FIVE dumped chickens were rescued from a lay-by on the Aire Valley trunk road.

The birds – three cockerels and two hens – were found by an RSPCA inspector on her way to another incident on Tuesday.

They were in an ‘emergency stopping only’ lay-by near Crossflatts roundabout.

"In my job I’m always ready for the unexpected but it was still a bit of a surprise to see these chickens roaming loose in the lay-by," said Insp Taylor.

"I took four of the birds to a local vet, but it was quite obvious they were very unwell. They were lethargic and looked dull and depressed."

She is appealing for information in a bid to trace who abandoned the birds.

“I am urging anyone with information – or who may have seen anything on the morning of February 16 ­– to please contact me on 0300 1234 8018, quoting 00510836 as a reference.

“This was such a remote and unusual location for chickens to have strayed on their own, I have little doubt that they were deliberately dumped by their owner. Sadly it’s not uncommon for us to be called to rescue abandoned cockerels.”

Last year the RSPCA dealt with 1,594 incidents related to chickens across England and Wales, including 62 in West Yorkshire – more than any other county. The charity also took in 280 chickens into its centres for rehoming.