Roaming chickens in Milton Keynes kept safe with special hi-visibility jackets
Two wandering chickens that have captured the heart of an entire estate have been kitted out with hi-vis jackets to keep them safe.
Davina and Deidre, known as the Galley Hill Two, refuse to stay in their cosy coop in the garden of their owner’s home.
Instead they rise each morning at 7am and tour Galley Hill, sometimes making their way as far as Stony Stratford.
The pair are so tame that they wander up to passers-by by a stroke and a tasty titbit.
“Everybody knows them and we all love them. It really brightens up your day when they come to see you,” said one resident.
Davina and Deidre return each evening for their dinner before retiring to their coop.
Before they leave on their travels in the morning, they leave an egg each for owner Dave Williams and his family.
“I started off trying to keep them in,” said Dave. “But right from the start they had other ideas - they wanted to be free to go where they wanted.”
The chickens were bought as a birthday present for his eight-year-old son, also called David, in August.
“They started their wandering in the summer, when the evenings were still light. But as they nights got darker we were worried that people wouldn’t spot them if they were near a road of on a driveway,” said Dave.
He bought the hi-vis jackets from a specialist Banbury company called Omlet.
Since the Galley Hill Two have been allowed their daily outings, the quality and quantity of their eggs has vastly improved, said owner Dave.
“We still feed them proper food and people give them all kinds of titbits. But they enjoy finding food for themselves too,” he said.
“It must be doing them good because their eggs are amazing!”
Chickens are naturally fantastic foragers and if they are allowed to free range they will find plenty of insects and greenery.
Their diet will include meaty insect such as worms, slugs and snails - and for this reason chickens are welcome visitors at many gardens on the estate.
“I love it when they come in my garden and eat the snails that eat away at my plants. They’re doing me a good turn,” said one resident. “They’re part of the community now and they brighten our days.”