Children at a village school have been left devastated after thieves raided their primary school coop to steal five chickens.
Ashwicken Primary School pupils were left heartbroken after just one of their six hens was left behind following a break-in at the weekend.
That hen, named Betty Boo-Boo, has now joined another flock.
The hens have been an important part of the school for more than five years, with some being hatched at the East Winch Road site.
Headteacher Sue Collison condemned those responsible for the theft.
She said yesterday: “The children and the staff are very upset.
“The children used to feed them and gather their eggs every day and the chickens used to follow them around.
“The thieves are despicable to take the school hens as the children love them.
“I would ask whoever has taken them to return them. But we fear the worst for them.”
The school began to keep Buff Orpington and Rhode Island Reds six years ago to help children learn about caring for animals.
The theft was discovered on Sunday morning by a parent and pupil who had gone in to feed the flock.
High fencing which surrounded the coop had been pulled back by thieves who went on to grab the hens.
The school is now planning to put up posters to appeal for information on the hen rustlers.
Mrs Collison said: “The police are investigating. The chickens were an important part of the school.
“We don’t know if we will have any more hens in case they are also stolen. We are in shock.”
West Norfolk police commander, Supt Carl Edwards, said: “It is a pretty low down thing to steal chickens from a school.
“The children are upset and I would appeal to anyone in the local community who knows anything to contact us straight away so we can get the hens back to where they belong.”
Anyone with information should contact police on the 101 non-emergency number.