A CHARITY has hit out at "callous" cockerel owners who dumped two animals in a cardboard box on the outskirts of Southampton.

The RSPCA says the two cockerels were found by a passer-by on a remote lane between Nursling and Romsey on Sunday.

The birds had been left inside a cardboard box, and the kind passer by kept them safe and called the RSPCA.

Animal collection officer (ACO) Katie Wood collected the birds and took them to The Stubbington Ark (RSPCA Solent Branch) to be cared for.

Ms Wood said: “Luckily, these two cockerels are not harmed from their ordeal, but it doesn’t change the fact that abandoning an animal is a callous thing to do, especially as these two were left beside a road - they were very vulnerable.

"Thankfully, they’re safe in our care now until they are adopted, but it may take some time for a new home to come along.”

She added: “Sadly, cockerels being abandoned is not uncommon, and at the RSPCA we often have a number in our care looking for new homes.

"They can be difficult for us to find homes for as any new owners will need understanding neighbours who don’t mind the potential noise of cockerels crowing, and this can put people off from rehoming them.

“However, chickens can be so rewarding to keep and though cockerels can get a bad rap for being noisy and sometimes aggressive, with the right care and knowledge, they can make great pets and are absolutely fascinating to watch and care for.

“They have their own individual personalities and can be friendly and quite tame, so it’s really worth putting in time and patience to get more out of them and really enjoy them, but before deciding to keep chickens of any kind it’s important to consider whether you have the knowledge, time, facilities, money and commitment needed to care for them.

“For people who would like to keep hens, we would ask them to always consider rehoming a rescue hen, and avoid hatching them themselves from eggs, as you can’t be sure of the gender and may find yourself with cockerels instead.”

Anyone interested in rehoming one of the cockerels can contact The Stubbington Ark.