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Ezra The Rooster: The Little Chicken Who Could!

Everyone has been asking about Ezra the rooster! It’s been more than two months since Ezra’s life-saving rescue and emergency medical treatment at Niles Animal Hospital. As some of you know who have been following his story, Ezra the rooster lost his feet and a portion of one of his legs to gangrene and frostbite. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the circumstances under which Ezra was found, please check out his incredible rescue story first. Continue reading

Chicken Rescue Alert: Give to Lucinda in Her Time of Need

Please help us raise $750 for our Chicken Rescue Fund to cover Lucinda’s medical care. Lucinda was the fragile little hen we rescued in the Summer of 2012 from the brink of starvation — with a severe beak deformity and infested with biting lice — who miraculously bounced back to health over the course of the months to follow and has been enjoying a good life in our care. But the other day, we discovered she faces a new and urgent health crisis. Lucinda is producing very large eggs that are too big to pass through her small pelvis. Continue reading

Ezra, the Chicken Who Survived the Most Unbelievable Odds, Needs You!

Ezra is a strikingly handsome black rooster who was found in a cemetery by police after an eyewitness discovered him half-buried in the snow in front of a headstone. His legs were tightly bound with rope, to which had also been tied a small doll, ribbons, and a piece of fatty, raw meat. Ezra was likely the victim of a ritual sacrifice. Continue reading

Esperanza: Story of a Rescued Broiler Chicken

This 2-minute video features our latest rescue, Esperanza. Esperanza is a Cornish Rock hen raised for her flesh. We believe she escaped or fell of a transport truck on her way to the slaughterhouse and found herself stranded in a forest preserve where she was discovered, being chased and tormented by a cat on a cold winter day. Since we later learned that she could barely walk, it’s all the more amazing that she survived all of this. Continue reading

Meet Louise: Free from Harm’s Latest Rescued Chicken

Louise is Free from Harm‚’s latest hen rescue. We responded to a call from Chicago Animal Control and Care who found her on the streets of Chicago. She has a beak deformity from having been debeaked earlier in her life. She has already been successfully treated for an upper respiratory infection and biting lice. She’s active, alert and eating well, though still frail, underweight and may have a crop (digestion) issue that the vet will need to check on. Continue reading

A Chicken Journey to Safety Rather than Death

When a sanctuary spends $50,000 of its hard-earned donations to transport 1,150 “spent” egg-laying chickens who have seen nothing but the inside of a battery cage across the country to give them a second chance at life, some people say things like, “it should be illegal,” or “what a waste of resources” or “are these people crazy?” But when the poultry industry spends millions shipping live chicks in the mail and makes a big profit on their lives to boot, no one has a problem with that. Continue reading

Sanctuaries Teach Us What Farms Can’t

Visiting a sanctuary is a vastly different experience than visiting a farm. Farms value animals to the extent that they produce a profitable product via their flesh, mammary gland secretions or ovulation. Visiting animals on farms does not produce any “breakthrough” in our understanding of animals. On the contrary, most people simply walk away from a farm reaffirming what they have been taught: animals don’t object to being used as “resources.” It’s natural and sanctified by ancient traditions. Continue reading

Virtual Chicken Sanctuary: Next Best Thing to Being There

We believe it is vitally important for people to connect with living, happy animals who have been rescued from commercial farming. Seeing these animals in a sanctuary environment allows people to understand the animals’ true natures and to observe them as individuals who lead rich and complex lives, when permitted to thrive. In short, witnessing animals in a sanctuary setting “re-sensitizes” and “reprograms” our minds. In the process, we rediscover the wonder and empathy we had for animals as children, before we were taught not to care. Continue reading

A Female Chicken Befriends a Male Pitbull

Lucinda, our latest rescue found last month on the brink of starvation, has been rehabilitating at the home of one of our rescue heroines, Melissa Summer Pena. Lucinda’s getting stronger and healthier each day, and as she progresses, her personality is really starting to blossom. She’s taken quite a fondness for Melissa, following her all around the house and talking to her all the while. And she’s even taken to one of Melissa’s dogs, Travis! Continue reading

Sweet Pea: The Life of an Egg Laying Chicken

Some of you may recall that our wonderful hen Sweet Pea needed to have exploratory surgery in March to determine the cause of a large and growing mass in her abdomen. Fortunately it was not a tumor, but the news was nevertheless sobering. An egg had ruptured through her oviduct and into her abdomen. Her liver was very enlarged and damaged and masses of fatty tissue were forming around it — a condition called fatty liver disease. Weeks after the surgery, the swelling and redness began to come back and worsen. Yesterday we took her back the vet again. Learn more about Sweet Pea’s condition and how you can help. Continue reading

A Tribute to Edith the Chicken Who Survived the Trash

In her short life, Edith experienced the kindest and cruelest of humanity. She clearly judged people she encountered as individuals, trusting and bonding with us as her new caregivers immediately, even after someone cruelly discarded her like trash. But the kind person who rescued her offered her a second chance. The least we can do is acknowledge that animals like Edith are also individuals. And perhaps we can learn a valuable lesson from her as well — that we too should judge others (both human and non human animals) as individuals. Continue reading

Lucinda, Latest Chicken Rescue Needs Urgent Medical Attention

Our heroine, Melissa Summer Pena, rescued Lucinda today from Chicago Animal Control and Care (a kill shelter), describing her as the sickest looking bird she’s seen. In addition to being severely underweight, emaciated, drooping her head and eyes closed, she has a terrible biting mite infection. She’s been treated with mite powder and needs to see the vet in the morning. Lucinda’s beak has also been amputated, a common practice by egg farmers. Continue reading

Chicken Rescuer Says Hens from New Colony Cages as Damaged as Those from Battery Cages

My personal opinion and that of people I know who have rescued enriched colony caged hens is that there is no difference in health between the battery and colony caged hens. I also believe from evidence I have seen that there is not much difference between barn versus free range hens either. Because of the laws, free range hens can be kept indoors in barns with not much room to move around (like broiler chickens), and this is marketed as “free range.” Continue reading

Edith: Latest Rescued Chicken, Found in a Plastic Bag on a Busy Street

I got a call from a Facebook friend that a chicken had been found in a plastic bag on the street near another Chicago poultry market — still alive, as if she were just trash. The kind young man named Javier who’d first taken her home realized, after a few weeks, that he could not properly provide for her as a companion in his apartment. Please read the details of her story and consider making a tax-deductible donation to help her out. Continue reading

Sanctuary Life Reveals Who Chickens Really Are

I had an unexpected visit from a new neighbor and her two children who were really interested in meeting the Free from Harm chickens. The mother, Joanna, had taken her children to a working farm called Prairie Crossing where they have “free range” organically-raised hens. This gave them an opportunity to compare what life is like for chickens on a small organic working farm to my backyard urban sanctuary, as I like to call it. Continue reading

Beyond Eggs: Why I Keep Backyard Chickens

People often ask me why I have chickens. “Is it for the eggs?,” they ask. Now of course, what this question implies is that there is no other value to chickens than the eggs they produce. In fact, I find people far more interested in the fancy colors and sizes of chicken eggs than I do about the birds who lay them. Isn’t that interesting? We’re a culture that is fascinated with objects. And the egg is perhaps the most poignant symbol of fertility in many cultures, including our own. And in a way, this symbol has distracted us from something much more important which I hope to touch on here. Continue reading