Feral Chicken Flocks Are Terrorizing Residents of the Largest of the UK’s Channel Islands

Wendy Love, iStock / Getty Images Plus
Wendy Love, iStock / Getty Images Plus

Flocks of feral chickens on Jersey, the largest of the United Kingdom’s Channel Islands, are doing their best to ruin the lives of residents, giving a whole new meaning to the phrase “free range chickens.”

The chickens, iNews reports, are waking people at dawn with clucking and crowing, trampling gardens, interrupting traffic, and even chasing joggers. People might be more inclined to forgive them for what mostly seems like typical behavior (with the exception of chasing joggers) if the chickens were roaming in small groups, but these flocks number over 100 birds each. It’s likely that a few chickens started out as pets who were then abandoned and have been breeding an army ever since. And the island of Jersey isn’t home to foxes or any other predator that might keep the population to a more manageable level.

As a result, Jersey Environment Minister John Young told iNews that he’s had to order two “modest” culls, wiping out 35 chickens. It hasn’t been enough to solve the problem, especially since animal rights advocates are against culling as a solution. But since nobody actually owns the feral chickens, they’re technically not protected under the UK’s animal welfare law.

“We are in a situation where we have got animal lovers on one hand and where we have got those who are experiencing a nuisance on the other. I can’t pretend to sit here and say I have got an answer to that,” Young said. While they work to find an answer, officials have warned locals against feeding the chickens, which encourages breeding.

According to the BBC, Jersey's director of environmental health, Stewart Petrie, said that the only significant danger the chickens could cause is if cars swerve to avoid them in the road. But the lack of sleep caused by a 4 a.m. wakeup call every morning can definitely damage your health, and the prospect of getting chased by a crazed chicken might make you skip your daily jog, too.

[h/t iNews]

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Do Dogs Get Headaches?

Even without raging benders, dogs might still get headaches.
Even without raging benders, dogs might still get headaches.
damedeeso/iStock via Getty Images

Like babies, dogs can be hard to read in the medical ailment department. Are they listless because they’re tired, or because they’re sick? What’s behind their whining? And can they suffer that most human of debilitating conditions, the headache?

Gizmodo polled several veterinarians and animal behavior specialists to find out, and the answer seems to be a resounding yes.

Although a dog can’t express discomfort in a specific way, particularly if it doesn’t involve limping, animal experts know that canines that have diagnosed brain tumors or encephalitis can also be observed to have a high heart rate, a sign of physical pain. According to Tim Bentley, an associate professor of veterinary neurology and neurosurgery at Purdue Veterinary Medicine, administering painkillers will bring a dog’s heart rate down. If signs of physical distress also decrease, a headache was likely involved.

Unfortunately, not all dogs may offer overt signals they’re feeling some brain pain. According to Adam Boyko, an associate professor of biomedical sciences at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, dogs instinctively try to mask pain to avoid showing weakness.

Ultimately, dogs have many of the same central neural pathways as humans, which can likely go awry in some of the same ways. But the kind of persistent headaches owing to head colds or hangovers are probably rare in dogs. And while it goes without saying, they definitely don't need any of your Advil.

[h/t Gizmodo]