Annabella arrived at Roostersong Sanctuary in December 2008 with her four sisters.
Annabella was one of five factory farm hens adopted from the Humane Society in December of 2008. When I first brought the girls home to Roostersong Sanctuary they were a bedraggled bunch with patches of bare skin, scabbed combs and missing tails. I could not imagine what they must have been through before their rescue. Although they received good veterinary care before I adopted them they continued to have health issues related to their stressful early lives and one by one I lost four to reproductive organ failure (a common ailment with factory raised hens). The fifth hen, Annabella seemed determined to survive and she thrived with a vibrancy that was truly inspiring. Annabella loved to run and fly and I enjoyed witnessing her exuberance (she had a strange skipping motion when she ran due to her years of living crammed into a battery cage). It took a few years before she was comfortable being touched and I was so honored when she finally allowed me to hold her and stroke her feathers! She lived long enough to become friends with my recent factory rescue hens and in the evening they would be roosting together side by side in the coop. I have known and lost many birds over the years but this one did not make me sad. She had five extra years under our care and she lived them to the fullest. During her time with us I watched her blossom and gain trust. She taught me a lot about the resilience of the spirit and of finding the courage to rise above the limitations that are initially given us.
Annabella, fully feathered, enjoying the spring grass in 2009.
-Singing Luna 1/12/2013
Seed for thought: What is your earliest memory of feeling compassion toward someone?
Roosters are valuable guardians of the flock and will courageously keep predators away.
Chickens enjoy social interaction much like humans. Roosters contribute to an important natural social structure in the flock and perform certain “duties” which they take very seriously. Roosters will keep an instinctual eye out for predators and make a distinctive alarm call when danger is near. Contrary to the stereotype, they are also quite courageous in confronting creatures much larger and stronger than themselves to protect their flock. I have observed roosters escorting hens around the yard, finding food for them and partaking in communal dust baths. I have also noticed that a rooster will “attend” a hen when she goes into the nest to lay an egg. I am not exactly sure what transpires during this quiet interaction between the two, but he will stand attentively alongside the nest until the egg is laid. When the egg arrives he will jubilantly announce the event followed by the entire flock joining in the chorus.
Roosters have a certain call they give to tell hens that they have found food. Often they will stand aside and act as a look-out while the hen eats.
Roosters will keep a hen company while she is laying her egg.
-Singing Luna 12/10/2013
Seed for Thought: What valuable rooster behaviors have you observed in your flock?
Hens at the Marin Humane Society enjoy shelter, sunshine and gossip around the water cooler.
New residents of Roostersong Sanctuary are four hens adopted from the Marin Humane Society. These four girls originally came from a group of 3,000 birds that were rescued from a battery cage egg farm. Volunteers from Animal Place saved them from slaughter in spring of 2013 and they were brought to Rescue Ranch in Vacaville to recover. Along with Rescue Ranch several Humane Societies in California helped with the responsibility of finding homes for the hens. Some were even airlifted to sanctuaries on the east coast thanks to a kind-hearted and generous donor who paid for their airfare!
The hens Denise, Cynthia, Carole, and Addie (honoring four little girls who were killed on September 15th in a church bombing fifty years ago) came home to Roostersong Sanctuary in September. All four were lively and healthy thanks to the excellent care they received at Rescue Ranch and Marin Humane Society. It will take longer to heal the emotional scars caused by over-crowding and confinement. Any sudden movements will send them into a collective panic so I have learned to move in slow motion when I’m around them. One of them leaves me a beautiful white egg every day even though I have told them all that they are retired now and never have to lay another egg! The boys at Roostersong are quite smitten with the new residents (more about that later). It feels like a drop in the bucket to be able to give forever homes to only four out of 3,000 but at least for these lucky girls they will know how good life can really be.
Having arrived at their new forever home at Roostersong Sanctuary, Denise, Cynthia, Carole and Addie venture out to explore.
The hens free range and make friends with the other residents of the sanctuary.
For more information about adopting rescued hens go to:
See the documentary about the Four Little Girls the hens were named after:
-Singing Luna 11/28/2013
Seed for Thought: Have you ever taken an action which saved an animal’s life?