RSPCA officers were called to the rescue after residents of a quiet Essex cul-de-sac discovered four chickens running loose around their estate.
The three cockerels and one hen were found in Rundells estate, Harlow, and it is believed they had been abandoned.
Neighbours said they first noticed the birds on Boxing Day but did not at first realise they had been left without anyone to care for them. They called the RSPCA and Animal Collection Officers (ACOs) Lucy Fackerell and Joe White yesterday (Wednesday, 11 January) rounded up the clucky foursome - named Babs, Rocky, Mac and Fowler - and took them into care.
ACO Lucy Fackerell said: “These chickens certainly gave us a run around so we thought it only right to name them after ‘Chicken Run’ characters.
“They were scurrying around the maze of residential streets and it took two of us - plus some neighbours - to play tag team trying to round them up using boards and nets.
“They had been causing quite a bit of chaos around this residential area - not somewhere they could have survived on their own for very long. One neighbour said the ‘cock-a-doodle-doo’ had become her unofficial alarm clock.
“We can’t be sure what happened but it seems likely they were abandoned. This happens more often than you would hope with cockerels because people don’t always realise that they can be noisy and require a lot of time and proper resources to care for them properly. However, with the right home and owner, they can make great pets and we hope Babs, Rocky, Mac and Fowler will be just that.”
Anyone with any information about how the chickens came to be left in this way should call the RSPCA on 0300 123 8018. If no information about a responsible owner can be found, the birds will soon be available for rehoming.
To find out more about keeping chickens as pets visit the RSPCA website and to see more of their birds looking for homes log onto Findapet.
Members of the public should be aware that there is currently an Avian Influenza (A.I.) Prevention Zone in place across the whole of Great Britain until 28 February 2017. The zones require the compulsory housing of domestic chickens, hens, turkeys, ducks and other captive birds, meaning their complete separation from contact with wild birds. Further restrictions are in place in some areas of the country where A.I. has been reported. Any poultry keepers are advised to keep up to date on the latest requirements and advice on the Defra and Welsh Government websites.
The RSPCA is a charity and relies on public donations to exist. To assist their Inspectors in carrying out their vital work please text HELP to 78866 to give £3 (Texts cost £3 + one standard network rate message).