Warning as increasing number of hens abandoned amid bird flu outbreak

Nearly 2,000 abandoned chickens have been reported to the RSPCA already this year and the charity fears bird flu could make the problem worse.

An abandoned hen found the RSPCA
An abandoned hen found the RSPCA

In the Midlands there have been 194 reports of abandoned chickens since 2020 and the numbers are eight per cent higher than last year.

Kate Norman, poultry expert at the charity, said: “Keeping hens has become increasingly popular in recent years but it’s incredibly sad to see so many of them being abandoned and neglected. We are concerned that we could see an increase in the number of dumped chickens due to the cost of living crisis and concerns over bird flu.

“We are now sadly once again in the midst of a bird flu outbreak which has seen the UK Government take the necessary steps to issue a housing order for all keepers of birds in England. Not only is this stressful for the hens as birds that have previously roamed around a garden or smallholding are now being kept inside, but it’s also understandably stressful for owners.

“We would urge anyone who is struggling to care for their pets to please reach out for help from friends or family, or charities. Please never abandon any animal.”

Pet owners are also advised to follow government biosecurity advice to help protect the health of their birds as well as to try and limit the spread of the virus. All pet poultry owners need to stay vigilant for signs of disease and ill health in their flocks and it’s vital they seek veterinary advice if they have any concerns.

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