Thank you thank you thank you for you contribution to this important awareness campaign

Our first broiler rescued a few years ago (genetically modified meat chicken). His name was Bello and he grew to 8.5 kgs in an alarmingly short time, eventually no longer able to support his own weight, we had to euthanase. I will never forget my first broiler heartbreak, and I could not have predicted how many times my heart would be broken again by a dear sweet broiler. Genetically modified to go from 0 to slaughter in 6 weeks, these noble birds are reduced to eating machines, experiencing the pain and discomfort of accelerated growth, and slaughtered while still babies. This is the reality of the meat industry.
Our first broiler rescued a few years ago (genetically modified meat chicken). His name was Bello and he grew to 8.5 kgs in an alarmingly short time, eventually no longer able to support his own weight, we had to euthanase. I will never forget my first broiler heartbreak, and I could not have predicted how many times my heart would be broken again by a dear sweet broiler. Genetically modified to go from 0 to slaughter in 6 weeks, these noble birds are reduced to eating machines, experiencing the pain and discomfort of accelerated growth, and slaughtered while still babies. This is the reality of the meat industry.
Almost a month ago we launched our ‘month of glorification of the chicken’ in honour of world animal day. We asked you, our community, to answer some questions for us on life with chickens and share your stories, and photos. What fabulous submissions we have had. An outpouring of love and an important documentation of the intelligence and depth of feeling chickens are capable of given the opportunity. I have delighted in reading every submission we have received and we have had fabulous feedback from other people too.
If you have missed our posts, please give yourself a ‘feel good’ treat go and read through some of our posts. We received 29 in total. 2 shy of our 30 submission goal, and so yesterday ended our 28 days of submissions.

A BIG thank you to all those people who contributed to this worthwhile awareness campaign, and a BIG thank you to all those who read the posts and shared them.

April, Tiny, Buckeye, Bonnie Blue and Beep – a month of glorification of the chicken

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Hello my name is April.

I was a vegetarian for 20 years until I began to learn about the horrors of the egg/dairy industry, and decided to go vegan three years ago. Having chickens and realizing how they feel pain, joy, and sorrow greatly influenced my decision.

Where in the world are you?

Batavia, Ohio, USA

How many chickens do you have?

Currently four girls, three recent “rescues” that have their own secure private coop/pen, and one house chicken that I’ve had for 8.5 yrs. who is my heart and soul.

what are your chickens names?

My Barred Rock with cataracts is called Tiny, the red hen with one bad eye is named Buckeye, and my little grey crooked beaked girl is Bonnie Blue. My older house hen is Beep the Chicken, who has a digestive disorder. Beep has her own facebook page.

How do you spend quality time with your chickens?

Every morning I go out and feed the girls their treats and let them out of their coop, then I spend a good hour cuddling in bed with Beep. Beep pretty much hangs out with us all day, by the computer or in the living room. I don’t get to spend as much time with the other three during the week as I’d like because of my work schedule, but we let them free range and walk around with them to keep them safe, and they love to hang out with us in the yard on the weekend. All four girls love to be held, cuddled and pampered.

What has surprised you most about your chickens?

It amazes me how each bird has his or her own personality. They are little characters.. some are sweet and loving, some boisterous and standoffish, some bold, some smarter than most household pets, some a bit silly… yet they still share similar mannerisms and love of life and the of simpler things such as having a good dust bathe and preening…

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

These birds have feelings, just as your family pet, or your child. To confine them to small filthy cages or cramped conditions to live out their life simply to provide eggs or meat to the food industry is a cruel injustice and abuse.

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

When our birds see us coming, they run to us. When they see others that they do not know, they run in the other direction. My house hen Beep knows myself (Mom) and her dad. She knows Mom is the cuddler and protector and feeder, and Dad is the one she bosses around and plays with. Beep is a precocious little girl who doesn’t like other birds or even other people very much. She would never dream of being a sweetheart to anyone except her Mom. When others come around, she is completely indifferent to them, showing no interest unless there happens to be a treat involved..

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?

For cooped/penned birds, I’d say the obvious – secure housing, nest boxes/perches, fresh water, access to food, protection from elements (hot/cold weather), social interaction – either with humans or other chickens, dust bath access, love/affection/attention, occasional treats, and medical attention when needed.

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?

First and foremost, chickens need laws in place for their protection. As a vegan, I’d like to see all chickens liberated – but as a realist, I know this isn’t going to happen in the near future. Most people don’t know that chickens aren’t even protected under any humane slaughter laws that are given to pigs/cows. Egg laying chickens need access to the outdoors/sun. They need more space in their cage than a space the size of an ipad. There needs to be laws in place to protect these birds from the cruelties we impose on them, but more importantly, there needs to be a way to ENFORCE these laws.

Join our FB community ‘chickens as pets not food – chicken rescue and rehabilitation’

Karla, age 10 years, and her chickens – a month of glorification of the chicken – post 27/30

me, when I was little, and a rescue baby chick
me, when I was little, and a rescue baby chick
My dog Bobby
My dog Bobby
life in our household. One of our baby broilers makes herself comfortable on my sisters school case one morning
life in our household. One of our baby broilers makes herself comfortable on my sisters school case one morning
me feeding our chickens
me feeding our chickens

Hello my name is Karla and I am 10 years old. I like vegetarian cooking – I like to make the food and eat it. I prefer savoury food to sweet food. When I was 3 years old I used to ask my mom for salad and pesto for breakfast. My mom runs a chicken rescue centre and I’ve learnt a lot from watching my mom.

Where in the world are you?

 Johannesburg, South Africa, Gauteng.

What are your chicken’s names?

Ivey, Buttercup rose, Irma, Lee, Abby, Georgey, Mia, Claire and Ruby.

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

I sit outside with them and hold them and talk to them kiss them hug them.

What has surprised you most about your chickens?

How intelligent they are.

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

You can’t say that chicken are weird or gross when you don’t know how wonderful they really are!!!!!

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

 I think that after you spend time with them they get to know you better so they don’t try to avoid you they come to you. I had a broiler her name was Eva and she used to avoid me, but when I went to go feed the chickens the other chickens would chase and peck her. One day I went on to the ground and sat with her and put my legs out around her in a v shape. She slowly knew that I wasn’t going to hurt her but to protect her from the other chickens.

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?

 You need to feed them and love them, care for them and you need to make sure they aren’t hurt.

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?

 Animals are living things if animals were human and we [humans] were the animals would you like to be slaughtered or be hanged or even bleed to death because that’s what humans are doing?!!!!!!

Ben, Felicity, Sophie and Flo – a month of glorification of the chicken – post 25 of 30 posts

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Hello, we are Ben and Felicity.

Ben and I have no human children (a conscious decision), but we are Mum and Dad to two dogs, two cats, two birds, two chickens, and two bee hives (we are concerned when it starts to rain allot 🙂 ) Our kids are all rescues, with the exception of our wonderful African Grey Parrot, Harry. We can’t even start to explain how much we love our animals, feathered, furry, two legged and four.

Where in the world are you?

Jukskei Park, near Fourways, Johannesburg

How many chickens do you have?

Only 2, but I hope when we have more direction in life, that we will have a few more.

Chicken names?

Sophie and Flo

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

My greatest pleasure is the calmness and quite joy I feel each morning when I let our girls out of their palatial home, and each evening when we watch them lazily amble back to bed. My Husband and I jostle to be the ones to greet them each morning and say goodnight each evening. Sophie love hugs, and I find a sense of calm when I hold her tight and she tucks her head into my neck and makes gentle chicken noises. She is particularly fond of my winter dressing gown, and is a bit miffed that its now too warm for me to wear it in the mornings when I give her a huge hug.

What has surprised you most about your chicken/ chickens?

Nobody could have told Ben or I that we would fall totally in love with our Girls in a matter of minutes. They started us on a new and extremely uncomfortable journey of awareness of how awful humanity is to these kind and gentle souls. We stopped eating chicken immediately and don’t miss a chance to educate others on how totally wonderful, intelligent and gentle these beautiful creatures are. Whilst I took a fair bit of teasing from my team at work in the early days, I’ve noticed that they are all very careful about what they bring for lunch these days. I keep a photographs of both of our Girls on my desk so they continue to get the picture.

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

Wow, where do I start; gentle, kind; intelligent; sensitive; cheeky, brave, strong, courageous.

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

We are met at the gate when we come home by the two dogs, one red cat, and two chickens. Its totally priceless. They recognize the sound of our cars.

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. Taking another pet into the family, a chicken or any other animal, requires a commitment to take care of and love each of them every single day for the rest of their lives,
  2. Secure and safe home, that is comfy and clean,
  3. Time and patience to help them settle into their new home. Socializing them with their new animal friends, and setting the boundaries with the existing family pets.
  4. Cuddles at least once a day, more if I can catch them.
  5. Watermelon.
  6. Immediate action when they start to look ill. By the time they look off, they are usually very ill.
  7. A wonderful vet, who understands Chickens, and the commitment to take them to the vet quickly when they get ill, no matter how far or how much traffic you need to deal with, and a Boss who understands you when you SMS him and say “I’m late for work, I’m taking my Hen to the vet”.
  8. A house sitter who understands the Girls, and takes as much care with them as we do (our’s takes even better care of them than we do I think)
  9. You have to be linked to Candy’s Chickens as pets not food- Chicken Rescue and Rehabilitation page on Facebook.
  10. Love love love love love, and more love. You will be rewarded a million times over by your 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?

Set the chickens free, all of them. They deserve so much better than what humanity has decided they are worth.

Felicity

Join our FB community ‘chickens as pets not food – chicken rescue and rehabilitation’

Peter, Nadia, Marisa and their flock – a month of glorification of the chicken

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We are Peter, Nadia and Marisa

Where in the world are you?

We all live in Northcliff, Joburg, South Africa

How many chickens do you have?

We currently have 3, but have had many over the past few years. Most have them have been rescued.

What are your chickens names?

Some have been Spanish words, Afrikaans words, ex girl friends names, like Egglet and Nancy.

How do you spend quality time with your chickens?

Depends on their personality. Some have sat on my lap, or followed me around the garden.

Some just want to be chickens and be left alone. Nancy likes to sleep inside one of our houses, she puts herself inside every evening and goes to the coop on her own in the morning.

Sometimes I let her lie on my chest in the evening before I go to sleep. She likes sitting on my head, and flies onto my shoulder when I’m cooking.

What has surprised you most about your chickens?

My Rhode Island Reds would run to the gate when they heard my car coming close to the drive way. I loved it, every day!

Also, a real free range egg, in comparison to a shop egg. They are fresh and orange and solid like a crumpet. I have never eaten a shop egg again.

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

They come when I call them, and they crouch down when I approach them to pick them up.

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. They need as much space as possible, a small space drives them crazy. They need to be allowed to run around the garden too.
  2. The chickens are pets, not food.
  3. It is important to keep pets safe from other pets, so be careful what dogs you have or plan on getting in the future. Some dogs have the instinct to catch a chicken even though they are family. Like Terriers for example. I have also heard that Collies will continuously heard the chickens and they can starve to death as a result.
  4. Chickens need a sufficient amount of varied food and water every day.
  5. Chickens need both sun and shade. And cannot have just one or the other.
  6. The chickens need company, even if they behave like loners during the day. I once gave my chicken a mirror on the floor, when her friend was killed. She perked up immediately when she got a new friend.
  7. Chickens should not be kept in tiny cages and force fed, and made to lay hundreds of eggs without movement. battery hens.
  8. We don’t eat chicken, so we obviously do not agree that chickens should be fed hormones and be forced to live miserable lives until they slaughtered.
  9. If your chicken is behaving strangely you should pay attention to it, and not leave it for a long period of time. Sometimes a chicken may behave strangely, almost like depressed or lazy, and recuperate quickly.
  10. Love the 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?

FB : chickens as pets not food – chicken rescue and rehabilitation

Penny, her beautiful family, Molly, Lilly, Becky and Amber – a month of glorification of the chicken

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Hello my name is Penny. I am writing on behalf of my family and our 4 feathered children. I teach yoga on occasion, my husband is an actor, one of our daughters is an actress and the other is a make-up artist as well as a raw food blogger teaching people how to heal themselves with food. We are all vegans, passionate about healing the planet and living with compassion .One of my favourite quotes is from a Native American saying ‘ If you can listen then you can learn that if one of us suffers then all of us are suffering’. This is just one of many!!

Where in the world are you?

 Johannesburg, South Africa

What are you chickens names?

Molly, Lilly, Becky and Amber.

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

Each family member has their own time with our little girls.

My husband spends time in the morning with them. He does poop patrol whilst I prepare the morning oats. They have a wonderful time with Norm digging up all sorts of interesting things for them, as well as diving into the compost heap and then being fed spinach from our veg garden.

Our daughters take time with them whenever they can during the day, and I have the pleasure of sitting with them before bedtime. And what a special time it is.

Becky LOVES bedtime. She goes straight to bed before anyone else does; settles her little body and closes her eyes. It breaks my heart to think that this was a privilege she was denied! Lilly, the cutest little girl ever jumps on top of me because she absolutely loves her sesame seed treat before curling up in her bed, Amber hovers between which is best, the sesame treat or the bed and Molly hangs out with me till the last minute. Of course each of them gets love and kisses before they finally settle for the night.

What has surprised you most about your chickens?

The thing that has surprised me most is how intelligent they are. I can show them something once and they will remember.

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

For people who don’t know chickens they just don’t know what they are missing out

on!!!!!!!

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

As for recognizing us, they react differently to each one of us and they most certainly know their names.

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. Love 2. Safe spacious enclosure 3.Comfy private nesting spots, 4.Variety of non GMO foods 5.Clean water 6.Good bedding 7.A garden where they can roam freely 8.Quiet dark sleeping time 9.Human interaction 10.Treats. and zero egg laying requirements.

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?

Just as Racism was abhorrent so is SPECIESISM!!!!!!!

Korlia, Strepies van Leeuwen, Pot Hoender and Herfsie – a month of glorification of the chicken

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Hello my name is Korlia.

I am a stay at home mom to two sons, three dogs, 1 cat, 1 hamster and three chickens.

Where in the world are you?

George, South Africa.

How many chickens do you have?

Three. They were all named by my sons (aged 7 and 2), we are Afrikaans speaking so I hope everyone will understand! Strepies van Leeuwen, Pot Hoender and Herfsie.

How do you spend quality time with your chickens?

My most favorite thing in the world is to just sit and watch them. If I could, I would watch them for hours! Time with them is like my “sanity/unwind time.” I love hand feeding them treats and having them sit on my lap for cuddles.

What has surprised you most about your chickens?

Their intelligence and personalities! I know, I know, shame on me!!! I should have known better!

Strepies van Leeuwen is a real diva! She watches her figure and will not just gobble up her food, she savours every bite, or should I say peck. She  loves to stay in the dust bath a little bit longer than the others. A lady needs her beauty treatments, but then again she hates being alone. Whenever the other two have moved along she will stand there making a huge noise, until I come out to carry her to where the other two are scratching away. I am telling you she has trained us well!! She will stroll into the kitchen where her favourite  pastime is staring at herself in the reflection of the oven in total awe.

Herfsie on the other hand will not be fooled by trickery! She knows in which hand you hide her treats, and I am sure she can count! She will not stop until she knows they are all finished, even if you hide it in your  pocket!

Pot Hoender is our curvy lady and she takes her sweet time in the nesting box. She does not mind to gobble up all treats and snacks to Herfsies’ total disgust. The only time you will ever see Pot running will be when she chases the doves away from her food. It is ALL hers after all.

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

They really are highly intelligent beings. Give them a chance. You will be amazed. Their antics will keep you entertained and they each have their own personality just like you and I.

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

My girls will come running when they hear my voice, chatting and clucking away. I am still busy unlocking the security gate and they are already there waiting. They know the sound that the blinds make when I pull them up in the morning and will come running to see if it is me. They will follow me even if I am inside the house by jumping on the windowsills and pecking at the window of the room that I am in.

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?

Unconditional love, quality food and snacks, clean drinking water, ample space, mental stimulation, safe and warm house to sleep in and dust baths.

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?

Shame on you!! Start with change for the better, even if it is just baby steps, but please just start.