Chickens are social animals who can recognize their friends. They are loyal to each other and have been tested to be more intelligent than a three-year old human. A normal, wild hen will lay about 20 eggs per year, not the 260 eggs per year that she lays in captivity (with terrible physical results). Mother hens teach their chicks how to be chickens: how to dust their feathers to keep clean, where to find food, how to take a sunbath. She makes different sounds to alert her brood to dangers. The bonds she makes with her chicks can last a lifetime.
Compare this life to life at a factory farm for eggs, where 4-10 chickens are kept in a space the size of a filing cabinet. They cannot stretch their wings, they don’t have nests as a place to lay their eggs, and they never see sunlight. Of course, these chickens get a bit cranky and peck at their closely confined neighbors. As a result, farmers “debeak” chickens, cutting off the sensitive beaks and causing severe pain (similar to cutting of a human’s lips). Some of the chickens at Safe Haven have been debeaked, resulting in chronic pain.
We hope you get to spend some quiet time with our chickens. You will begin to notice that they have different personalities – each is a someone, not a something!
Amos was rescued by a compassionate person in a nearby town. The little rooster had a deformed leg and was being chased and pecked by 4 other roosters who lived in the yard. The little rooster would run under the man’s deck where if he was lucky he would be able to eat some cat food and would only come out of his hiding place at night.
The owner agreed to give up the rooster if the man could find a home. Fearing that the little rooster’s life was at stake, we eagerly welcomed him to Safe Haven. The vet found him to be in good health but because his owner had neglected his leg abnormality for so long, it could no longer be repaired.
Amos gets around pretty well, however, and has joined a group of hens. This is the first time in his life that Amos has not feared for his life. He will be able to live at Safe Haven enjoying the company of other chickens, taking dirt baths and resting in the warm sun like chickens should be able to do.
Beyoncé is a beautiful Plymouth Rock hen who escaped from a live market in Brooklyn and hid in a nearby vacant lot surrounded by a high chain link fence. She survived there for nearly two weeks until she was rescued by some caring humans who brought her to Safe Haven. Here she will be able to enjoy life and never be afraid again.
Her rescuers named her Beyoncé because she is from Brooklyn and she is a survivor!
Big Red ran out of a live market in Queens practically into the waiting arms of an off-duty NYC policewoman who was walking by. She took Big Red home to her apartment and then brought the little rooster to Safe Haven. When Big Red arrived, he was just a tiny chick.
Over the next few months Big Red surprised us all by growing into a handsome, huge rooster. He is now the largest rooster at Safe Haven.
This colorful little bantam rooster was left at a local park by a petting zoo, who decided that it would be easier to replace him than to try and catch him. Luckily, we were able to come to his rescue before a hungry animal found him.
Although shy at first, Burdock has become more comfortable around his human companions and enjoys spending his time hanging out with his new friend Kate.
Lucy was rescued in September 2011 by two compassionate graduate students. She had been packed into a crate with other chickens awaiting a Kaporos ritual in Brooklyn and had numerous cuts and injuries and an infected foot. The young men took her home and nursed her back to health in their apartment, but the landlord threatened to not renew their lease if the students didn’t get the chicken out of the apartment. Safe Haven came to the rescue, and on November 1, 2011, Lucy was welcomed with open arms by owners Bill and Ellen and caretakers Karen and Mary.
Despite her orthopedic problems, Lucy has flourished at Safe Haven. She can’t do everything that she wishes—her legs are too twisted to roost well—but she enjoys foraging about and resting with our rooster and another hen.
Kaporos, or chicken swinging, is a custom among a few Orthodox Jewish sects, dating back to the Middle Ages. Practitioners swing chickens by their legs or their wings over their heads to transfer their sins onto the bird. During the ritual, the chickens cry out in terror and pain as their tiny bones break. United Poultry Concerns has helped draw attention on this cruel ritual and is working with a group of dedicated New York City activists, including members of the Orthodox Jewish communities, to end the practice (see www.endchickensaskaporos.com).
The ritual is cruel, but it is no crueler than the standard treatment of chickens on factory farms in the U.S.
In the frigid temperatures of February 2011, Reginald, a young rooster, escaped from a live meat market in Yonkers but quickly found his way to Safe Haven.
Reggie is a very lucky boy! Since roosters can’t lay eggs and there is little desire for their meat, most roosters born on factory farms are separated from female chicks and suffocated or thrown into a grinder within a few days of life. A few end up on small farms or in live markets where their days are numbered. Those lucky enough to be rescued often have trouble finding a permanent home. Reggie will be an ambassador for farmed animals everywhere whose survival depends solely on their economic value.
Here at Safe Haven, Reggie will have the chance to live the life he was meant to have, and we are thrilled to be able to be a part of it.
Stuart escaped from a live market in New Jersey, chased by the butcher. A compassionate young woman rescued him from under her car and took Stuart home to her apartment where he lived comfortably for two months. She realized an apartment was no place for a rooster and called Safe Haven.
Stuart is a brave but very lucky rooster. He escaped at just the right time to be rescued by a compassionate and generous young person. Roosters are often killed at birth since there is hardly any market for them (as males, they don’t lay eggs!). The few who survive rarely find permanent homes since many communities hae ordinances prohibiting roosters.