By Tui Benjamin
An abandoned baby magpie hand-reared on a chicken farm now confuses her owners and neighbours – by clucking and crowing like a HEN.
Laura Liney, 18, says tame pet magpie Lego thinks she is a chicken – and unbelievable footage shows the bird uncannily mimicking chicken noises.
The teenager rescued Lego as a one-week-old chick after she was knocked out of her nest on her family’s farm in Mudgee, New South Wales, Australia and hand-reared her on kangaroo meat.
Laura said her bird now confuses her family and neighbours alike by regularly breaking into rooster calls and does not actually know how to sing like a magpie.
Laura said: “As Lego grew up she spent a lot of time with the chickens on the farm. She spends 24/7 – all day every day – in their company.
“About five months ago I started hearing chicken noises – the first time I thought it was a rooster but realised it was coming from too close to the house.
“Then I heard it one morning when I was having breakfast, and realised it was Lego. Now she will make the noises for hours and hours.
“When I tell people I have a magpie who thinks she’s a chicken they don’t believe me until I show them a video. Then they still don’t believe it.
“Magpies are known to be mimics and it shows they are very intelligent. Lego is certainly one of a kind. She’s the first magpie which has done this that I know of.
“I have a bird that thinks she’s a chicken. She is an amazing bird and is so special.
“She has confused our neighbours before by making chicken noises near their home, when they don’t own any chickens. They didn’t know what was making the noise.”
Laura has raised nine magpies on her family farm, which is currently home to about 50 chickens and also rears sheep.
Her passion is raising birds and releasing them back into the wild but Lego is the first magpie she has had which is yet to truly fly the nest.
Lego, who will turn one this October, was adopted by Laura last year as a two-week-old chick after she was knocked out of her parents’ nest when they were attacked by other birds.
The teenager hand-raised the bird on kangaroo meat and mealworms and now the tame magpie will sit on her shoulder and lives in the house.
Laura said: “My passion is raising birds and then releasing them back into the wild.
“When we ended up with Lego she was only about two weeks old. Without me she would have been dead.
“I fed her by hand every four hours in the early days. She lived in my room and we were together 24/7 so we developed a close bond – now she follows me everywhere.
“You expect a magpie to come out with magpie noises, but she has never actually sounded like a magpie.
“I don’t think other magpies will ever accept her, because she does not know how to make their song. They would attack her.
The only things which won’t attack her are the chickens, she has made them her family.”