Bizarre chicken swap leaves farmer flummoxed

NOT MY BIRD: Weedons resident Chris Lange inspects a chicken with clipped wings. Mr Lange says 12 of his own young chickens were stolen and replaced by older birds with clipped wings. PHOTO: GEOFF SLOAN

A bizarre case of swapped chickens has a lifestyle block owner scratching his head.

Chris Lange says about a dozen of his 32 young chickens have been stolen and replaced with older birds.

“I’m 110 per cent sure they are definitely not ours,” he said.

“I could not believe that someone had gone and done that.”

Mr Lange said he realised what had happened early last week when he went out one evening to feed the pigs at his Weedons property and noticed some of the chickens had their wings clipped, unlike his birds.

“They are locked up in an enclosed area, so someone has come in here at night time with a couple of sacks of chooks and has dumped the old ones and taken the young ones,” Mr Lange said.

Chris Lange’s own chickens.

“Someone has obviously decided ‘we want some new chooks, young ones’ because they obviously see that we sell eggs free range at the gate. You can see [the chickens] from the road so someone has come over the fence and they haven’t had the balls to kill their old ones.”

Mr Lange said he thought the swap had been carried out some time within the two weeks prior to the evening he noticed it. He and wife Sharon had noticed the quantity and quality of eggs being laid was much lower than it had been.

The older chickens would be killed to make way for some new young birds.

“There is no point feeding old chooks that don’t perform,” he said.

He hadn’t gone to the police because he didn’t think there was much they could do.

They had lived on the property for two years, since moving from Rolleston and hadn’t had any problems with crime apart from the occasional theft from their honesty box.