Today I collected 2 chickens from a Cheshire poultry breeder www.goodlifepoultry.co.uk and they settled in very quickly in their new home, a converted wendy house. The red one is my favourite so far - I'd only let her out for five minutes when she found and devoured a slug. Way to go, red!
I read up about chickens and decided they would be no more trouble than, for example, a rabbit, but with the added bonus of eggs. But I wasn't sure Ed would be keen on the idea. So I called him over to show him something on the computer and brought up the Eglu website www.omlet.co.uk. They have funky urban henhouses for the iPod generation. They look like someone has disembowelled an iMac and attached a run on the front. Ed agreed they looked great, and the website answered all his concerns about smell, noise, care and so on. When he agreed in principle I clicked "add to shopping basket" and showed him that they cost £400. Whilst he made choking noises I took him to Ebay and showed him some wooden henhouses for sale there, much more reasonable, only £200 http://tinyurl.com/ox25q. He was still an odd purple colour, so I suggested if he was going to be a tightwad we could convert the kids' wendy house into a henhouse for no cost at all, and buy a couple of hens from Goodlife Poultry for £10 each. He took this option with palpable relief. It's just as well it was the option I preferred from the outset.
UPDATE - We have eggs!
I came back from a guitar lesson and panicked when I could only see one chicken in the garden.
I thought the red one had legged it over the fence until I found her lurking in the shrubs. And this is what she had been doing. I fried it and shared it with Sam for lunch, and it was delicious. Good old red, definitely the favourite chicken.