Chickens are birds. Like all other birds, chickens love to be free. Left to their own devices, they will stay outside from dawn until dusk foraging, socializing, dust bathing, spashing in puddles, and perching on the low limbs of trees. They like to rest in the sun on winter mornings and nap in the shade on summer afternoons. Hens like to lay their eggs in a quiet spot, such as a hollow tree stump, and will make their own nests of grass hidden in the brush. Both hens and roosters form stable friendships, tending to prefer their own sex for everyday companionship. Each bird is a unique individual, however, so there are exceptions to every rule. Some birds are loners, others spend every minute with their friends. Some are gregarious, others shy. Some are timid but, despite the stereotypes, many others are very brave.
Most chickens don't get to live their natural bird lives. Hens and roosters raised for meat typically are crowded into poorly ventilated sheds with 20,000 other birds of the same age and sex. They are trucked off to be killed at six or eight weeks of age, catching their first breath of fresh air only as they are on the way to a ghastly death. Hens in egg factories live longer but endure more torture. Confined in cages so small that they cannot open their wings or even lie down comfortably, they are driven mad by boredom, despair, periodic hunger, and chronic pain. After close to two years of such horror, they too are trucked off to slaughter.
Overview of the life experiences of "broiler" chickens
Overview of the life experiences of hens confined in egg factories
Life and Death
A look at the life and death of a typical "broiler" chicken
Meet the Chickens
Life histories of some of the birds here at the sanctuary
Photos of typical living conditions for chickens and other farmed animals
Photos of life here at the sanctuary
Compassion in World Farming reports on chicken welfare:
NOTE: CIWF reports are in PDF format. PDF reports require Adobe Acrobat Reader. To get your free copy of Acrobat Reader go to http://www.adobe.com/support/downloads/main.html
Farm Sanctuary fact sheet on the care and feeding of chickens
Online aid for the diagnosis of diseases in chickens and turkeys
Emergency Bird Care
Emergency care for sick or injured birds
Holistic Health Care
Herbs and other natural modalities for promoting bird health
Want to help the birds? Send a donation to the address below or use the Paypal button at left to make an online contribution using a credit or debit card.
Eastern Shore Sanctuary; 13981 Reading Ferry Road; Princess Anne, MD 21853