By Susie Coston
We are truly grateful to the members of our Farm Animal Adoption Network (FAAN), who provide loving, lifelong homes to rescued farm animals and make it possible for us to save even more lives. This summer, dedicated Farm Sanctuary member Denise Goodman, along with her husband Todd and son Merrick, adopted six hens from our New York Shelter, giving them an incredible new home in Pennsylvania. We recently asked Denise how everything was going with her new feathered friends and this is what she had to say:
Q: What inspired you to adopt farm animals?
A: Since we can't LIVE at Farm Sanctuary, we wanted to recreate a small piece of it in our own backyard. We have a great space and wanted to give a nice home to a few creatures. Seeing the animals brings us so much joy! We also thought it would be a great way to help our friends and family make a connection that could expand their "love of animals" beyond the pets that traditionally share their lives. Having the hens has been a great conversation starter. People are always intrigued, especially when they find out that we adopted the birds and did NOT get them for their eggs. It's a good chance to explain the lives of most layer hens who are not as lucky.
Q: What is a typical day for the hens like?
A: Because we (my husband and I) tend not to be early birds, we have an automatic door on their coop that gives the girls their freedom at a far earlier hour than we would. At sunrise their door opens and they run out into the fenced-in yard, which is probably a little under an acre (every inch of which they investigate). Sometimes when they hear me getting ready in the morning, they climb up the porch steps and look into the bathroom window! They basically peck and scratch and roam around all day. Seems like they enjoy a dustbath/shady nap midday. I was amazed at how much they eat, constantly nibbling! They come running whenever they see us. I like to imagine it is because they love us already, but honestly it is because they know they'll get a treat (some red beet greens, rice cake crumbs, chicken scratch). I think they have an almost ideal chicken life. Sometimes they look longingly into the forest and I feel a little bad, like they would have some serious fun in there, but for their safety, we keep them in the fenced yard which has lots of trees and gardens and porches for them to hide under and explore. They go into the coop on their own at bedtime.
Merrick with his new chicken friends.
Q: How has adopting the hens changed your life?
A: I love being out weeding and harvesting goodies from the garden and having the hens come running to see what's going on. They are great companions! It is really fun having them around. Our son says almost daily how "cute" and "adorable" the chickens are! At dinner last night, three of the girls took turns jumping up on top of our compost bin so they could look in our glass door at eye level and check out what we were doing! They really crack us up!
Q: Any cute stories or anything you'd like to share?
A: I love it when one of the chickens snatches a prize possession, like a bright red strawberry, then runs off, carrying it as high in the air as she can with her outstretched neck, followed closely by a few of her jealous friends!
Well, it sounds like these happy chickens are truly living a charmed life! Want to adopt some farm animal companions of your own? We are always looking for compassionate new FAAN members to provide homes to animals in need. Learn more about our network today!
Top photo: One of the girls explores the garden.