Fifty newborn chickens were slaughtered with bricks in an "inhumane" attack by a gang of youths at a farm in Lancashire, police have said.
Police said the bodies of the three-day-old birds were found in their pen at Knuzden Brook Poultry Farm in Blackburn on Tuesday night.
About four or five youths were seen near the entrance but ran off across fields when disturbed by an employee.
It is believed bricks were thrown at the birds to kill them.
Lancashire Police said the youths ran off towards the Knuzden/Staffa Crescent area after being spotted at about 2050 BST.
Insp David Mangan said: "I am absolutely disgusted by the inhumane actions of these sick individuals, who seem to have got some kind of pleasure out of the unnecessary slaughter of 50 new born chickens.
"I believe it's probably been committed by just one individual out of a group and I would appeal to those who weren't necessarily directly involved to search their conscience, do the right thing and contact the police.
"I would also ask anybody at all within the community who may have any information about this awful incident to come forward."