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What’s the Point of Keeping a Hen Who Cannot Lay Eggs?

A few years ago, I adopted a hen about whom I knew very little except that a farmer did not want her anymore because she had stopped laying eggs. The rest of her past was a mystery, but clearly her life before we adopted her had not been a good one. For one thing, her physical condition was harsh. Her feathers were scant and coarse to the touch. She had been badly debeaked at some point, making it impossible for her to pick up seeds from the ground. Continue reading

Galliano: Our Little Bantam Rooster Rescue

I brought home our rescue Galliano, and for the next four weeks, he was my closest companion, following me everywhere around the house, perching on my arm or shoulder while I worked, napping peacefully on my side while watching TV, and even calling out to me from the bottom of the staircase and then climbing the stairs to find me! Continue reading

Ginger and Fred: Two Lucky Ducks!

In the first week of May, Red Door Animal Shelter notified us that they had rescued two Pekin ducks, a bonded couple, who were now in need of a permanent home. Red Door found the pair as tiny little ducklings, wandering the city streets shortly after Easter. They spent about three weeks at the shelter and were examined by the avian vets at Midwest Exotics. Continue reading

A Mother At Last

In a natural environment, chicks would spend much of their first weeks of life peeping out from under their mother’s wings, or exploring by her side, feeling nurtured and protected. But chicks raised for eggs and meat rarely know their mother’s warmth, or experience the sense of security and belonging they instinctively seek. Instead, they are hatched by the hundreds of thousands in massive industrial incubator drawers stacked ceiling to floor. Shortly thereafter, they are slaughtered. Rhonda and Popeye were luckier. Continue reading

The Chicken Chronicles Part II: From Battery Cage to Sanctuary

The poultry industry represents chickens bred for food as mentally vacuous, eviscerated organisms. Hens bred for commercial egg production are said to be suited to a caged environment, with no need for personal space or normal foraging and social activity. They are characterized as aggressive cannibals who, notwithstanding their otherwise mindless passivity and affinity for cages, cannot live together in a cage without first having a portion of their sensitive beaks burned off – otherwise, it is said, they will tear each other up. Continue reading

Injured Chicken Found in Chicago Alley

The circumstances surrounding our latest rescue, an injured chicken we named Peter, remain largely a mystery. What we do know is that he was found all alone and motionless in an alley in a Northwest Chicago neighborhood, about 10 blocks from a live poultry market / slaughterhouse at Devon and Western Avenues. We know he was a Red Ranger breed of chicken, a breed commonly raised for chicken flesh products. We know that when he was discovered in the alley, he was severely injured and unable to move. Continue reading

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