Chinese scientists are investigating a bizarre case in which a cockerel apparently started laying eggs after all the hens were eaten.

The birds owner Huang Li, 47, kept the rooster together with seven hens on his small farm at Chumiao village, Mengcheng city, in central China’s Anhui province.

He said that his family had been gradually eating the chickens over winter until only the rooster was left - and he was amazed when he went into the cage the next day to discover an egg.

He said: “I thought it was a joke and that one of my neighbours had put the egg in there for fun. But the next day there was another egg and so on the third day I waited - and was amazed when I saw that the rooster laid an egg.”

He said word quickly spread to the local TV station which did a story on the egg laying rooster and after that scientists from the local agricultural ministry office turned up and borrowed the rooster to carry out tests.

He said: “They want to find out if it was a hen all the time that simply looked like a rooster or whether it actually changed to become a hen as a result of the fact that all the females had vanished.

“All I can say is that it did a good job waking us up every morning like every other rooster and it certainly treated the hens as if it was a rooster.”          –ON