AN animal rescuer took part in an unusual chicken run after she was called to rescue a cockerel from a river - and then had to chase him on land.

RSPCA Inspector Jessica Dayes had received a call to say a cockerel had been spotted on a bed of reeds in the middle of a river in Fordham, outside Colchester.

When she arrived at the location, near to Fiddlers Hill, she found the cockerel sitting quietly on a bed of reeds in the middle of the river.

Jessica said: “When the call first came in I was very surprised and part of me was wondering if it could really be the case there was a chicken in the middle of a river.

“However when I arrived - there he was. Sitting quietly in the middle of the river - something you don’t, if ever, normally see.

Read more:

PHOTOS: Take a look inside the most expensive house on the market in Colchester

Creator of famous BBC show character is celebrated with new book

Colchester's most and least used train stations in 2020

“I managed to coax him off the water using my reach and rescue pole to encourage him onto the bank. Unfortunately for me, it was the wrong side.

“As his feet hit the dry land he ran off and I then spent almost two hours trying to find him in the dark.

“We’ve all heard the joke 'why did the chicken cross the road' - but never why did the cockerel cross the river.

“I was so relieved when I managed to catch him although his run around left me with around 1,000 nettle stings as well.

“But it was worth it to finally get him and keep him safe.”

The cockerel was taken to South Essex Wildlife Hospital where he was to be examined by a vet.

He seemed in good health although quiet following his ordeal.

He was not showing any bird flu symptoms and was quarantined.

Jessica did knock on some doors in the local area to see if they were missing a cockerel - but to no avail and his details were posted on petslocated.

Visit the RSPCA website to find out more about keeping chickens as pets.

The RSPCA is urging poultry keepers to follow new Government rules which state they must house or net all poultry and captive birds to keep them separate from wild birds, amid growing incidents of the highly pathogenic avian influenza - bird flu - virus.

From Monday (November 29) it will be a legal requirement for all bird keepers across the UK to keep their birds indoors, or to take measures to keep them separate from wild birds, and to follow strict biosecurity measures in order to limit the spread of and eradicate the disease.