M62 crash chickens given 'freedom' by pet sanctuary

Image caption Hundreds of the birds escaped up an embankment and into a field

Hundreds of chickens rescued from a motorway in Greater Manchester after a lorry hit a safety barrier are being rehomed by a nearby pet sanctuary.

About 1,500 chickens were killed when the lorry crashed on the M62 between junctions 11 and 12 at about 04:00 BST.

Hundreds of the surviving birds were herded up an embankment by workers from the nearby Dogs 4 Rescue and are now being given away to "good homes".

The driver of the lorry was uninjured in the crash.

Emma Billington, from the rescue centre, said she hoped they would "go on and live normal lives".

She said her colleagues had sprung into action after some of the birds began appearing in a field near the sanctuary for cats and dogs.

Image caption Emma Billington said she hoped the birds would "go on and live normal lives"

"All the cages were everywhere so it wasn't a case of being able to put them back in there," she said.

"We just carried them up the embankment to safety.

"We were dealing with such high numbers and we were gathering them up as we were walking about. We were doing it for hours."

She said it was not known who owned the chickens, but that dozens of people had already taken birds for their own gardens.

"The sadness is that this is the most freedom they have ever had so I'd like them to be really lucky and go on and live normal lives."

The lorry crash closed parts of the M62 for several hours.

Michael Clarke of the Highways Agency said the organisation "drafted in as much manpower as we could from across the North West" and received help from the emergency services and the RSPCA in order to clear debris and round up the remaining chickens.

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