MORE than 3,000 escaped chickens have been rehomed after a lorry carrying 6,000 birds crashed on the M62 in the early hours of yesterday morning, Wednesday.

Rescuers grabbed two chickens at a time under their arms after waking to the sound of screams at 4am and have since said they have been inundated with calls and could have rehomed the birds ‘three times over’.

Emma Billington, who lives in Eccles close to where the crash occurred, sprang into action after hearing what sounded like a ‘massive smash’ on the motorway.

She added: “We knew we had to help and ran across the field barefoot but what we found was carnage.

“The screams were coming from the birds and I have never heard anything so haunting.

“We started picking them up and putting them in our field and then other people started coming to help and rehome the birds.

“It was the craziest day I have ever known.”

Emma and hundreds of helpers who descended on the site once the news went viral worked from 4am to 11.45pm last night and are convinced they rounded up all of the escaped chickens.

The rest of the birds were put back into crates on the wagon but Emma, who runs Daycare 4 Dogs in Manchester, said she was delighted more than half of the birds got their freedom.

She added: “One of the birds had no feathers and the saddest thing is they may never have been out of their cages before and never known freedom otherwise.

“We live on a tiny road but once word got round we couldn’t move for caring people trying to rehome the chickens and were checking they were going to good homes.

“They have all gone now and it’s such a relief we have been able to help.

“We have set up a hospital for the injured chickens and I want to thank everyone who helped us to save so many.”

North West Motorway Police said yesterday that about 1,500 birds were killed and a number escaped.

It is thought the majority of chickens died from the impact of the crash while others escaped and were hit by cars.