Imagine Hitchcock’s film classic ‘The Birds’ crossed with the animated film ‘Chicken Run’ and you might get some where close to the havoc and distress caused when a lorry laden with nearly 7,000 chickens crashed into the safety barriers on the M62 Motorway at Irlam in the early hours of the morning.

Thousands of the birds escaped onto the carriageway which thankfully due the time had little traffic using it. However hundreds of the birds were killed or badly injured and if not for the swift action of nearby Moss residents that number could have been much larger.

Anthony McMahon from the nearby Moss Lane Farm said, “We went to help with the rescue operation at around 8am. The hardest job was to get the chickens off the motorway and up onto the embankment and into a neighbours field. But chickens being chickens they just kept wandering back through any breaks in the fences that we had to block up.”

A makeshift ‘Hospital’ was set up on site to assess the bird’s health with many of the badly injured having to be put down. However a call went out on the ‘grapevine’ and people travelled far and wide to take in some of the uninjured chicken’s one couple even travelling from as far as Wakefield to help.

It is believed that a least a thousand of the chickens, that ironically were on their way to be slaughtered were rescued and have had a new lease of life. Jannine Mcmahon added, “The birds were not in a healthy state and had come from a battery farm however those that were rescued are doing well and putting on weight looking much healthier and stronger.”

In at least one back garden in Irlam and Cadishead, ‘KFC’, ‘Nando’, ‘Fillet’ and ‘M62’ as four of the rescue chickens have cheekily been named are enjoying the ‘free life’ and happily laying eggs in their new surroundings.

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