In fact, my very first story for Like The Dew was about a proposed ordinance in Roswell that would outlaw keeping chickens within the city limits. I never heard how that turned out, but it was a quite heated dispute.
I have no problem with eating chicken. Southern fried chicken (which means it must be real chicken deep fried in real grease by a real southerner) is in the DNA of anyone raised south of Baltimore. (So are Varsity onion rings but that is a different story.)
Outside the city, chickens are a common sight pecking around the yard, either waiting to lay their eggs or get whacked in order to uphold Southern dietary traditions.
But what if the chickens are purely for eggs, aren’t in danger of meeting a pot of grease, have taken the place of the family dog, and can’t be left alone when you go on vacation?
What do you do if you have chickens in the back yard that are protein-producing pets? With names? You’re not going to leave them at home while you frolic in a tourist-infested resort are you? Sure, you can ask undependable neighbors to gather the eggs. But who will feed your cluckers a balanced meal? Or give them a little treat at night? Or scratch little Fluffy on the stomach?
You simply cannot run the risk of depending on your lousy chicken-hating neighbors to be responsible stewards of your precious poultry. You’ll do what any responsible chicken lover will do: you’ll take little Fluffy someplace where you know her stomach will be scratched and she and the other precious little things will be safe, pampered and coddled.
Unfortunately, your opinions in the US are the neighbor, a chicken sitter, or to take them with you.
But in England chicken owners can take the brood to a chicken hotel.
Really. You can’t make this stuff up.
Google lists several chicken hotels in the British Isles, but two stand out.
David Robbins, a 31 year-old cabinetmaker in Cornwall, has opened The Chicken Hotel. Mr. Robbins said in an article on Oddity Central “With more people looking to escape the rat race and move out into the country with a bit of land, keeping chickens is becoming more and more popular. But what do you do if you go on holiday? Who looks after the chicken?”
The Chicken Hotel, that’s who.
According to their website, both room and board is provided with, and I quote, “all-you-can-eat buffet style meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner (including drinks.)”
“In the morning, as they exit their penthouse suites, our guests will be greeted by beautiful panoramic vistas of rolling green Cornish countryside.” The penthouse suites have a fenced lawn for pecking and socializing.
You’ll be comforted to know that the whole operation is surrounded by an electric fence to keep the foxes out.
Mr. Robbins collects the eggs and saves them for you.
But, you say, I want more for my chickens! What about scratching Fluffy’s stomach?
Stomach scratching is not on the list of extra services, but you can get your special chicken the full spa treatment. This includes pedicure, nose-job, and wing clipping.
The hotel will also transport your chickens to and from their home. If it’s little Fluffys you want, there is a nursery for eggs that are in a family way.
The Chicken Hotel is located “at the end of a country lane on a small farm in the hamlet of Boskenwyn (near Helston).”
Julie Smith, owner of Fowlty Towers, says she provides 5 star accommodations as well as treating her guests to a walk to a local pub.
I provide you this information as a public service. It does, I admit, seem a bit weird, but the fact remains that people who keep chickens think of the birds as pets. Having someplace to take Fluffy while you scurry away on a vacation makes sense.
The litigious chicken keepers in Roswell ought to consider an American version of The Chicken Hotel. You could call it The Fowlmont. Or the Hotel Interchickenental.
Or something like that.