TV programme sparks trend to keep chickens in gardens

Celebrity chefs Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Jamie Oliver have sparked a boom in keeping poultry in domestic gardens - a trend that could push growing vegetables into the back seat this spring.

Oxfordshire-based Omlet, which makes the Eglu range of chicken houses, has been inundated with enquiries since Channel 4 started to broadcast its Big Food Fight season on 7 January.

In the programmes, Fearnley-Whittingstall and Oliver presented consumers with unpleasant facts about intensively farmed chicken. Omlet, which sells products via the web, said it experienced a "surge of interest" - coinciding with the Channel 4 programmes - from consumers who wanted to set aside an area of their gardens to keep chickens at home.

Omlet representative Johannes Paul said: "Looking at our last two weeks' sales, plus our website traffic and brochure requests, we've been three times as busy compared to the same period last year."

The firm is looking to cash in further on the garden market with the launch of short courses about keeping chickens.

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