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    Former MSE Lee
    Money Moral Dilemma: Should they pay for the chicken?
    • #1
    • 29th Jun 10, 6:20 PM
    Money Moral Dilemma: Should they pay for the chicken? 29th Jun 10 at 6:20 PM
    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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    Last edited by Former MSE Lee; 29-06-2010 at 6:42 PM.
Page 1
    • Kate/Bob
    • By Kate/Bob 29th Jun 10, 10:34 PM
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    • #2
    • 29th Jun 10, 10:34 PM
    • #2
    • 29th Jun 10, 10:34 PM
    Surely this is just a basic yes. You've made several requests to stop them and they still let them wander.
    • Larumbelle
    • By Larumbelle 29th Jun 10, 10:38 PM
    • 2,108 Posts
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    • #3
    • 29th Jun 10, 10:38 PM
    • #3
    • 29th Jun 10, 10:38 PM
    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 (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
    • #4
    • 29th Jun 10, 10:56 PM
    • #4
    • 29th Jun 10, 10:56 PM
    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
    • #5
    • 29th Jun 10, 10:57 PM
    • #5
    • 29th Jun 10, 10:57 PM

    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.
    Last edited by tryfive; 29-06-2010 at 10:58 PM. Reason: Fix formatting
  • shebrett
    • #6
    • 29th Jun 10, 11:07 PM
    • #6
    • 29th Jun 10, 11:07 PM
    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
    • By Larumbelle 29th Jun 10, 11:11 PM
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    • #7
    • 29th Jun 10, 11:11 PM
    • #7
    • 29th Jun 10, 11:11 PM
    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
    • By Thanatos 29th Jun 10, 11:18 PM
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    • #8
    • 29th Jun 10, 11:18 PM
    • #8
    • 29th Jun 10, 11:18 PM
    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

    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
    • By neilpost 29th Jun 10, 11:43 PM
    • 53 Posts
    • 31 Thanks
    • #9
    • 29th Jun 10, 11:43 PM
    • #9
    • 29th Jun 10, 11:43 PM
    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
    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.
    Last edited by robynprincess; 30-06-2010 at 12:29 AM.
  • thesinners
    Ask them for some chicken as compensation.
    • jenniewb
    • By jenniewb 30th Jun 10, 1:37 AM
    • 12,553 Posts
    • 11,735 Thanks

    I would take a chicken or two the next time they let it happen if they didn't pay up! Food is food and in this day and age when VAT prices are going to rise on everything but basic/value ranges (and prehaps those also) a chicken or several could help offset the cost of having to buy more veggies until December.
  • nonotnow
    Okay you may be in your 'right' to ask for compensation etc etc, but come on... even if you manage to get any amount of money from them, is it really worth it?

    They are your neighbour and you will see them a few times a week, it just isnt worth it. I know this site is all about saving (and making) money, but being on bad terms with your neighbour is so much stress :/ all of this talk of "pay up!" and taking chickens and VAT... like have you ever fallen out with someone next door? its not fun

    You do however need to be really clear with them and tell them how upset you were your vegetables have now gone.

    By the way, all you need to do is trim the chickens feathers on one side (I have 3 myself), its like giving them a haircut, and they cant really fly over fences n stuff.

    And Im not saying all this because I own chickens, Im saying this because Ive fallen out with neighbours before, and Ive ended up not going into the garden because they are sitting in theirs (okay, i am quite shy and dont like confrontations) but it was really silly tbh, but its what you get when you fight with someone next door i guess lol
    Last edited by nonotnow; 30-06-2010 at 1:45 AM.
    • Taffybiker
    • By Taffybiker 30th Jun 10, 6:57 AM
    • 917 Posts
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    Nice neighbours would be dismayed to learn what had happened - I'm sure they are equally eager to remain on good terms with you as you are with them. If they don't know what happened they can't do anything about it, so keeping it to yourself is counter productive.
    Whether or not you seek compensation is not really the problem (Personally I don't agree with this "compensation culture" anyway - nearly all so-called accidents can be avoided by people simply opening their eyes and looking where they are going).

    It's quite possible they never saw your previous requests as urgent and had every intention of keeping their livestock out of your garden, when they get around to it. I would ask again but this time explain why and insist that it has become a matter of urgency.
    If the situation still isn't resolved then it may become necessary to involve a 3rd party, such as a mediator specialising in this kind of dispute.
    Try saying "I have under-a-pound in my wallet" and listen to people react!
  • mrsvicx
    I think if they were my chickens, I wouldnt need to be asked for some form of compensation, I would perhaps offer free eggs for the rest of the year to make up for it. BUT, Im not really one for confrontations, so if it was my veg that had been eaten, I would probably just hold a grudge!! Or maybe send hubby round, as he's a better negotiator than me!!
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  • grrrl
    They're good neighbours and they're making money from their chickens (you buy eggs from them).

    It's true what they say about having good neighbours and you need to approach the situation diplomatically because it's not necessarily worth falling out over.

    Most people are saying you should ask for compensation, but once this situation is explained to the neighbours, I should imagine they'd volunteer compensation rather than you having to suggest something.

    You need to decide what would be appropriate compensation and, when you discuss the situation with your neighbour, suggest what you feel is proportionate.

    Would you be happy with free eggs or are you looking for replacement plants?

    Either way, your neighbours need to secure the chickens so that this doesn't happen again - make that their main priority.
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    • pennypinchUK
    • By pennypinchUK 30th Jun 10, 9:24 AM
    • 382 Posts
    • 732 Thanks
    No, don't ask for compensation. You appear to get on well with your neighbours, and good neighbours are worth more than ruined vegetables, however many were destroyed. Yes, it's annoying, but not worth the bad feeling between you all.
    • lutzi1
    • By lutzi1 30th Jun 10, 9:37 AM
    • 2,671 Posts
    • 48,236 Thanks
    I agree with virtually all of the above, but it does strike me that if you've asked them several times then you knew there was a problem, so could you not have put some kind of simple barrier up to stop them getting in? (What are these chickens, Houdini?) Maybe not your responsibility, but a bit of common sense goes a long way, especially as it's best to try and stay on good terms with your neighbours.

    Certainly as a minimum I'd be dropping very heavy hints about expecting free eggs for the next six months or so.
    Hope is not a strategy.
  • antonia1
    As a newbie veg grower, I think I'd be more upset about the amount of effort it takes to grow veg (and my emotional attachment to my "babies") than about the cost. Its not too late to sow more seeds, or get small plants from the garden centre to replace those ruined.

    I think I would try to be diplomatic, explain what has happened and that I'd like to try growing some more but I'd be worried that the same thing might happen. The very least they should do is make sure the chickens are kept securely, and if they're nice they might offer to pay for some of the replacement plants. If they don't offer to pay then they're probably not very nice, and might make life difficult, so I'd be glad I never forced the issue in the first place.
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  • curligurl
    Yes you should ask them to pay - they're the ones who have kept letting their chickens get into your own garden and ruin your vegetables and fruit.

    And what's more, you've been paying them money for the eggs from their chickens, meaning you're even more 'out of pocket'.

    The least they could do after you buying their stock is to help protect your own by doing something to keep the chickens contained.
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