Council threatens to fine people feeding ‘feral’ chickens

A local council has threatened to issue £80 fines to anyone who feeds a group of up to 200 chickens that live wild on a housing estate.

South Norfolk Council has put up signs in the town of Diss urging residents: “Please do not feed the feral chickens.”

The public information notice warns: “The feral chicken population has reached an unsustainable level in the town and we are asking residents not to provide them with food.

“Providing food to the chickens could result in a fixed penalty notice for the offence of depositing litter under Section 87/88 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.”

A South Norfolk Council spokesman said that the fixed penalty notices would be £80, reduced to £60 if paid within 14 days.

The authority said it took the action following complaints from residents about the “unhygienic” mess the chickens are making, and because the feeding is attracting rats.

The spokesman said efforts were made to rehome the chickens last year and some were caught with nets, but as there are seven cockerels the flock keeps breeding.

Culling the chickens is not an option, the spokesman said, as many residents want the chickens to stay.

“We’re making people aware we have this ability to issue fixed penalty notices,” the spokesman said. “We are an enforcing authority and can fine people for doing it (feeding the chickens).

“We’re working closely with residents to help with this problem but they can’t agree amongst themselves what they want to happen.”

Asked about the mechanism for issuing fines, the spokesman said the authority would take it “case by case” and there would be warnings first, but that it is a “spot fine”.

One resident who regularly feeds the chickens told the Eastern Daily Press that she will now only feed the birds in her own front garden.

The council spokesman said: “What people do on private land is up to them.”