Emergency crews scrambled to round up dozens of chickens who escaped onto Highway 401 when a truck that was transporting them caught fire.

Mississauga chicken fire

A firefighter rounds up one of the many chickens that escaped their cages during the fire. (Tony Smyth/CBC)

The transport truck was carrying some 8,000 chickens when it caught fire around 2:45 a.m. on the westbound 401 near Mavis Road in Mississauga.

Firefighters managed to extinguish the blaze, which appeared to originate in the rear of the trailer.

Police officers and other first responders pulled chicken cages off the burning truck and tried to corral birds that were running free near the roadway.

Eventually, after several hours, the chickens were loaded onto a second truck and the roadway was reopened.

Police said an estimated 3,000 chickens died in the fire.