Attingham Park‘s Walled Garden is currently dedicated to commemorating lives and losses during the First World War to mark the conflict’s centenary. There are a variety of war-related themes. Various boards explain the uses of the various vegetables grown in the garden. The most memorable and distinctive dimension is the use of animals as part of the commemorative environment. The live, moving memorials take the form of chickens.
Chickens were a part of the war effort and there are live chickens, amidst the vegetables, putting some patriotic pluck into the proceedings. Attached to the chicken wire are examples of English and French posters encouraging patriotic egg laying and egg collecting.
The ‘hen soldiers’ are free range, not battery, and they remind us that the war was far from ‘over easy’.
On the front line, many a French hen would shout: “oeuf-er the top we go!”
In summary, a fascinating example of hen heritage: I wonder where they poached the idea from? It certainly links into my broader interest in animals used to commemorate the dead.