A poultry farmer has been left so worried by the theft of her birds that she spent the night in her car to protect them.
Katie Stanley was left in shock when she went out to check on her birds at 6.30am on the morning of Monday, June 17, to find them loose in a nearby field.
Some chicks were found wandering on the A38 following the break-in .
She says the theft has put her business selling eggs at risk because her best laying hens were taken in the raid.
It appears that a crowbar had been used to force open four of the six hen houses she had in the field.
A total of 15 hens and ducks had been stolen from the farm in Meadow Lane, Yoxall , near Burton.
Locks were also cut off on other buildings at the site.
Katie owns 50 birds altogether and 230 sheep.
There was also what she believes to be a crowbar mark on the sixth building where she believes thieves had tried to get in.
She says many of the birds are her pets, which she has hand reared from birth or rescued.
The 23-year-old said: “I am devastated because I raised of lot of them and had them for two to three years and saw them twice a day, every day, 365 days a year.
“I don’t know if they are dead, alive, been sold on or killed to eat. I slept in my car down the lane last night as I didn’t want to leave them.
“It is a quiet lane and we never had anything like this before.
“They were all over the field when I got there, even my really old cockerel.
“It must have happened early in the morning as they let them out and the fox didn’t get them.”
What is even more heartbreaking is that one of the stolen chickens was on her eggs when she was taken, meaning the babies have now died as well.
The birds stolen were eight runner ducks, four Muscovy ducks, two bantam chickens and a black copper meran.
One bantam is black and the other is grey and brown hen. The meran is a black and copper colour.
The group of eight runner ducks comprises one male and seven females. One has a distinctive light brown patch on its head.
Given the birds that were taken, Katie believes it was by someone who knew what they were doing as they did not take any of the older poultry.
However, she believes the thieves were disturbed as they did not take all the younger birds.
She says it is a blessing that they did not take any of the sheep which were also in the field and are her main source of income.
Now she is desperate to get them back where they belong.
“I just want them home,” she said.
“They live in a field where I look after livestock and this is what I want to do for a living. I will take a big hit with them being stolen.
“It puts everything into question over whether I can continue to do this any more. I love rescuing the birds as people ask me to take them and keep them here.
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Source – https://www.staffordshire-live.co.uk/news/local-news/bird-rustlers-force-farmer-sleep-2995136