Time for Chickens

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Time for Chickens

By lauren Ornelas, Food Empowerment Project
May 2010

Although I have a full time job (Food Empowerment Project is all volunteer) I was very excited that I was able to take my Saturday to help Animal Place with their move to Grass Valley, CA.

I met some wonderful volunteers and was on a team in charge of moving the chickens!

Now, even though I have dedicated most of my life to animal rights and farmed animals in particular – I am, well….scared of most of them. Cows and pigs are larger than I am – and no laughing any of you who know me – they are bigger than you too! And the goats, they have horns that scare me. And the bunny rabbits can just hop out of your arms and hurt themselves.

Although I would give my life for these animals, I am often scared of them.

So, volunteering at farmed animal sanctuaries has always proven to be a bit of a challenge for me.

I love doing the work – outside and exercising - but I tend to jump and hide behind other people when the big animals come around.

This means I am left with the ducks (for whom I have a special affection) and the chickens.

Now, I am not sure how many of you have ever held a chicken – but once you do – you have to wonder how anyone can eat these gentle little birds.

The hens – many of whom were raised for eggs and came from egg laying factories – are incredibly fragile. They are so light and well, just wonderful to hold. As I have rescued a number of hens from battery cages, it was a real treat to move these precious birds knowing they would be going to a bigger and better place to live out the rest of their lives. Just like our dogs and cats, these animals have different personalities. I was lucky enough to catch one of the roosters in the bunch who loved to scream. Oh, and what a loud scream he had. Another didn’t want to be caught and kept on flying up into the rafters. Some were as gentle as could be.

The next batch of birds Animal Place called the “Peepers” as many of these chickens who are raised for their flesh are killed at 6-7 weeks of age when the only noise they can make is just a tiny ‘peep.’

There were also a few turkeys who just peacefully walked into the crates.

It was heart-warming to watch the staff and volunteers calling the animals by their names and wondering how certain ones were going to do with the move.
It all went smoothly.

I stayed until the goats were gone and well, although it was a sad day for many of us who have loved having Animal Place so close, we know that they are going to have a bigger and better home and that we will still go out to spend time with the animals.

Thanks to the staff and volunteers at Animal Place for all you do for the animals and for giving many of us an opportunity to share our lives with them.

And thanks to the crew I worked with: Cat, Daniel, Max, Shayleen & Tarek and my friends with the bunny crew, Dana, Mark (both of you!) and Natasha!

I have always been told to take time to smell the roses; I think this reminded me to take time to be with those who we work to protect.