I’m frequently sent things to try out, sometimes its gardening related, sometimes poultry paraphernalia, often books, but occasionally a bit of gadgetry or kit arrives.
In the main it’s that mutual benefit thing going on between magazine columnists like myself and the product manufacturer or author. Hopefully I get something to write about or review and the supplier gets a bit of publicity.
I’ll be honest… sometimes the book just isn’t my cup of tea and rather than publish a bad review I’ll simply not write anything about it. The same can be said of kit, I mean how can you provide feedback on a hessian sack with the word “Spuds” printed on the side that’s being retailed at £7.99 and is ‘perfect for keeping your harvested home grown potatoes in’? It’s a sack, it has ‘spuds’ written on the side of it, but at £7.99 it’s just what I needed to ensure I didn’t get confused with the bag I have that I keep carrots in, which incidentally has ‘carrots’ printed on the side and is made from recycled allotment owners RRP £14.99.
But then am I simply being snobby? Just because it’s not something I would particularly value or use then am I being sniffy to not even give it air time? ……….and this was the thought process that ran through my head when I received an email from a marketing company asking if I would be interested to learn more about a hi-vis jacket for chickens. It was raining, perhaps I had started to suffer the early onset of winter blues? So rather than file the enquiry in the “not for me” pile I responded with a ‘yes’.
The speed and efficiency with which my reply was handled was a credit to people involved, and within a couple of days I found myself looking at this ground-breaking, or plainly bonkers piece of equipment.
Described as a “health and safety gilet” it’s designed for winter to “make chickens visible, whilst protecting them from rain and sleet” but I couldn’t help but feel there was an element of tongue in cheek about it.
The concept though isn’t completely off the wall with even some of the toughest breeders out there fitting similarly looking poultry saddles on their breeding hens during the season to provide protection (albeit from the spurs of the male). So perhaps this was just an extension of that idea. Perhaps this is in fact a reflection of the increasing numbers of pet chickens out there and all that the ‘pet’ concept brings with it?
Either way, who am I to stand in judgement, I have chickens within the flocks I keep that could be described as ‘pets’ in so much that visitors pamper them, insist on them having names and converse with them in English or Chickeneze.
Polly’s first trip out sporting her jacket though would suggest that despite the fact she roosts on a boot rack in the porch of our house, lays her eggs in a wardrobe in the garage, and considers other chickens beneath her…..she’s not yet quite ready for chickens as pets catwalk.