Complaints over ‘noisy’ hens force chicken breeder to move birds to new site

Sarah McKenzie with her daughters Willow and Hebe with some of their rare breed chickens and cockerels (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-151130-112931008

Sarah McKenzie with her daughters Willow and Hebe with some of their rare breed chickens and cockerels (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-151130-112931008

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A chicken breeder who faced complaints from ‘townies’ over the noise her birds were making has now moved her flock off her land.

Sarah McKenzie, 43, said this week that she feared she would lose her home if she failed to comply to a request from her landlord to remove the birds.

Mother-of-two Sarah has been rearing rare-breed chickens at a rural site in Stopham, near Pulborough, for the past four years.

But feathers were first ruffled after new ‘townie’ neighbours complained to Sarah’s landlord over the noise made by her chickens and cockerels.

“Chickens do make noises,” she said. “We’re in the countryside. If you can’t farm in the countryside where can you do it?”

But Sarah said this week she had moved her flock to a friend’s farmland in Fittleworth.

She said she feared eviction from her rented home if she failed to move the birds.

“I couldn’t risk putting my children’s home at risk for the sake of the business,” she said.

The birds were moved to the Fittleworth site - some miles away from Sarah’s home - at the weekend.

“It means we’ll have to completely change the business,” said Sarah.

“I can’t be on the site all the time and we won’t now be able to hatch and look after small chicks. They need so much care and we don’t have the facilities to watch them on the new site.

“Before, people would come to the house but now they are at the farm I will have to have ‘opening hours’ and sit there and wait hoping that customers will turn up during the hours I’m there.

“It’s all a bit testing.”