Thieves found one chicken just too hot to handle.
Lilly is believed to have escaped the clutches of her captors by pecking at them – meaning she was left behind while they stole her three friends – Martha, Matilda and Vera – from their coop in Elizabeth Way, Higham Ferrers.
Their owner Sally Wynn, who rescued the battery hens to give them a better life, has been left ‘angry and upset’.
She said: “We rescued two of them, Matilda and Martha, a year ago and got Vera and Lilly two weeks ago. When we got Matilda and Martha they were in a terrible state but a year on they had improved so much they were fantastic.
“They have no real value to anyone as they don’t lay any eggs. I think it is sad when people come along in the middle of the night and steal three chickens. I don’t know why anyone would take them and I am really upset and angry.
“Have they taken them as a joke? Was it to sell them? Was it to kill them? Whoever took them would have had to crawl into the chicken run and open the cages to steal them.
“The only reason I think they left Lilly was she must have pecked them. It is as though they have vanished into thin air.” The chickens were stolen sometime between 10pm on Saturday, June 9 and 7am on Sunday, June 10.
Anyone with information should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.