The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals continues its investigation into how and why nearly 1,000 day-old chicks recently ended up in a field in Crowland, near Peterborough, in Eastern England.
Passersby heard loud chirping and spotted what RSPCA inspector Justin Stubbs described as a “sea of yellow” in a field on February 17. RSPCA officers were called to the scene and with the help of volunteers rounded up the baby birds and put them in boxes. According to the animal welfare organization, the chicks came from a commercial hatchery located nearby and may have been dumped by a third party. The producer, which wasn’t named by the RSPCA, is “fully cooperating and assisting the RSPCA with their investigations.”
“The chicks are only about a day old and are really tiny and quite delicate. Some of the birds were dead or dying when we arrived so some, sadly, had to be humanely put to sleep,” said Stubbs in a press release. “Thankfully, most of the chicks did not appear to be suffering.”
The birds that survived were collected by the breeder and returned to the facility. But due to a nearby outbreak of avian influenza, the chicks were later put down by the breeding facility, according to Amy De-Keyzer, press officer for the RSPCA. The UK, along with many other countries in Europe, as well as Asia and Africa, are in the midst of a bird flu epidemic that has resulted in the culling of millions of birds to try and prevent further incursions by various strains of the disease. As for how and why the chicks were dumped, the RSPCA is continuing to look into the situation.
“The RSPCA’s investigation is ongoing and officers are following up several lines of enquiry. We would urge anyone with information to contact us on 0300 123 8018,” De-Keyzer tells Modern Farmer in an email.
Here’s a video of the chicks.