Posted on Jul 29, 2014
By Ellie Laks, Founder of The Gentle Barn
You would think that the most costly rescued animal at The Gentle Barn would be the larger animals like the horses, cows, or, even the pigs, but actually our smallest animal costs us the most in vet bills because by the time they are five-years old, these sweet birds have to have surgery to correct the side effects of genetic engineering.
According to our vet, most chickens live until about eight-years old. Broiler hens are genetically engineered to get very big, very fast, so they can be slaughtered at twelve-weeks old. By the time they are full grown at a year-and-a-half, they are too big to walk. Egg laying hens are genetically engineered to produce way too many eggs at an early age. By the time they are full grown their uteri rupture, get egg bound or develop cancers.
Most people don’t know how wonderful chickens are. When raised with love, they are very affectionate and intelligent. Years ago, we had a hen named Strawberry who loved being held and would jump into my arms for me to hold and snuggle. She would actually fall asleep in my arms as I pet her. Charlie was a rooster who didn’t like to roost in trees, but would fall asleep on the ground. Chickens are blind at night, so, I preferred to put him up in a coop overnight so that he would stay safe until morning. Each evening before dark, I would call his name and he would immediately run across the barnyard to me so I could tuck him into bed. Finbar loved being held like a baby in my arms and he would peck at the back of my leg until I picked him up. Sometimes he would not let me put him down for hours. Our lap chicken, Norma Jeanne, will jump right into our laps when we sit down in the barnyard, asking us to pet her silky neck and tell her how beautiful she is. It is easy to pass chickens by unnoticed; they are so little and most people do not have a chance to meet them. However, once you have an intimate encounter with a chicken, it is impossible to ignore their beauty, grace, intelligence, and charm.
Please come out to The Gentle Barn, meet our chickens and allow yourself to fall in love! For directions or to set up a private tour, go to www.gentlebarn.org
Written by Ellie Laks
Founder, The Gentle Barn