A severely malnourished and orphaned bear cub has been rescued in B.C.'s Boundary region, after it was found co-existing with hens inside a chicken coop.

The Northern Lights Wildlife Shelter in Smithers, B.C., was alerted to the cub's whereabouts on Sunday, after the tiny bear was seen on a farm in the village of Midway.

Tinsel the Bear

When found, Tinsel, as he's being called, weighed only 10 kilograms. A 10-month-old cub should have weighed close to 30 kilograms. (Northern Lights Wildlife Shelter)

Angelika Langen, who works with the shelter, said this was a first in the 23 years she's been rescuing animals.

"Usually they break into the chicken coops and eat the chickens, not eat with the chickens," Langen said.

It is thought the bear, now named Tinsel, was living in the coop for nearly five days.

When he arrived at the animal shelter on Christmas Eve, he was severely undernourished. The 10-month-old cub should have weighed close to 30 kilograms, but instead weighed less than 10.

Langen said it's likely the bear was alone and without its mother for at least two to three months.

"They're very good at finding each other again, so I'm more inclined to think something happened to the mother."

Langen said Tinsel is making a good recovery, starting with a special Christmas dinner.

"Porridge made with water and some honey. He loved it. Dove right into it and licked it all up."