A colleague at Proactive Investors stumbled across this video of me on location at Boycott Farm in the old English market town of Stowe while working as Business Correspondent for CNN’s Marketplace Europe weekly features show. As a rare example of when I am not blowdried to within an inch of my life, I thought it would be fun to share it again.
The farm’s main business is eggs – laid by a flock of 6,000 chickens – and as I stood in the middle of the field they peck in, I was very quickly surrounded by what felt like most of them. They had spotted my approach from yards away, but rather than turn on their heels, they scuttled our way en masse in a constant stream from the laying house. It turns out that chickens are incredibly nosy.
I was a lone reporter in a sea of chickens, which were pecking at the ground, my boots and sometimes even each other, but all of them gossiping loudly, cluck clucking in a synchronized murmur that grew louder and louder as the throng swelled.
Any sudden movement from the crew prompted a startled flap from all the birds at once, followed by a split second of absolute silence, until, rather like a Mexican wave, the tentative murmur started up again.
Would I like to hold one? Show me a CNN Correspondent who isn’t game!
The way to hold a chicken correctly, should you ever be required to, is to hold the legs securely underneath the bird as if they are in a sitting position. Next, nestle your chicken in the crook of your arm. Now make sure your other arm is lying gently over the top, as if stroking the wings, holding firmly enough to prevent the bird flapping or escaping your grip. That is something I didn’t do and I was flapped in the face. Then again, having also stood in the piglet pen at feeding time, not to mention various newsrooms around the world, I can confidently say that there are worse things that could happen to a roving reporter!