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Sacramento Legalizes Hens

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Animal Place rescues thousands of chickens each year and places them for adoption

August 30, 2011 –

Grass Valley, CA –

As Sacramento poises to permit up to three hens in residential areas, Animal Place, a northern California farmed animal sanctuary has a message for chicken lovers – adopt, don’t buy, and do your research. Animal Place makes this easy with its Rescue Ranch program, which works with egg farms to save young hens from slaughter. In 2011 alone, 2,000 hens have been rescued, rehabilitated and rehomed. Animal Place also offers an introduction to chicken care with its Chicken Care Matters course.

“Most people with backyard chickens love them, but they don’t realize how cruel hatcheries are,” says Marji Beach, Education Manager, “On large hatcheries, for every hen born, her brother is ground up alive.”

Hatcheries ship sensitive day-old chicks through the postal service without food and water for up to 72 hours. It is not uncommon for birds to die. Smaller hatcheries lack the skill to properly sex chicks and send roosters to unsuspecting buyers. This leads to an increase in unwanted roosters at already overburdened shelters. Since they cannot be adopted in the city and many sanctuaries already have enough roosters, the birds are often killed. Feed stores buy chicks from hatcheries.

Like any animal, chickens require proper food, a clean water source, and when necessary, access to qualified veterinary professionals. Further, hens may live 6-12 years while their egg production may decrease over time.

“You wouldn’t get rid of your old dog because his muzzle starts to gray or he couldn’t run five miles anymore, would you? If the only reason a person wants chickens is for eggs, they aren’t getting chickens for the right reasons. Chickens are smart, spunky birds with a lot of personality, and they can’t just be thrown into a backyard and expected to thrive,” says Beach.

In addition to the issues with hatcheries, Animal Place recommends those interested in chickens do their research. Chickens have requirements unique to them and those experienced with dogs and cats may find taking on chickens a challenge.

“We want people to understand all the pros and cons of adding chickens to their backyard, and that’s why we offer up our expertise with our Chicken Care Matters classes,” Jamie London, animal care manager. “We actually have one planned for September 17th!”

Those interested in providing permanent placement for any of the hens are encouraged to contact Animal Place and start the adoption process.  Fill out an online form or call Kristin Rodriguez, adoption coordinator, at 530-798-5115. There is an adoption fee of $10 per hen with a discount for adopting multiple hens.  Adoption fees help offset a small portion of the costs associated with rescuing these chickens.

To sign up for the next Chicken Care Matters class, go here.

Check out chickens from the most recent egg farm rescue:


Media Inquiries
Marji Beach
530-798-5114 (work)
marji@animalplace.org