Money Moral Dilemma: Should they pay for the chicken?

Former_MSE_Lee Posts: 343 Forumite
edited 29 June 2010 at 6:42PM in MoneySaving polls
This is a real life MMD so please bear in mind the MoneySaver in question will read your responses:
Please give this MoneySaver the benefit of your advice...
Should they pay for the chicken?

The lovely people next door keep chicken & we buy our eggs from them. The chicken keep getting out into our garden (and we've asked our neighbours many times to stop this), and yesterday they got into our vegetable plot and ate almost everything. These fruit 'n' veg would have lasted through till September. Should we ask the neighbours for compensation and risk being on bad terms with them?
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  • KateBob
    KateBob Posts: 1,789 Forumite
    First Anniversary Name Dropper Combo Breaker First Post
    Surely this is just a basic yes. You've made several requests to stop them and they still let them wander.
    Kate short for Bob.

    Alphabet thread High Priestess of all things unsavoury

    Tesla was a genius.
  • Larumbelle
    Larumbelle Posts: 2,140 Forumite
    Well - part of me thinks that if they have been asked several times to keep their chickens under control, and if you really are worried that approaching them will cause trouble, they can't be all that lovely!

    The problem is that, as a keen veggie grower myself, you can't really say that your veggies 'would' have lasted through to September. Nature is a fickle thing. Plants can and regularly do get parched, drowned, eaten by slugs and (wild)birds, catch blights and bugs, viruses, plagues and pestilence. You can't count your chickens before they've hatched :D (sorry couldn't resist it!) Who knows if you'd really have ended up with as much veg as you think you would?

    My own preference would be to approach the neighbour in as friendly a way as possible. Offer to help build them a secure run, mention the extent of the damage caused to you and see if they'll agree to supply you with free eggs for a while to help redress the balance. (And ask about the manure too! Once mellowed that stuff is dynamite fertiliser!). If you keep things amicable they will find it very hard to be on bad terms with you. And remember, yeah, veggies can be valuable, but at least they can be replaced fairly cheaply. Good neighbours are worth their weight in gold :)
  • pandora_ann
    I have to agree with Kate/Bob that surely this is a simple yes. It is your neighbours' responsibilty to keep the chickens safe, ie not roaming the neighbourhood. After all, if you had a dog or cat who had killed the chicken I imagine they wouldn't be too pleased. Owners are responsible for their animals, be they livestock or pets.

    Obviously it's best to approach the subject in an amiable manner, but yes, it is their responsibility for any damage caused whether the veg would have lasted a month or a week.
  • tryfive
    tryfive Posts: 82 Forumite
    edited 29 June 2010 at 10:58PM

    It's perfectly reasonable to ask them to make good on the damage caused by their negligence (Yes! Negligence! You may think it's a "harsh word", but that's what has happened here!)

    If that puts you "on bad terms" with them, I'd have to question exactly how "good" these neighbours were to begin with - especially after you REPEATEDLY asked them to do something about their chickens running wild all over the place, which they seemingly ignored!

    Be polite and tactful, but be fair about it.
  • shebrett
    shebrett Posts: 182 Forumite
    If they're as nice as you say then I would go over and let them know about it and offer to help them build a secure run if they would like. If they are fair people they will naturally offer to pay for the replacement veggies but it's probably not worth asking if you want to keep the peace, take it as a lesson in the true nature of your neighbours.

    If all this fails and they don't fix it and don't replace your veg, buy yourself a puppy and save money on canned food by letting them eat wandering chickens and see if that gets the chicken run fixed :)
  • Larumbelle
    Larumbelle Posts: 2,140 Forumite
    Perhaps I should clarify what I'm saying;

    Yes, the neighbour has a legal (Animals Act 1971) and moral responsibility to keep their chickens under control...

    ...but the OP has to decide whether it is worth pursuing this if they don't want to sour relations. If they're more interested in recompense, they can legally detain any chickens on their land until they get their compensation, or they can make a big hoohaa about their rights, but this is likely to permanently and irretrievably ruin their relationship. It is really up to them if they think it is worth the potential for animosity.
  • Thanatos
    Thanatos Posts: 882 Forumite
    I would suggest keeping the chickens the next time they got in the garden... keeping them at gas mark 6 for an hour and a half :D

    Nah, seriously I keep Chickens and have a jungle of veggies out there at the moment. I give my neighbours free eggs rather than charging them and also give any surplus veg I have away (and don't even get a christmas card in return!) however, if one of the ckickens escaped and did any damage to my neighbours garden (veg or anything else) I would be offering to pay for it and I would expect the same in return from them.
  • neilpost
    neilpost Posts: 53 Forumite
    I think they should offer some compensation, and if they are that nice it should not be hard to get, whilst also remaining on good terms.

    There is a caveat to the above - I am assuming you don't have a cat which sh1ts in their garden.
  • robynprincess
    robynprincess Posts: 46 Forumite
    edited 30 June 2010 at 12:29AM
    absolutely! i would ask very nicely and explain the situation, say that you feel very sad that you have had to be put in this situation in the first place. i also would offer to help them make it safer so that they dont get into your garden to do the same again. hopefully if they are as nice as you think they will offer, and if they dont, they obviously arent as good as you thought and i would be asking them.
  • thesinners
    thesinners Posts: 10 Forumite
    Ask them for some chicken as compensation.
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