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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In September of 2021, multiple crates of baby chickens fell off a truck making a sharp turn in transit to Kaporos sites in Brooklyn. Nearly 250 were injured and 30 were found dead. Amari, along with 9 other rescued chickens, now call Safe Haven home. Every year, an estimated 60,000 chickens suffer a gruesome death in a religious ritual in the streets of New York City. The compassionate folks at Animal Care Centers of NYC and the Alliance to End Chickens as Kaporos rushed to the scene of the accident to rescue the chicks, treat their injuries and find lifelong homes for them. We are grateful we were able to welcome ten of these babies (a.k.a the Brooklyn Bunch) to our sanctuary. We are featuring this little cutie for sponsorship. She is as sweet as she is gorgeous and would be grateful for your friendship. At Safe Haven, Amari and her friends will know nothing but kindness and compassion for the rest of their lives.
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.
The same day the “Brooklyn Bunch” arrived, Safe Haven welcomed this dapper fella to the family. He turned up in front of a Brooklyn resident’s apartment. There were no meat markets near her home but there was a nearby religious community that practiced the Kaporos ritual. She believes Jackson most likely skipped out of his enclosure and escaped. The kind lady set the little chicken up in the neighbor’s backyard with oats and cracked corn but wanted to find a “happier place” where the chick could enjoy “bugs, grass, and friends”. We agree! Jackson is living with his ten new chicken friends (the “Brooklyn Bunch”) at the sanctuary. He is super curious about his new human friends and can’t wait to greet our staff when they enter the aviary.
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 and a dapper rooster named Miller!
In June of 2022, Reba was rescued in Hyde Park where she was most likely dumped. The Dutchess County SPCA contacted us and asked if we could give her a home and we were happy to oblige.
This stunning beauty is an Appenzeller Spitzhauben hen which is the national breed of Switzerland. As you can see, Regina is quite unique and has a very fancy crest! Spitzhauben means lacy bonnet in Swiss and derives from a ceremonial hat worn by the women in the Appenzeller region in Switzerland. Regina was found in a box by a young man jogging in a park in Patterson, NJ early one morning during the summer of 2019. He took the sweet chicken home to his apartment and cared for her until he was able to find the perfect forever home for the sweet hen. Safe Haven stepped in and Regina is now enjoying life at our sanctuary. She is a friendly hen who often amuses staff members by hopping onto a shoulder or a knee for a little TLC time!
This little cutie was found by a young man on the streets of Brooklyn in the Summer of 2020. He took the sweet hen to his apartment to care for her but his landlord was furious. He told the young man he didn’t want “the dirty thing” in his building. The man put the hen in a crate and kept her on the roof of the building but was quite concerned about her and started his search for an appropriate home. We instructed him to contact a bird rescuer in Brooklyn who could care for the hen until she could arrange transport to Safe Haven. Rosie initially had problems eating and from her exam we feared she might have had a head injury. With time and care she was able to eat soft food and then able to eat pellets and vegetables. She is now venturing outdoors with her new hen friend Brooklyn who showed her how to enjoy pellets!
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 enables Salem and her hen friends (Goldie, Chocolate Chip, and Chickpea!) 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!