Meet the little lad who spends his time with an unusual best friend – a CHICKEN.
Frankie Burnett, six, begged mum Sammie Bryant, 26, for a hen in October 2019, when they were visiting their local farm shop to get fish food for their tank.
The primary pupil was adamant he wanted ‘the chicken with the poo on its back’ – and it soon became apparent she had taken a shine to him too.
The family didn’t think it would be fair to have just one chicken, so took on a pair of Rhode Island Red’s – called Rosie and Red – home to their garden flat in Romford, Essex, where affectionate bird Rosie and Frankie soon became best of friends.
Eight months later, Frankie still gets up excitedly every morning to check for eggs, and sneaks slices of cheese out of their fridge for his favourite pet.
Sammie, a barista at Costa, said: “It’s so funny watching the two of them together.
“Rosie loves it when he rubs her belly – she even pines for more like a dog!
“He’s so good with them, and said he wants to have his own farm one day.”
In October 2019, mum-of-one Sammie took her son Frankie to their local farm shop in Romford, Essex, to get some more food for their fish.
Frankie spotted the chickens, and immediately began asking if he could have one, much to the amusement of his mum.
“I told him we couldn’t have them because they weren’t easy to look after and we didn’t have anywhere for them to live,” Sammie said.
“But he was adamant – he knows how to wrap me round his little finger!
“He kept pointing at this one with poo on her back and saying he loved that one.”
In the end, Sammie obliged, after finding out they were ready to lay and would be a nice project for Frankie seeing as he was so interested.
“I told him they would be his responsibility, and that I would help with cleaning them out if necessary,” Sammie said.
“I told him to pick two, as it would be unfair to have one of its own, and he was so excited.
“I did try to explain they wouldn’t be very affectionate pets – but he sure proved me wrong.”
Luckily one of Sammie’s friends had a chicken coop and run she was getting rid of, which the family were able to collect on the way home.
Their two-bed maisonette flat handily has a garden large enough for the birds, which Frankie was besotted with from the moment they made it home.
He kept to his promise, and began looking after the chickens immediately, rushing out into the garden in the morning to check for eggs and letting them out of their run.
“We let them roam around the garden during the day,” Sammie said.
“Rosie follows Frankie wherever he goes – even coming into the kitchen if the door is open and drinking from the dog bowls.
“They’ll sit together on the kitchen floor for hours, and he’ll feed her cheese and pasta from the fridge.”
The family – who live with Sammie’s partner, Scott Andrews, 28, a water worker, also have two dogs – but luckily for Rosie and Red they’ve ‘never shown any interest’ in the chickens.
The girls are ‘good layers’ and produce eggs every day, which Frankie enjoys giving to their elderly neighbours who like watching the chickens over the garden fence.
Rosie often watches Frankie when he’s on the trampoline, pining for him to get off and play with her.
Unusually for a chicken, Rosie loves attention, and enjoys nothing more than jumping up onto Frankie’s lap and having her tummy stroked.
“She whines at him just like a dog, it’s so funny,” Sammie said.
“They love being picked up by him – I’ve never seen anyone else have a relationship like this with a chicken!”
Frankie is a true animal lover, and has dreams of ‘being rich and owning his own farm’ so he can have as many animals – and chickens – as he likes.
He loves his dogs – Blue, one, and Deedee, ten – but nothing will ever compare with his relationship with Rosie.
“He’s just a boy who loves his chicken!” Sammie said.
“What’s wrong with that!”