Chickens are social animals who can recognize their friends. They are loyal to each other and have been found 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. The stress associated with crowding and confinement makes the chickens peck at their neighbors and often cause bloody wounds. 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 at the factory farm they initially lived in.
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!
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Every year, we open our hearts and arms to baby chickens rescued from the inhumane ritual that takes place on the streets of Brooklyn. The chickens are used as symbols of atonement in a cruel ceremony where they are grabbed by their fragile wings and legs, swung overhead, and then killed or left for dead. Chickens sit in packed trucks without food or water for a day or two before the rituals even begin and many die from exposure, dehydration, and malnutrition while waiting. After the ritual, they are left on the streets or in trash cans like garbage. Because of the actions of compassionate activists from The Alliance to End Kaporos, hundreds of these baby chickens were rescued and found forever homes. Camila arrived in October of 2023 along with her friends Spirit, Erin and Rambo. They have found a safe place to land at Safe Haven and will never know fear or pain again. These precious baby chickens are ambassadors for those who will never get the chance to live a free and peaceful life, surrounded by humans who love and care for them. We are immensely grateful to the team of rescuers, foster parents and volunteers who made it possible for these little ones to come home to the Safe Haven.
This little rooster was a school project intended to raise awareness for students who don’t have access to a farm. The coop where Casper (previously known as Popcorn) lived was on the Upper West Side in NYC. Once he started cock-a-doodle-dooing, the neighbors complained about the noise! The teachers and students wanted to keep him but the threat was that animal control would come, take him and euthanize him. They realized they were going to have to find him a home where he could be free to live the life of a rooster and crow to his heart’s content. We welcomed Casper to the sanctuary in December of 2022. He is small in stature and puts up a tough exterior but is actually a softy that loves to be picked up and cuddled. He is living happily with our “bachelor flock”.
This incredibly striking rooster joined our family in late August of 2022. A family bought 6 baby chicks and Ember was the only rooster. Due to neighbor complaints and town codes, they were no longer able to keep him. Fortunately, we had room in our “bachelor pad” – an area designated for roosters only at our sanctuary.
Ember’s name certainly suits him – he has a fiery personality but also has a warm, soothing side. He enjoys belly rubs from his human friends and is referred to as the “sweetest rooster of all”!
Forrest arrived in the Fall of 2021 along with two other roosters named Skip and Snow. The roosters came from a New Jersey farm and were scheduled for slaughter because the law for having roosters in that area changed. The people who had the farm needed to remove the roosters quickly in order to avoid being fined. We are glad we were able to provide the three roosters friends with a safe place to land. Sadly, Snow and Skip passed away from health issues. We are happy to report that Forrest is thriving with the “bachelor flock” of roosters at Safe Haven. He is a shy fella but he is coming out of his shell thanks to the gentle care of his human friends.
In April, 2018 we received an urgent email. Ten young hens who had been used in experiments in a lab in Georgia were going to be euthanized if a home couldn’t be found by the next morning. The lab had already euthanized some of the chickens who couldn’t be placed in time. Time was running out and all the local sanctuaries were full. We hurried to make them a cozy space. These hens have a zest for life and love interacting with our other animals. They especially love to hang out with the goats and go for rides on their backs. It warms our hearts to see them enjoying life on the farm.
The Iowa Girls
The pandemic caused a catastrophic reality for all farm animals. The closure of egg laying farms and meat plants due to the coronavirus means “depopulation and disposal” of millions of chickens and livestock using horrific and inhumane methods. In June of 2020, we learned about a large CAFO going out of business in Iowa and the many egg laying hens residing there who needed help. These hens live a life of torture spending their lives crammed in small battery cages until they stop laying eggs and are no longer “useful”. With the pandemic, their demise was due to come even sooner with the sickening process to “mass kill and discard” these living beings. Safe Haven joined the massive rescue effort by many sanctuaries across the country to save these hens. We stepped in to provide 17 of these hens with their forever home! Due to the dismal life they endured, they require much rehabilitation. We are happy to report that they are enjoying their large aviary and the feel of grass beneath their feet for the first time in their lives.
This stunning hen arrived in October of 2020. She came from a home in a nearby town where the rest of the flock had been killed by a coyote. She survived by hiding from the predator. Her caretaker was traumatized by the experience and felt it would be best to find her sweet hen a home where she would be safe and protected. Safe Haven to the rescue! Jet is living happily with a handsome rooster named Brando and several friendly hens.
In April 0f 2021, Kai was found as a baby, all alone wandering around Prospect Park in Brooklyn searching for something to eat. Unfortunately, there are always a tremendous number of abandoned chicks after the Easter holiday. Thankfully for Kai, he was rescued and brought to safety. He has grown to be quite the handsome, dapper fella! He is surrounded by a fun and active group of hen friends and enjoying life at our sanctuary. We are thankful for Kai’s rescuers and for the opportunity and privilege to care for this sweet rooster.
Lily is one of six sweet little white chickens who came to Safe Haven in September of 2020 after being rescued from the Kaporos ritual in Brooklyn, NY. They were tiny and very young, weighing only about 2 lbs each. Although they had their adult white feathers, they “peeped” quietly like baby chicks. Born on a factory farm in huge windowless sheds holding tens of thousands of birds, they were then transported hundreds of miles to Brooklyn. They sat in packed trucks without food or water for a day or two before the ritual started. They were fortunate to escape slaughter in the street. At Safe Haven, they are living a free and happy life and will never know fear or pain again. They are growing up fast and, as you can see, Lily loves the camera. She is quite a beauty and loves to follow her human friends around!
Maple (formerly named Chicklet) was rescued by the girlfriend of a dairy farmer in MA. She was given a week to find the hen a home. She cared for the hen in her house for several months. She used diapers for the sweet chicken but felt that living in a house was not ideal. We welcomed her in September of 2021 and named her Maple for her lovely rich brown color. She loves people and immediately welcomes you when you enter her aviary. She quickly made friends with her new hen family.
Mushroom was a backyard chicken and because he turned out to be a rooster, his owners had to find him a new home due to restrictions in their town. We welcomed this adorable little fella to our sanctuary family in October of 2022.
He is a Silkie breed which is known for their fluffy plumage which feels like silk! Mushroom is silly, independent and friendly. He loves to greet staff when they enter his area. He is living happily with our “bachelor” flock.
This sweet petite hen came from Belmont Racetrack. Paulina (a.k.a. Pollita) was found by a compassionate lady who worked at the racetrack. She brought her to the property to join the other chickens living there who were hatched in an incubator. There were multiple chickens free roaming the property until the New York Racing Association decided that it could be a safety hazard for the horses and for the people who worked there to have the chickens walking around. As a result, the association sent people to the racetrack to remove the chickens from the property, likely to be killed. The lady who found Paulina hid her in her office! She wanted to find her a forever home where she could live a free and happy life with other chickens. Safe Haven to the rescue! We welcomed Paulina to our family in November of 2022.
In June of 2022, Reba was rescued in Hyde Park. Her history is a mystery. It is likely that she was dumped. The Dutchess County SPCA contacted us and asked if we could give her a home and we were happy to oblige.
Reba is enjoying life at Safe Haven. She loves exploring her aviary with her new hen friends. She is a bit shy, but she will run over if she knows you have a tasty treat!
This lovely hen lived next door to the man who rescued her in Croton-on-Hudson, NY. Ruby resided with other egg laying hens. Once she stopped laying eggs, the owner of the chickens mentioned his intention to kill her and eat her. The compassionate man asked his neighbor if he could find a place for Ruby to live and the owner was receptive to the idea. Safe Haven to the rescue! We welcomed this friendly chicken in the spring of 2017. Ruby is a stunning hen with a unique combination of black and brown feathers. She is a breed called Barnevelder originating from the Barneveld region of Holland. The Dutch breed is so well-known in the region that the name Barnevelder is synonymous with the word chicken. They are known for the unique color of their eggs described as dark “chocolate” brown.
Sometimes farm animals come to the sanctuary, not from an abusive situation, but because their human caretaker realizes they just can’t protect their animals even though they love them. This was the case for Salem and 3 other sweet hens from a nearby county. They were cared for by a teenage girl who loved them very much.
However, a predator got into the chicken house and killed several of her hens. She decided to give up her remaining hens since she couldn’t adequately protect them. Her unselfish and brave gesture gave Salem and her hen friends a chance to live a life free from harm here at our sanctuary. We welcomed them to Safe Haven in the spring of 2018. Note that Salem is a “Frizzle” chicken! The breed has characteristic curled or “frizzled” plumage!
This sweet boy was rescued in 2019 when he and 5 other tiny chickens were found at the end of a Kaporos ritual and were going to be thrown out. We received a desperate call from a compassionate individual who rescued them. Safe Haven welcomed the babies with open arms. They were tiny and weak, all weighing about 3 lbs. and were “peeping” as baby chicks do. Skylar is an ambassador for all the chickens who never get to live a free and peaceful life. He is a resilient and valiant rooster. He has faced ongoing medical issues with his feet but he doesn’t allow his challenges to stop him from enjoying his days snuggled in the grass and enjoying the sunshine.
Tommy is an incredibly friendly, sweet rooster who was rescued from Kaporos. He had a severe case of coccidia and couldn’t walk. He was fostered and given the medical treatment he required. Once cleared from coccidia, we were able to welcome him to his new home at Safe Haven. Sadly, Tommy continued to have difficulty standing and walking. X-rays revealed previous injuries to his spine. We provided him with supportive care including vitamin and mineral supplements and extra B12 to help with nerve recovery. He has made substantial progress and now lives with a group of friendly chickens also rescued from the Kaporos ritual.