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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Bogie arrived in the Fall of 2016. He began life in a middle school hatching project. A teacher had ordered six fertilized eggs from a company to show students how chickens hatch and grow. But the teacher hadn’t thought about what to do with the chicks when the school year ended.
Fortunately, a parent got in touch with an animal lover who contacted our farm animal sanctuary, and we adopted the chicks. Although these chicks were lucky, most chicks raised in school hatching projects are destined to have an unhappy ending. The schools are often unable to find anyone willing to assume responsibility for caring for the chicks throughout their lifetime. Chicks are sent back to the company they were purchased from, and they are killed. Parents should encourage their children’s school administrators to stop participating in egg hatching projects.
Chava and another very young broiler chicken were given up by a well known rabbi during the Kaporos ritual in Brooklyn in 2012. The rabbi named one of the little hens Chava which means “life.” We were thrilled to welcome Chava and her friend to Safe Haven where they could live out their lives in peace, able to wander in the grass and take dust baths and enjoy life as chickens were meant to do.
Chava is a gentle chicken but a real fighter as well. Some time ago, she developed a serious skin infection. We rushed her to the vet who wanted to euthanize her but we said no. We gave her daily skin cleaning and bandaging along with antibiotics for nearly 3 months, which she tolerated calmly and made our job easy. We were so excited to see beautiful new white feathers start to grow, and soon she was her lovely self again.
Chava has had other medical problems during her long life, mostly the result of the terrible overbreeding and breeding for obesity in broiler chickens, but she enjoys life to the fullest, pecking in the dirt and grass and taking dust baths or sunbathing with her friends. She is an example to all of us and an ambassador for the 60-80,000 broider chickens needlessly slaughtered during the kaporos ritual each year.
This brave hen was found in NYC in March, 2018 not far from a slaughter house and was named Courage by the kind woman who rescued her. She chose this name in honor of Courage the bull who escaped from a slaughter house in Queens last year. Sadly, the bull died in the shelter where he was being held.
Although Courage the bull’s story did not have a happy ending, Courage the hen is an ambassador for this brave bull and all abused farm animals.
Eden arrived in the Fall of 2015. He is a broiler chicken. Broilers are bred to get very fat easily since they are slaughtered at a few months of age. Eden was lucky. He was rescued with 4 other baby chickens from a religious ritual in Brooklyn where more than 60,000 young broiler chickens are killed every year.
Even with the best of care, broiler chickens suffer from all the problems associated with obesity in humans—heart disease, arthritis, foot infections and pressure sores. Although Eden is on a strict diet, like all our broiler chickens, and gets weighed monthly, he developed an infection in one of the bones in his foot, requiring daily antibiotics for 2 months and several visits to the vet. We are so happy he recovered completely, and we are thrilled to be able to provide him with a forever home.
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.
Hudson is one remarkable little hen. She was found on the Henry Hudson Parkway in the Bronx in January, 2018. The man who rescued her said a hawk was flying away with the hen and dropped her. Her feathers were in poor condition and her beak has been severely cut – indications that she probably spent her early life in a cramped cage on a factory farm.
When her egg production waned, she most 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!
This friendly rooster arrived in May of 2018. Patrick was rescued by a compassionate man in Brooklyn. He was spotted in front of a live market in a truck full of chickens. He escaped from the crate and was sitting on the edge of one of the boxes! The kind man scooped him up and took him back to his house – the first step in Patrick’s trip to freedom!
He is now “home” at Safe Haven and spends his days happily exploring with his new friends. Note: We initially thought Patrick was a hen until the morning he greeted us with an enthusiastic cock-a-doodle-doo!
In July, 2018, a compassionate woman found this little hen afraid and alone on the Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn, NY and knew she must have escaped a live meat market. She scooped her up and brought her back to her city apartment. Had she been left in the busy city streets of Brooklyn, she would have likely been killed in traffic or picked up by someone for their dinner.
The woman reached out to Safe Haven, and we opened our arms and our hearts to this sweet little hen. Pepper will now spend her days exploring the farm, taking dust baths and enjoying life with her new feathered friends.
Sunny arrived in the Fall of 2017. This adorable bundle of white feathers is Sunny. She was found outside a poultry market in Queens by three young adults on their way to breakfast. They contacted Safe Haven at 6:45 am one Sunday morning. A few hours later, they arrived with a precious “peep”. At a factory farm, Sunny would be called a “broiler chicken” who would be destined for slaughter at just six weeks old.
We are so glad that Sunny is living the free and happy life she deserves here at Safe Haven. Sunny enjoys her days wandering through the grass and taking dust baths.