This past weekend, forty volunteers came out to help give 350 of the 3,000+ rescued hens a spa day. It will take several more days to get through the rest of the flock. We cannot thank our volunteers enough. Some are long-time supporters of the sanctuary; others are new to this movement and to chickens. All of them arrive with positive energy and a drive to help the birds out.
Please enjoy the photos. They show kindness and compassion at their finest. These hens have endured so much sorrow and abuse - our volunteers and staff are the first to handle them gently with their welfare in mind.
This hen waits for her personal caregiver to check her over.
These hens were exposed to the elements and left to suffer in cages for more than two weeks without food. They became infested with lice and biting mites. As if being starved nearly to death wasn’t bad enough. Volunteers have to cut away the feathers around the hen’s vent area.
These hens have lived in a cage for more than a year. Their nails have grown long. Chickens have a blood supply in their nails, just like dogs, so volunteers can only trim a small portion of the nail off before they hit a blood source. This hen will walk much easier after her pedicure!
Sometimes it’s just important for the hens to receive some love and affection.
And when they get hungry, we feed them! Actually, most of the food has been donated by volunteers themselves. I’m sure the hens would have loved some vegan cupcakes too!
This little hen is covered in biting mites. She cannot defend herself from the blood-sucking parasites, because her beak has been mutilated at the hatchery. De-beaking leaves hens with a permanent disfigurement and disability. More than 98% of all hens in the egg industry are “beak trimmed”, including hens on cage-free and larger free-range operations.
And if chicken pedicures aren’t your thing, well there is a lot of cleaning for volunteers to help with too! There has been little time to deal with the dozens of crates used to bring these birds to sanctuary. Thankfully, a few intrepid volunteers disinfected and cleaned them up so they can be used to save lives in the future.
Most importantly, volunteers provide comfort and hopefully receive it in turn.
We live in a topsy-turvy world that has yet to start viewing nonhumans, like chickens, as worthy of the utmost respect and compassion. For those sensitive to the plight of farmed animals, being able to directly help a small group of individuals is not merely uplifting, it’s a direct representation of their ethics in action.
To all of you volunteers who have come out, who will help out in the future, I cannot thank you enough. Really, I can’t. My heart splinters and breaks and aches in so many places for these hens. For all of those locked and hidden in cages. So when you give your time, it means something. You come out and repair their broken bodies and souls. There is no greater gift for these hens than that.
Okay, there is one that is bigger. One present anyone can give to this world’s farmed animals. Going vegan. Whatever that means to you - starting with a day a week of plant-based meals, a week straight, 30 days, going whole watermelon overnight. Give it a try.
-Marji Beach, Education Manager