Our latest rescue, Bodhi, a Rhode Island Red rooster about 6 months old, was found on the side of the road on the Northwest side of Chicago on the chilly and snowy evening of December 19th, 2016. A good Samaritan was kind enough to scoop him up, contact us for help, and then bring him to nearby Niles Animal Hospital & Bird Medical Center where staff generously and lovingly treated and housed him for over three weeks gratis.
Upon examination, it was clear he suffered from severe frostbite on his wattle and comb as well as an injury to one of his feet. Still, staff were pleased at how well he seemed to come out of such a traumatic experience. Within just a few days, Bodhi was friendly, inquisitive, chatty and interacting with staff. Maria especially developed a special connection with him. In one funny video clip she sent us, Bhodi is enthusiastically enjoying some treats that Maria gave him.
Avian veterinarian, Dr. Jamie Abete, took on Bodhi’s case, using daily laser therapy, antibiotics, and pain medication to treat his frostbite. Since surgical removal of the frostbitten comb and wattle would have been risky, the hope was that with laser therapy and oral medications, the necrotic tissue would just fall off, which it did! Shortly into his treatment Dr. Abete was confident that Bodhi was on the road to recovery!
In the meantime, Free from Harm was making arrangements with Uplands PEAK Sanctuary in Indiana who eagerly offered to provide Bhodi with a forever home. But he was a good 5 hours away. So we reached out to our friends at Northern Illinois Transport Team (NITT) who we’ve turned to in the past for solutions to transport rescues to their forever homes. NITT found a private pilot who offered to fly Bhodi to PEAK after he was released from the hospital. And on Sunday, January 29, 2017, he made the flight to PEAK!
Bodhi received a very warm welcome from co-founders Michelle and Mark Pruitt at PEAK. Bodhi spent much of his first day there seemingly admiring himself in front of the mirror. It was quite possibly the first time he had ever seen his own reflection. He acclimated indoors in the beginning. According to a post on Upland PEAK’s Instagram page, Bodhi’s toe fragment fell off, a result of his severe frostbite, but it has healed over now so he can walk around outdoors again. Michelle even posted footage of Bodhi exploring the outdoors for the first time since arriving at PEAK.
The story of Bhodi makes it clear that for every hen that someone purchases for their backyard for eggs, there is an unwanted rooster somewhere. Most are destroyed at the hatchery along with millions of others or mistakenly sexed as a female and shipped along with someone’s order for hens. It is even possible that he was shipped from the hatchery as “packing material” by hatcheries who then refuse to take roosters back once their customers complain that they ordered only hens. In such cases, when the young rooster reaches 4 to 5 months and begins to crow, his owners will often abandon him to a cemetery or forest preserve.
This is one major reason why there is no such thing as humane eggs. For more details, see our egg fact sheet.