Monday, 19 December 2016

Guest Post - Chickens in the Snow by Steph Broadribb - #CuteChristmas

For the past few years I’ve kept chickens. Ex-battery farmed chickens to be precise – poor little creatures who spend their short lives in cages without ever seeing real daylight or feeling the earth beneath their feet. At 18 months old they’re deemed no longer commercially viable, and that’s the point when fantastic charities like The British Hen Welfare Trust are able to liberate as many hens as they can find homes for. That’s where folks like me come in. We collect our hens and take them home to introduce them to the real world.

There’s nothing quite like watching them take their first steps onto grass. Correction, there’s one thing like it – and that’s watching them take their first steps onto snow! 

It’s fascinating watching them. They just don’t know how to walk on snow – some tentatively stretch out their toes and slowly push them through the strange white stuff. Others make a run for it, flapping their wings and squawking as they go. But however they do it, the result is always cute! They peck at the snow, trying to work out what it is and whether they can eat it – a chicken is often thinking about whether it can eat any new thing they encounter! But mostly they have fun in it. 

It’s a joy to watch these hens frolic in the snow – they race around the garden, they plunder the wild bird feeding station to see if they can steal some of their food, and they dig up the snow to hunt for worms. The cutest thing is that they’ve befriended a robin who always appears when the chickens are let out of their run into the garden, and likes to ‘help’ them find worms!

For most people the robin is the enduring image of a bird at Christmas – their picture is on cards and decorations after all – but for me I always think of chickens in the snow, and those first steps they take into ‘the white stuff’ that show their characters and zest for life. 

Their reactions remind me that everybody is different, and everyone reacts differently to new and unfamiliar situations. It’s something I keep in mind when I’m writing and creating new characters. 

And as for my series characters, well, Dakota – the nine-year-old daughter of my main protagonist, bounty hunter single mom Lori Anderson – has lived in Florida all her life, so she’s never experienced snow. I wonder how she’d react? 

Thank you so much for taking part in my #CuteChristmas. I was loving reading about how chickens take their first tentative steps onto the snow!

About the Author

Steph Broadribb is an alumni of the MA Creative Writing at City University London, and trained as a bounty hunter in California. As her alter ego – Crime Thriller Girl – she blogs about crime fiction at She lives in Buckinghamshire surrounded by horses, cows and chickens. DEEP DOWN DEAD is her debut novel. 

Lori Anderson book 1 – DEEP DOWN DEAD – is out now in eBook and will be published on 5th January 2017 in paperback (from Orenda Books). Here’s the blurb: Lori Anderson is as tough as they come. Keeping her career as a Florida bounty hunter separate from her role as single mother to nine-year-old Dakota, who suffers from leukaemia. But when the hospital bills rack up, she has no choice but to take a job that will make her a fast buck. And that’s when things go wrong. The fugitive she’s chasing is JT, Lori’s former mentor – the man who taught her all she knows … the man who knows the secrets of her murky past.

You can buy DEEP DOWN DEAD from Amazon at 

Follow Steph on Twitter @CrimeThrillGirl
And check out her Facebook page at  

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