By Joshua Robinson –
The RSPCA came to the rescue of 12 hens who may have been dumped on a driveway by a delivery driver or an owner who no longer wanted them.
The birds were discovered inside three sealed cardboard boxes by a surprised householder at Fernlea Grove in Golcar near Huddersfield on the morning of Friday 10th November. Alongside the boxes was a large bag of feed and a plastic feeder.
The animal charity suspects the chickens were being delivered as a package for a hobbyist interested in poultry keeping for the first time, but they sadly failed to reach their intended destination.
CCTV footage in the area captured a van parking up and someone stepping out to leave the birds on the drive.
Animal rescue officer Ollie Wilkes collected the birds after the householder contacted the RSPCA the next day. The hens were taken to RSPCA Doncaster, Rotherham and District Branch’s South Yorkshire Animal Centre at Bawtry where they have since recovered from their ordeal.
All the hens were healthy and four of them have already found a home after a vet nurse who regularly visits the animal centre placed them with a relative in Cumbria who was keen to adopt chickens. The remaining eight are now ready to be rehomed.
Ollie Wilkes said: “It was a really odd discovery as it doesn’t look like these birds were abandoned – I suspect they were being delivered to someone, but we don’t know for sure. There were four chickens in each of the three egg-laying boxes. They were well packed and it looks like this was some sort of ‘starter set’ for poultry.”
“We couldn’t identify the driver on the footage and although I put a poster up in the area no-one has come forward to explain how these chickens were left like this.”
Ollie added: “It does look like a delivery that has gone wrong for whatever reason, but we couldn’t trace it back as there was no documentation in the boxes. It’s a real mystery, but fortunately the chickens were only on the driveway for a short amount of time and they are doing fine.”
“It was a good outcome for all of them and as soon as I got them to Bawtry they made themselves at home in the centre’s chicken coops. Since then we have managed to find a good home for four of them.”
The RSPCA has advice on its website for those considering keeping chickens as pets. Anyone arranging to buy birds should avoid stressing them by collecting the animals in person rather than risking a delivery disaster.
The British Hen Welfare Trust hosts regular rehoming days where prospective owners can collect their chickens from approved locations as well as receive advice on the best methods to transport their new pets home.