Family ordered to get rid of pet hens

sp93029 Harriett Brown, Darley Dale Chicken Complaint.
sp93029 Harriett Brown, Darley Dale Chicken Complaint.

A DEVASTATED ten-year-old girl faces having to get rid of half of her pet hens because of a change to the rules at her allotment.

New contracts have been issued to allotment holders off Church Road in Darley Dale stating they can now only keep six chickens.

Harriet Brown and her family have 12 chickens and because they are refusing to part with them are now being threatened with eviction from the site by Darley Dale Town Council

Harriet said: “I love to pick them up and to hold them.

“They are my pets. I’m really upset that the council has done this. The old contract doesn’t say how many chickens you can keep.

“They have just made up a new rule.”

Her father Chris Brown said when they took over the plot around four years ago they were told they could keep chickens and several families had taken up this opportunity.

By law you must register with Defra if you own 50 or more birds.

Mr Brown, who pays an annual fee of £8 to the town council for his plot, said: “The council has sent out these contracts without any consultation. We have spent money to put in runs for the chickens and these are my daughter’s pets.

“It raises the questions of what we are going to do with them. They aren’t causing any problems for anyone else.”

He added: “Harriet is concerned she may have to give up half of her pets because the council is just making things up as they go along.”

Mayor Ingrid Pasteur said the council would not be changing its policy and Mr Brown could face eviction from the allotment site if he did not comply with the new rules.

She said: “The town council discussed the numbers and decided it should be limited to six. It is illegal to sell eggs from your allotment so six hens should provide enough eggs for a family.

“It was more or less a figure we just came up with but now the council has decided I can’t see any reason why we should go back on it.”

She added: “If Mr Brown can’t keep to the rules he won’t be able to keep the allotment. He can’t have special privileges.”