The rural insurer, NFU Mutual, has warned owners of rare breed chicken that their stock have become a “target for thieves” and that they need to take appropriate measures to improve security.
The warning is aimed mainly at the hobby end of the market with NFU Mutual’s rural affairs specialist, Victoria Walton (pictured above), commenting that a rise in popularity amongst a new breed of ‘hen hipsters’, including celebrity farmers, has led to an increased demand for rare breed “posh chickens”, creating a lucrative luxury poultry market in the process.
“Burmese Bantams, Polish Frizzles and Silkies with their cute and cuddly appearance, have now become prime targets for thieves,” she said, adding that such breeds were now fetching between £40 and £200 per hen.
Rare Poultry Society vice-chairman, Philippe Wilson, agreed, warning that over the last five years the prices for rare breed poultry had risen dramatically.
“Thieves are clued up on which birds to target and how much they are worth either for resale or breeding purposes,” he said. “We have seen people selling fertile hatching eggs of the extremely rare, and all black, Ayam Cemani for over £1,000.”