Thinking about the economic shadow that has fallen across the land, reminded me of one class of victim that is becoming increasingly vulnerable, the domestic pet.

Being around animals is established as good for health, so it is sad when such access declines, as is inevitable when there is not enough income to feed the family. One alternative is to think about having a working pet. As with any other pet, the trick is to have a collective of willing friends and family to share the care. A working pet is one that partly or wholly pays its way, so an egg-laying bird comes to mind.

First thought might be a prolific egg-laying duck, the Khaki Campbell, until one thinks of the noise and how the neighbours might take to that. From that, I arrived at hens and fed ‘rescue battery hens’ into the computer. It turns out that there are a host of people thinking that after a short lifetime of indoor existence, a future of greenery can be offered.

Amongst the search results is one for a TV programme that was trying to coax supermarkets to only sell chicken meat from farmers offering a happy life (one shop remains obstinate There is also an answer to ‘Where can we get chickens to keep at home? That suggests rescuing an ex-battery hen giving the Battery Hen Welfare Trust website : (address: BHWT, North Parks, Chumleigh, Devon, EX18 7EJ).

Keeping an animal is a serious business and having contact with local organisations who can advise on vets, such as an Urban Farm, is a good idea.

However, wouldn’t you rather have fowl in a fox proof henhouse than a competition indoors for sofa space with a leg polishing moggie?