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!
Meet Hudson, one remarkable hen!
In January 2018, this sweet chicken survived a harrowing experience. A father and son were driving on the Henry Hudson Parkway in the Bronx and spotted a chicken in the middle of the road. They pulled over as soon as they could. A few other drivers also saw the chicken and stopped to help – one mentioned a hawk was flying away with the chicken and dropped her! The father and son were the only ones willing to take her and returned with the hen to their home in Mt. Vernon. They searched the internet for farm sanctuaries, found Safe Haven and drove to us with the chicken the following day.
When the hen arrived, we gave her food and water but she did not have much of an appetite. She was eager to rest in a straw nest under the heat lamp. Within a few days, her appetite improved and her activity level increased. After a brief time in quarantine, and clearance by the vet, she joined a group of 3 friendly hens! Her feathers were in very poor condition and her beak has been severely cut – indications that she most likely spent her early life in a cramped cage on a factory farm. When her egg production waned, she likely was sent to a live market. We believe she escaped the market and was on the loose when she was snatched by the hawk. She is a true survivor! Here at Safe Haven, Hudson is “home” and will never have to live another day in fear.
Edna is a lucky bantam hen. She was found in a small cage with no food or water by a caring man on his way to work. With temperatures in the 20’s, she might not have survived for long. The man contacted Safe Haven and we were pleased to welcome this sweet hen to our farm family. She joined some friendly hens here at the farm and will never have to worry about being in a cage again.