A rare chicken breeder has been left furious after raiders stole 14 of his beloved birds.
The poultry plunderers made off with animals worth almost £350, including four American Wyandottes, two Chinese Croad Langhans, an English crested legbar, an English Orpington and five South American Araucanas.
Andrew Homer, 34, discovered the crime when he visited the coop on Sunday.
“I was there until noon and then at 7pm,” he said.
“I went down in the evening to move a tree. I could see in the coop things had been kicked over and the door was open.”
The dad of three has yet to tell his children about the break-in at the coop, which was on allotments in Morganstown, Cardiff, as they will be “gutted.”
“Rhys, who is four, was petrified of animals, but he would chase after the chickens trying to pick them up,” the surveyor said.
The children liked one bird best.
“A cockerel nicknamed Colin,” Mr Homer said. “They would get excited in the car on the way to the allotment and would start cock-a-doodle-dooing.
“We have got chickens in the back garden too but it was Colin they particularly enjoyed.”
Andrew was “more sad for them than for me.”
“I am letting them settle into school and will probably tell them at the weekend,” he said.
Mr Homer thought the crooks bundled his birds into a bin before fleeing.
“They have picked up the hens and taken those and they have taken a couple of males that were separated from that pen,” he said.
“They were quite good examples of their breeds. It is frustrating and disappointing.
“They left one bird that they could not catch because she is quite flighty.”
Some chicks were also left behind.
“There were 23 in total and they took 14,” Mr Homer, who had raised the animals, said.
“I don’t know what I would say to them, it’s terrible – disgraceful.
“All I’m trying to do is enjoy something. If they liked the birds that much it would have been more reasonable to come over and say, ‘Can I buy some?’ or ‘Can I hatch one?’
“There is no need to take things willy-nilly.”
Andrew would “love” to get them back.
“I don’t imagine anyone will put them back,” he said.
“I imagine they have been sold.”
The thieves knew what they were looking for, the dad believes.
“They are not of a size that they would be suitable for meat,” he said.
“I have been keeping birds for almost a year and started trying to put a pen together to show the birds,” he said.
“I had been to a couple of shows with the hens that have been stolen and I had one that had won an award in its class.
“I was getting quite pleased with them.”
Police are investigating.