More than 1,000 day-old chicks were found abandoned on Friday in winter cold on a farmer’s field in Crowland, near Peterborough, Cambridgeshire in England. The newly-hatched chicks were discovered by a shocked member of the public who called the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA).
Several of the chicks had died by the time that RSPCA inspectors arrived at the scene, according to the Daily Mail. Shocked RSPCA inspectors described how they arrived at a farmer’s field to be greeted by “unbelievable noise” from a “sea of yellow” that turned out to be tiny day-old chicks abandoned in winter temperatures on a field near Peterborough in Cambridgeshire, England.
RSPCA inspectors immediately began working to rescue the helpless chicks by placing them in cardboard boxes where they huddled together more effectively for warmth, The Guardian reported. Many of the chicks were still healthy and vigorous, but some had died and others had to be put down after having sustained serious injuries.
RSPCA investigators determined that the chicks were from a local commercial producer and that they were likely abandoned on the field by a person who purchased them from the producer, according to the Telegraph.
According to the animal welfare organization, the commercial chick producer came to the scene to collect the surviving birds. They were assisting RSPCA investigators to determine who abandoned the chicks on the field.
RSPCA officials described the abandonment of the chicks as an “unbelievable” act of cruelty.
“I have never seen anything like it — was just a sea of yellow. And the noise was unbelievable,” said RSPCA inspector Justin Stubbs. “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. Some, sadly, had to be humanely put to sleep,” Stubbs continued. ” The breeder came to the scene to collect the surviving birds and take them back to their unit. These tiny birds wouldn’t have survived long out on their own at such a young age and in such unpredictable weather conditions.”
“For someone to dump these vulnerable chicks is unbelievable.”
Stubbs suggested that the person who purchased them might have dumped them after realizing that reselling them would not fetch as much profit as expected.
RSPCA requested anyone with information about who dumped the birds to call 0300 123 8018.
Day-old chicks are very vulnerable during the first 24 hours of life because they are unable to regulate their body temperature. They need to be kept in an environment heated to more than 30 degrees Celsius to survive. They continue to need heating during the first few weeks of life until they develop feathers that help them to regulate their body temperature.
The video above shows the chicks massed together for warmth on the field where they were abandoned. The loud chirping indicates stress due to being subjected to adverse environmental conditions. The birds could survive only a few hours under winter conditions without adequate protection and warmth.
Many viewers expressed shock and outrage at the incident.
But others pointed out that the incident offers a glimpse into what happens regularly in the commercial chick production industry that supplies commercial meat and egg production units. The outrage being expressed reveals the general lack of awareness about the industry, some viewers said.
“Most of the males will be shredded anyway.”
“The male chickens are put through grinders. Oh my God please tell me this is not true.”
“Why don’t they offer the male chicks to people to take and raise?”
“All I can say is that these comments just prove what a stunning amount of ignorance there is in the general population about raising chickens for eggs and raising chickens for meat,” a viewer said.
Some viewers noted that the chicks were probably males left after the female chicks were sold for egg production. Thus, returning them to the producer was pointless because they would still have to be destroyed because they are not wanted.
“The poor males will end up in the shredder now that the breeder is back on the scene, ” a viewer said. “Maybe the ‘third party’ dumped them knowing their fate and probably thought they might of been better off in the wild.”
[Featured Image by Lapse Studio/Shutterstock]