Beth, Collen and their 22 strong feathered family – a month of glorification of the chicken

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Hello my name is Beth and my son’s name is Collen. I am a disabled stay at home mother, and he’s a ninth grader at Jay High School.  He is fourteen years old.  We both have many hobbies that we enjoy separately and together but our favourite one to enjoy together is raising our backyard flock of pet chickens.

Where in the world are you?

We live in Jay, Oklahoma USA

How many chickens do you have?  

Currently 22, plus 2 guinea keets.

Chicken names?

We have Punkin a cinnamon queen that Collen found in the parking lot of a convenience store next to our local poultry plant.  She was so grateful to be rescued she follows Collen everywhere he goes.  There is Silas, currently our only rooster who was brought home by my son in a paper grocery sack.  Our older hens: Dactyl, my son’s black australorp/white leghorn cross, Huberta, a buff orpington/ RIR cross, two barred rocks, Chat Chat and Fluffy Butt, 2 Easter Eggers, named Buttercup and Miss Puffy Blue.  Then there’s a partridge rock pullet named Justine, a silver lace Wyandotte pulled named Piper, 6 Austra White pullets, only two of which have names and those are Houdina and Agatha.  And 6 more barred rock pullets, named Harley, Miss Derp, Slendina, Chit Chat, and two yet to be named.  We haven’t named these because we can’t tell them apart and are still trying to think of some. The guineas’ names are Joshua and Katie.

How do you spend quality time with your chicken/ chickens?

I let them free range for a couple of hours every day in the backyard under close supervision. I am with them the whole time, watching them.  

What has surprised you most about your chicken/ chickens?

How intelligent they are.

What do you want to tell people out there (who don’t know chickens as a species) about chickens?  

They are very intelligent, sensitive creatures, with a highly socialized “government” system of their own, with few problems. They also have a unique language of their own that a person can translate and understand if you are around them long enough.

How do you know that your chickens recognize you over and above other people in their lives?

They ignore others or won’t let others pick them up but since I am the lady who dispenses the treats and gives them individual attention when they go to roost, I think they understand that I’m the person who cares for them.  There are certain ones that tolerate me but are enamoured to my son instead.

In your experience of keeping chickens as pets, what 10 non-negotiable factors do you believe need to be in place to give chickens a life that is physically, emotionally and mentally healthy?

1. Don’t discount the value of a rooster.  They can and do make good pets too.

2. There are plenty of delicious egg and meat substitutes out there.  I can’t think of any others.

If you could say one thing, on behalf of chickens in the world, to the decision makers in your country, what would that one thing be?

Eliminate battery cages and factory farming entirely.

Zoe and her 85 chickens at Happy Hen Chicken Rescue – A month of glorification of the chicken

zoe pizap com10 73400954389944671396472382470Hello , my name is Zoe Rosenberg (from Happy Hen Chicken Rescue).  I am a vegan animal rights activist and spend my days saving the lives of abused farmed animals. My favorite quote is: “Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens.” — J.R.R. Tolkien. I love this quote, because it reminds me that I must continue no matter what lies ahead, I must rescue and stand up for the abused farm animals, I must.

Where in the world are you?

We are located in California, in the United States of America.

How many chickens do you have?

I have 85 wonderful chickens.


They are all named and loved, but I won’t name them all since we have so many, I’ll name a few: Rosanna, Stella, Dorothy, Billina, Sinatra, and Nanna are a few of our beloved chickens.

How do you spend quality time with your chickens?

I make sure to hold a few chickens every day, I give them lot’s of treats, and make sure they all know they are loved as individuals.

What has surprised you most about your chickens?

Before I had chickens, I didn’t know how amazing they are. They are intelligent, curious, loving, and all together the best! They are just as awesome as dogs and cats.

What do you want to tell people out there (who don’t know chickens as a species) about chickens?

I don’t think that chickens, or any animals, deserve to be subjected to pain for human’s pleasures.

How do you know that your chickens recognize you over and above other people in their lives?

When I walk to my chicken coop, all my chickens come running, they are so excited, but if I bring a stranger, they stop short. They hesitate to continue, they consider whether they should trust, or not trust.

In your experience of keeping chickens as pets, what 10 non-negotiable factors do you believe need to be in place to give chickens a life that is physically, emotionally and mentally healthy?

I think that chickens need lots of room to roam, the proper food (layer pellets or crumbles), perches, a clean coop, a predator-proof coop, fresh and clean water, some kind of greens in their diet (ex: lettuce, grass), shade from the sun, nesting boxes (if you have hens), and someone to love them and care for them.

If you could say one thing, on behalf of chickens in the world, to the decision makers in your country, what would that one thing be?

If I could say one thing about chickens to decision makers in this world, that one thing would be that chickens are not food, or egg laying machines, but special individuals that deserve the same rights as dogs and cats.

Irena, Cookie, Eagle, Magician and the rest of the flock (feathered, furred and human)! – A month of the glorification of the chicken


Hello, my name is Irena and I live on the tiny island of Malta, roughly between Sicily and the northern coast of Africa.

I always wanted to be a scientist – a computational linguist, to be exact, but I think I understand at last why such an opportunity never presented itself after my graduation – maybe it was so that I would have a chance to meet chickens, fall in love with them, realize their plight and start helping them and fighting for them. In fact, I had already become a vegetarian thanks to a chicken many moons ago, but it is for the past 3 years that I’ve really had a chance to live with them and find out how absolutely amazing they are. Until recently employed as a customer service agent and translator with a large international company, now a new stay at home mommy, my heart is shared between my human family and that of our feathered (and also furry) sweethearts.

We have over fifty chickens which may sound like an enormous number but I’ve had to learn to care not for just one pet like I used to, but to try and look into the eyes of each and every member of our big family to make sure every individual is feeling well and nothing is bothering them. We have a few pure bred chickens who we take to shows occasionally, but the majority of our family are mixed. We also take in ex-battery hennies when we have such opportunities and our oldest so far was Zita who passed away at 7 years of age. We also occasionally take in other people’s unwanted chickens and have rescued some from the streets too. My dream is to open an official poultry sanctuary some day because God knows there is a need for one!

Most of our chickens have names (how else!) and quite a few of them know them very well, too (and run to us when called). Actually a lot of consideration goes into naming them – apart from a few names given for fun (such as our big old Aseel rooster who we named Eagle, or the little naked neck boy named Magician, or a hen named Cookie because she looked like a cinnamon cookie when she was born). But most of them somehow get human names because they are so like little people.

Quality time with our chickens is first and foremost about distribution of treats (which we, and our veggie vendors, and my colleagues at the office and just about everyone else around us now calls “chicken yummies” – any leftover veggies or bread that they can eat) – that keeps them busy and out of trouble (straying away, overmating etc). We have a tradition too to celebrate my Birthday with a grand Chicken Party where we buy several kilograms of watermelon, tomatoes and lettuce for them. Whenever I can, I will give individual attention to those who are happy to accept it – such as taking them in my lap, cuddling them, giving them a “back and shoulder massage” and just talking with them. Sometimes one will come for a ride in the car with us, or I will take, for example, our disabled hennie Polly and put her in the basket of the pram to come for a ride when I go outside with my baby.

I also participate with our chickens in various animal related events, fundraisers for animal charities, open days at sanctuaries and such, and the response of the public has been amazing – I remember one time when I took my hennie Greta with me for a “bring your pet day” at a local garden centre and a family who stopped just to look at her, ended up staying with us for 40 minutes and thanked us for enriching their lives in such an unexpected way. I admit I had tears in my eyes!

What has surprised me most about chickens is how much they are like dogs (because I was primarily a “dog person” for more than 20 years before getting to know chickens). They are so trainable, so food-oriented to learn tricks, they easily learn their names, they appreciate a routine and don’t have to be pushed into their carriers at bed time because after a few times of repetition they will just walk into them by themselves… They absolutely love to be petted, cuddled, massaged, hugged and tucked into your shirt or under your shawl in winter… They will close their eyes in your lap and gladly watch a movie with you.

Some will get so attached that they will literally follow you everywhere just to be close. Some will gently put their head on your shoulder when you hold them. I never knew that birds can express so much emotion – you can read so much in the eyes of the chickens. Their will to live, too, is astonishing – they are such fighters when it comes to diseases and injuries, they don’t give up that easily (but when they do, you know the end is near). They sure taught me that while there is life, there is hope and I’ve seen some miraculous recoveries in them that made me think the same can be true for people too.

I’d like to tell other people out there that chickens are shockingly intelligent, very emotional, spontaneous and funny, clean, warm and cuddly, they make friends and form couples with each other, they know how to share, they are crazy dedicated as mommies… And for us, humans, it is very possible to form a truly deep bond with a chicken – no lesser than with a dog! They say sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart and I can attest to that – still missing my hen Tilly who barely weighed 400 grams but had a huge heart of gold with a beautiful soul beating inside her.

Our chickens recognize us first of all by acting calm and interested and not calling out alarm signals when they see us (contrary to when a stranger enters); they will also talk to us about how their day was, demand yummies, or just sweetly acknowledge in a low tiny voice when we come. Some of our roosters are hilarious in answering back to us, e.g. when I yell “Ronald!” out into the yard, I will get a bold and hearty response immediately.

In my still very limited experience, in order for chickens to thrive, each one needs to be first and foremost seen as an individual. It’s impossible to just fill their feeder and drinker as if for a “flock” and leave for the day – you have to make sure that every one of them is doing well and feeling happy and not disturbed by anything or anyone.

If I could say one thing on behalf of chickens, it would be – please, leave them off of your plates! Bake yummy egg-less (and just downright vegan) pastry which will melt in your mouth, and a nice, hot bowl of chicken-less soup will nurture you very nicely.

Chickens, when you get to know them, are nothing short of amazing, and we certainly don’t need ANY of their flesh, eggs or sufferings in our lives. Admire them and marvel at them, talk to them and cuddle them if you have such a chance, laugh with them and cry over their misfortunes, but leave them to enjoy life like every living being was meant to.

Some of my babies:

Jody, Ginger, Dotty, Gladis , Evlin and Freddie – A month of the glorification of the chicken

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Hello my name is Jody, and I live in the West Midlands in the UK.

How many chickens do you have?

4 Rescued Hens ‘Ginger, Dotty, Gladis , Evlin’  and a Cockerel ‘Freddie’

What has surprised you the most about your chickens, and what do you want to tell people out there (who don’t know chickens as a species) about chickens?  

Where do I start.. I had my cockerel Freddie 4 years ago along with 2 hens who sadly passed away due to illness. I then had Freddie on his own for over a year as, it really broke my heart with the girls. Finally I decided to rescue 2 hens, Ginger & Jaz. I put the new girls in with Freddie and they attacked him. It was awful.  I grabbed Freddie and took him in the house and decided he was not going back in with these new girls!  I then got a new pen the same day and he’s lived in there on his own ever since in a big run and his own house. He’s happy next to his girls!

I then had to have Jaz put to sleep due to cancer. And couldn’t get my self to have anymore girls. I had Ginger on her own for a while. But now I have another 3 rescued girls who live together in a large run and house. They have been my rock, especially my cockerel Freddie. The bond we have is amazing and even for my rescued girls to trust me and let me hold them, they play in the garden together when I’m there as Mr Fox likes to visit sometimes!!

Chickens aren’t food they have feelings too, they pick up on emotions, and love spending time with you. I love watching them making their mud bath and having a dig.

My dog, cat and rabbits get on with my chickens. My cat spends a lot of time down by the chicken pens.

I never really knew how intelligent they were, they walk up to my house door and peck it to say ‘let me in’.

Freddie is always protecting his girls. Freddie calls out when he sees or hears anything that doesn’t look or sound right. I even know when to go outside and check if everything is okay with he’s noises. They love coming into the house and chasing the dog around. Sitting in the window looking at the cats, winding them up.

They even get along fine with my nephew who loves helping me feed and clean them out. Without my chooks life would be very different. I’ve had a hard time past few years, and these chooks are the reason I’m up every morning and not just because Freddie is crowing at 4:30am!

My chickens put a smile on my face and knowing I’m giving them a fantastic life makes me happy. I wouldn’t change any of them for anything. They have completely different personalities, and that’s what makes them special.

How do you know that your chickens recognise you over and above other people in their lives?

Because they are my chooks and I spend most of my time with them.  When they hear me coming or hear my voice Freddie is the first one to go mad, running up and down and making noises that sets the girls off. My chickens love the fuss and they know they are in the safest place. I would never let anything or anyone harm my animals.

Fiona, Jacquimo and the rest of the fabulous flock! – A month of glorification of the chicken

Chikita, Candy and I
Chikita, Candy and I


Me and Lady Lucy
Me and Lady Lucy
My little girl
My little girl

Hello, my name is Fiona

From a young child right up to today, I have an insatiable love and kinship with animals. I got my first pet at the age of 7 and as they say the rest is history! I share my life with 14 dogs, 4 horses, 2 ducks,1 guinea pig (left at my gate in a box) and my little flock of chickens.

I am in the process of changing careers- so watch this space! I have a strong entrepreneurial drive that is intertwined with animal welfare and assist charities to raise funds through my company, Sentient Beings’ SMS lines.

I am just an average person like everybody else but has been blessed with an adoration for animals and am lucky enough to spend my life with them. I am passionate about educating the public about the Sentient Beings we share this earth with.

Where in the world are you?

I stay in Kyalami, Johannesburg, South Africa

What’s your favourite quote?

Gosh I have a few,

‘If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”- The Dalai Lama.

“Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove. O no, it is an ever-fixed mark That looks on tempests and is never shaken; It is the star to every wand’ring bark, Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken”- William Shakespeare, Sonnet 116

‘there are two ways of spreading light :  to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it’ – Edith Wharton

How many chickens do you have?

I have a small flock consisting of 8 roosters, 25 hens and a little baby boschvelder.

Chicken names?

I will just name a few- Florence, Merryweather, Flora, Fauna, Sugar,Spice, Jacquimo, Lucy, Sally, Liberty, Chikita, Jade, Admiral.

How do you spend quality time with your chickens?

I cook rice for them and give them it for their morning treat, I have a good chat with them and cuddle those that still enjoy it. In the afternoons /early evening, I usually read something to them- a short passage or story, if I don’t get the time to read I sit with them and just watch them, they are absolutely fascinating and so inquisitive.

 What has surprised you most about your chickens?

When I first got chickens from Candy (chickens as pets not food – chicken rescue and rehabilitation South Africa) about 6-7 years ago, I was intrigued by the unity of my 3 girls at the time, how they communicated to each other and did things together. They were 3 ex battery hens that had suffered so much in their short little lives and yet here they were finding absolute joy in a dust bath and strutting around like life is great! There is great pleasure in simplicity. They are incredibly resilient and make the best of everything that it is presented to them. For that, chickens will always hold my deepest respect and admiration.

I learnt a lot from my first rooster, Mr Jacquimo, at the time I said no roosters- ever! And then Candy offered me Jacquimo to which I couldn’t refuse. He is the most incredible, beautiful being. He loves his hens, he watches them eat and forage in the paddock, he coo’s and clucks to them and fetches them when its getting dark to take them inside their room. He is gentle and every new hen I have ever got goes straight to Jacquimo although his heart belongs to Jade and he never leaves her side. He is steadfast in his love for them and shows them that everyday- people could really learn from him. He also is incredible with the other roosters, he doesn’t look for them or get in scraps with them , he lives his best life and chooses to enjoy himself and keeps those he loves close to him. Again, what an incredible world it would be if people behaved like him.

What do you want to tell people out there (who don’t know chickens as a species) about chickens?

Chickens are amazing beings. If you want to experience life with a sense of wonderment and enthusiasm you only need to watch a free ranging chicken to see how its done. If you want to learn about looking after and supporting your community, watch a family of chickens share their lives. Chickens have an appreciation for life like I have never seen before.

Chickens can teach us about enjoying the simple things in life- we don’t need all the gadgets & complexity we infuse in our lives. Every day they are bursting to experience this thing called life and all the glory it holds. No matter their past they make the best of every day. I want people to know that this little feathered being is as sensitive, complex, intelligent as you and I and shares the same will to live and be loved. I wish chickens could be taken to old age homes, children’s homes and to the terminally ill, as I believe chickens are beacons of hope and vessels of optimism, and I believe if we took the time to see them for who they really are, our lives would be enriched beyond measure. Despite being the most abused animal on earth (my belief) they don’t give up and don’t give in, they fight to live and we should do everything in our power to support their will to live and be free beings just as we are.

How do you know that your chickens recognize you over and above other people in their lives?

They just have to catch a glimpse of me and there is a marathon to get to me ( usually I have something yummy for them!), they know my voice because I am forever talking to them. Florence, the little baby, asks to be picked up when she sees me and Jacquimo clucks around me as If I am one of his hens! What I notice is that they “talk” back to me, they are very animated in their expressions and often peck at my toes! Even if they see me in the garden they will come to the fence if I ask them “where’s your mommy?”

In your experience of keeping chickens as pets, what 10 non-negotiable factors do you believe need to be in place to give chickens a life that is physically, emotionally and mentally healthy?

  1. Freedom- from abuse,pain, hunger, thirst and of course physical freedom to be free ranging.
  2. Shelter and security. They need to know their safe place, that it is theirs and catered to them, they need to be able to choose sun, shade etc. They need shelter from the elements and warm dry bedding. Their living quarters must be accessible to them at all times. They need to be kept safe from other pets who may harm them.
  3. Species appropriate food, fresh water and treats ( just like us)
  4. They need company, they are not solitary beings
  5. Stimulation. Chickens enjoy being stimulated and having things to do- scratch in the sand, dust baths, forage for insects. Giving them different experiences that are safe for them, like Florence who is learning to climb on perches with my “help” (Although she doesn’t need my input). Playing soft classical music or even talk radio is great. I give them shavings, dried grass and shredded paper – they love to pull it apart and roll in it. I sprinkle food in the paddock that they have to find. They also have a manure/compost heap that they enjoy.
  6. They need & enjoy interaction, with people and different species. My chickens have a wonderful relationship with my guinea pig and ducks, they watch each other and enjoy seeing what everyone gets up to. They enjoy human companionship and interacting with us. They must be allowed to choose to interact with us.
  7. Chickens need be seen by the public as beings and not a meal. Their plight for freedom and respect ,and the right to life needs to be heard by the world.
  8. Chickens need to be able to express themselves and be chickens. They need to have a certain amount of control over their own lives, they have sensitivities and preferences like we all do. They need to be allowed to enjoy themselves and create friendships and families.
  9. Chickens feel pain just like we do and they need medical care when they are ill or if in kindness they need to be allowed to cross rainbow bridge with dignity and love in their final moments.
  10. Chickens need US to learn from them about their joie de vivre and the indomitable spirit they carry. What we learn from them can only enrich our own lives and in turn this will create a better world for all.

If you could say one thing, on behalf of chickens in the world, to the decision makers in your country, what would that one thing be?

Change the Animal “Protection” Act, improve legislation & regulation and monitoring of how chickens and other farm/production animals are treated in the industry. The reason I say this is because it would be ideal if chickens/any animals were no longer used by humans in anyway but in the interim while they are we need to ensure they are treated with respect and dignity. We do not live in a perfect world and we need to do our best for them now, today, practically, at grass roots level, that will make a difference to their lives. I believe that there should be compulsory education at schools about the welfare & treatment of animals. Give people the knowledge and the opportunity to do better and learn about chickens ( and all animals) for who they are and not what material value they hold whether it be food or monetary. I want the world to embrace chickens and animals as equals with the same rights and desires to experience life as they choose to. I want people to learn from them and have the grace,humility and empathy to listen and learn from these most magnificent animals.

Thank you for this opportunity Candy. You are most definitely a candle that reflects light onto us all!

Love Fiona

Trisha, Trisha’s gorgeous kids and Artemis Rage – A month of glorification of the Chicken

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Hello, my name is Trisha.

How many chickens do you have?

One rooster called Artemis Rage!

What has surprised you most about Artemis Rage, and  what do you want to tell people out there (who don’t know chickens as a species) about chickens? 

What can I say to you about how awesome our Artemis Rage is.  He is the smartest pet.  He has incredible problem solving skills.  Our  Rooster is so loving and very protective.  He has a thing for balls and can even play soccer using his beak.

He belongs to my daughter Sage but he loves on all of us.   He’s fun indoors and outdoors.  If you run, he will run with you.  If you leave he lets out a cry to say he does not want you to go.

We have three small dogs and he get along with them.  He often sits with them on there pillows.  He is a very picky eater.  If he does not like something he wont eat it.  He has a thing for shoes though.  If a shoe is lying on the floor he will jump on it and attack it.  Same if you have on sandals, so we have to watch him when we wear them because he will come charging from far.

Our Rooster sleeps indoors with us.  He crows every morning around 4am.  Which is perfect because  I work at a gym and I need to get up at that time and go to work.  I never really knew how smart they are.  I never realized just how emotional they feel about the people they love.  My kids look forward to seeing him everyday when they come home from school.  Don’t get me wrong.  He can be a crab tree.  At a certain time a night when he gets tired if you bother him he will bite you.  Not hard but just enough to make you leave him alone.  He doesn’t like when you bother him when he is cleaning his feathers either.

How do you know that your chickens recognize you over and above other people in their lives?

When he see us he comes running.  Artemis Rage gives great hugs by placing his head around our necks.  He loves his Jowls to be kissed.

Elmien and Sammy – A month of glorification of the chicken

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Hello, my name is Elmien. I live in Kempton Park with my 7 cats, 4 dogs and 1 little rooster, most of them rescues.  I am a vegetarian.  I have a very soft spot when it comes to any animal and would do anything I can to make their lives just a little easier.  I believe this huge love for animals are my blessing from God.  I have a full time job, so taking care of the needs of all these little angels can be challenging sometimes.  I also have a horse that I stable in Benoni.  That is where I rescued my little rooster.  His mom was trampled by a horse when he was just 5 days old and I got to him just in time.  None of the other hens wanted to except the little guy.  That is how he ended up with me.

Where in the world are you?

Kempton Park, South Africa

How many chickens do you have?

One stunning little rooster with a big attitude.  I am planning to build him a bigger coop at the end of September and plan to adopt 2 or 3 hens to keep him company.

Chicken name?


How do you spend quality time with Sammy?

When I am outside working in the garden or just relaxing he gets the chance to be a proper free range chicken and can roam around.  Three of my dogs don’t even mind him at all but my little pug who wants to play with Sammy but just get to rough, so I have to keep a watchful eye on them.  When I sit outside with a cup of coffee or a book he comes and sits on my lap.  He is almost 5 months old and has only been staying home the last month.  Before that he came to work with me and roamed around the office and sat on my arm to take a nap.  He loves it when I dick up the garden for him so he can get to the earthworms that hide a bit deeper than what he can dig.

What has surprised you most about Sammy?

He has got a wonderful character and loves snuggling on my lap.  When he hears my voice or sees me he gets so excited.

What do you want to tell people out there (who don’t know chickens as a species) about chickens?

They are not pieces of meat.  They are wonderful animals with feelings just like us.  They get excited, happy and even grumpy sometimes.

How do you know that your chickens recognize you over and above other people in their lives?

When Sammy sees me or hears my voice he start running up and down the fence of his coop and even jumps against the fence and makes the cutest little clucking sounds.  When I call him by saying ‘Come Sammy’ or a whistle I have then he actually comes to me.  He’s amazing.

In your experience of keeping chickens as pets, what 10 non-negotiable factors do you believe need to be in place to give chickens a life that is physically, emotionally and mentally healthy?

  • They need space and cannot be cooped up all day in a tiny little cage
  • They need company (Sammy loves the pigeons that hangs out with him)
  • They need protections from things that threaten them
  • They need an endless supply of food
  • They need a piece of the garden that are just dirt, to dig in and have their dust baths in
  • Always make sure that the have a supply of clean water
  • They need a nice ‘bed’ they can snuggle in at night where they feel safe
  • They need to express themselves and make themselves be heard with their crowing and clucking
  • They need freedom to just be chickens
  • They need people to change the way they see and treat chickens

If you could say one thing, on behalf of chickens in the world, to the decision makers in your country, what would that one thing be?

Don’t look at them as food but as fellow beings that have the right to live a free, happy and save live