2. They are noisy. I had visions of soft, reassuring, lady-like clucking around me while I serenely sit in their run writing my blog. Nope. I hear squawking, bossy ‘paaaaaarks’ and diva grumbles. Then there’s the egg song. Bloody hell, they make a song and dance of it when they lay an egg. They have to make sure everyone knows what a great job they’ve done and celebrate the achievement with a vocal performance to rival Beyoncé. Now, bearing in mind these are hybrid girls who could lay an egg each a day, that’s a bloody concert. Seriously girls. Yes, laying an egg is impressive, but do you think you could lay off the dramatics? Just a touch?

3. They are dirty. They have absolutely no objection to walking through aforementioned poo, whatever the texture, size or colour. I once longed for the days when a hen climbed on my lap for a cuddle? Now? Hmmmmm… not so much. Not unless they wash their feet first.

4. They do NOT eat everything. They do not like lettuce. Or celery.

5. They can jump. But only upwards. And by that I mean they seem to stand in one spot and then just hop straight up into the air! Not forwards and up, just up. There is no dignity in their jump and no apparent planning.

6. When your son accidentally locks you inside their run, then goes indoors and puts his headphones on, chickens are pretty good company. Despite the smell and the sporadic rocket poos, they are funny little head bobbing, neck lurching comedians.

7. Unintentionally spending an hour and a half trapped in their run is a great way to get them used to your presence.

8. Chickens are fickle. They are only your friend if you have a handful of treats. The rest of the time they pretty much ignore you. Or walk all over your feet (with their poo-covered tootsies) looking for food. They have no idea about personal space. Unless it’s YOU getting in THEIR personal space. Then you are subject to an overly dramatic, feather shaking, huffy ‘paaaaaaaaarking’ diva-esque response.

9. They are awesome. Their bad manners, bad habits, muttering and rocket poos are nothing in comparison to the happiness I feel when I’m with them. Having been living with them for nearly two hours (albeit with no choice!) I can confirm that they make the best housemates!

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