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A New Zealand man accidentally bought 1,000 chickens online for $0.96

INSIDER logoINSIDER 11/6/2019 Rosie Perper
a close up of a chicken © Flickr/Katie Brady

They say a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

Not so for Steve Morrow, whose desired purchase of one bird accidentally resulted in ownership of 1,000 hens.

Morrow told Insider that he was browsing Trademe.co.nz, New Zealand's largest auction website, when he stumbled upon a post that was for "urgent sale."

A screenshot of the ad seen by Insider indicates that the seller was looking to move 1,000 hens from its free-range egg farm in Massey (near Auckland) by Monday as it was closing down and needed to be vacated.

"For urgent sale is one 1,000 - bird mixed age flock of Brown Shavers and Highlines," the ad read.

But Morrow, who manages a bed and breakfast called Koromatua Homestead in Hamilton, New Zealand, was only looking for "a couple more" hens as he already had 10 on his property that provided eggs for his guests' breakfasts.

He said he misread the ad, thinking he could put in a bid and take as many or as few of the hens as he wanted. Morrow initially put in a bid for $NZ10.50 ($6.70) and by Sunday morning he discovered that he had actually won the auction for $NZ1.50 ($0.96).

The seller, Matthew Blomfield, later spoke to Morrow and asked him about what he planned to do with 1,000 hens.

"I was stunned, shocked, and speechless," Morrow said.

Unsure of what to do with his plentiful poultry purchase, Morrow posted on a Facebook message board on Monday urgently asking for help. Within hours, Morrow said he received thousands of replies from people across the country offering to lend a hand in re-homing the birds.

"I had to turn my phone off at 1 a.m.," he said. "It was so overwhelming, and I was blown away."

The Animal Sanctuary, an animal refuge in Matakana, New Zealand, contacted Morrow and offered to coordinate the rescue of the hens and send them off to their prospective homes. Morrow said that with the help of the sanctuary and his online community, he was able to find homes for all 1,000 birds by 3 p.m. local time on Monday.

Morrow said the birds are currently undergoing veterinary treatment and will be ready to be permanently re-homed within the next several weeks.

Despite the mix up, Morrow said he was impressed by how positively his community responded to his story.

"The whole experience has shown me people in New Zealand are like one big family when it comes to helping those in need," he said. "Now everyone calls me 'the chicken man.'"

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