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Helping Hens Rescue

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Watch our Hens on a Plane Coast to Coast Airlift video!

Helping Hands Hens RescueAnimal Place spearheads the rescue of 3,000 hens from a caged “egg-laying” hen farm. Flies 1,150 out to east coast sanctuaries for the first ever flight of adult birds.

From cages to homes and sanctuaries, Animal Place secured the release of 3,000 hens from a California “egg laying” hen farm. For two years, these hens have lived in cages. Now they will be free with the help of Animal Place and our partnering shelters and sanctuaries.

Over two days (July 29th, July 30th), Animal Place staff, interns, and volunteers pulled hens from their cages and transport them to our Grass Valley sanctuary where they will receive around-the-clock care. A thousand hens will go to our Rescue Ranch shelter, where they will be welcomed by 580 hens from another battery caged “egg laying” hen farm. After they are health-checked, they will be transferred to other sanctuaries, shelters, or permanent homes.

“For more than two years, these hens have only known the small space of a cage”, says Marji Beach, Animal Place Education Director, “Now free they will touch the grass, feel the sun, and stretch their wings for the first time.” The hens arrived with severely overgrown toe-nails. All had been de-beaked, in which a portion of their beak is cut off without pain relief.

In 1-2 weeks, a thousand will fly to New York to be welcomed by sanctuaries and shelters on the east coast including Catskill Animal Sanctuary, Coming Home Animal Sanctuary, Farm Sanctuary, Lollypop Farm, and Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary.

Helping Hens RescueThe Sacramento SPCA, Sonoma Humane Society, and the Marin Humane Society will also be accepting hens. Sanctuaries up in Oregon and Washington will also be taking in hens, including Lighthouse Farm Animal Sanctuary, Wildwood Farm Sanctuary, and Pasado’s Safe Haven.

The large scale of this operation has only been possible with the shelter and sanctuary community coming together to help.

Animal Place is no stranger to large-scale hen rescues. Last year, we spear-headed the rescue of 4,460 hens from Turlock, California where two farmers left 50,000 hens without food for more than two weeks. Over a year, we placed most of the hens we rescued into permanent homes through our Rescue Ranch adoption program.

Since 2010, more than 8,000 chickens – most from egg farms – have been saved and rehomed, avoiding unnecessary slaughter thanks to Animal Place’s Rescue Ranch.

The farm, which will remain confidential, reached out to us after receiving a packet of information on our Rescue Ranch program…which asks egg farmers to relinquish custody of hens instead of sending them to slaughter. To date, this is the largest farm that has agreed to release birds to our sanctuary.

While we work towards the end of farmed animal exploitation, when we can help the nonhumans already in existence, we will do so.

Helping Hens Rescue

Watch Rescued Hens from Egg Farm Free For First Time video!

Watch Animal Place Rescues 3,000 Hens from Egg Farm video!


A big thank you to the generous PR firm Evolotus for helping spread the word about this incredible effort.



Helping Hands Rescue

You’ve got questions about why we’re flying 1,150 hens to the east coast and education director Marji Beach has answers!

Where did these hens originate?
These hens are part of a large rescue Animal Place spearheaded last month. We’re pretty stoked about this and so are the hens.

Helping HensWhy are you flying hens across the country?
Good question! Normally, when we rescue from egg farms, hens are placed in state. We’ll place birds within reasonable driving distance. That was the plan when we got the call from this egg farmer. We agreed to take in 2,000 hens for placement within California, Oregon, and Washington over the next 10-12 months.

We shared the news of the impending rescue with some of our generous donors. One asked if we could save more. We explained our restrictions on time, space, and staff. If only we could get hens to the east coast, we know a lot of great sanctuaries who would take some!

While it has been easy working with egg farmers in our state of California to save hens from slaughter, the same hasn’t been true in other parts of the country. Sanctuaries on the east coast and in the mid-west have always been willing to take in “spent laying” hens.

The donor made a proposal – if we could save more than 2,000 hens, they would cover the costs of flying the birds out to the east coast. What?!? While no commercial airliner will fly adult birds, we found a private company that would accommodate our request. When we reached out to the sanctuaries, the response was immense! By the end of 48-hours, we had placement for 1,000 hens!

Helping HensHow did you get funding to fly so many hens?
A private donor! All of the funding is being generated by one individual who wanted to save as many lives as possible. It’s why we are not asking for ANY financial assistance with the flight of the hens! (Of course, if you want to buy the remaining 2,000 hens a bag of chicken feed, we won’t say no!)

What about starving humans? Don’t you care about them?
Of course we do! Please realize a few things.

We are an animal rights organization with a mission of preventing the suffering of farmed animals. It makes sense we’d be helping chickens, one of the most exploited farmed animal species on the planet. It’s within the scope of our mission. It is the cause our donors support!

These hens were never destined for the dinner plate. Most “spent laying” hens in California are gassed and dumped at landfills and are not sold for human consumption.They are not the same type of chicken raised for meat consumption – those are 6-week-old baby birds artificially selected to grow quickly. Farmers have to pay for “spent laying” hens to be gassed – it is cheaper than paying to have them slaughtered. So remember that the millions of “spent laying” hens killed in California are dumped at landfills – we are not the ones “wasting” chickens by not sending their poor, fragile, slender bodies to be eaten by people. (Of course we wouldn’t advocate selling their bodies for consumption anyways.)

We believe access to food is a human right. We believe that ending food deserts and improving availability of affordable plant-based foods is a far better, compelling, and just solution than encouraging an increased reliance on unhealthy, unsustainable, unjust animal products. That is not the mission of our organization but it is one we support.

There are incredible social justice groups focused on improving access to affordable and healthy foods for human beings. This is great! Our focus is on the suffering of nonhumans and because we endorse a vegan lifestyle, we cannot in good conscience support the consumption or commodification of nonhumans.

Why do you care about chickens?
Why don’t you?!? Chickens are awesome! They are intelligent, understand object permanence (cats don’t), can see infrared light waves, will engage in complex acts of deception, and can form intense social bonds. In terms of cognitive abilities (which is a silly reason to justify eating someone, btw), chickens are smart, adept, quick-learning nonhumans. They are as emotional as dogs and cats, and can feel pain and suffer too. Remember, who humans “eat” and who they “pet” is an artificial, arbitrary concept. There is nothing intrinsic to a chicken that makes them “food”.

Which sanctuaries are taking in birds?
The following sanctuaries and shelters are accepting hens from this flight: Farm Sanctuary, Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary, Catskill Animal Sanctuary, Happy Trails Farm Animal Sanctuary, SASHA Farm, United Poultry Concerns, VINE Sanctuary, Lollypop Farm, and Coming Home Animal Sanctuary.

Do you have other questions not answered here?
E-mail us and we’ll answer them!



68 Responses so far.

  1. ready for 8 hens at anderson

    • Marji Beach says:

      Hi Sid,

      Great, thanks! We received your adoption form and our adoption coordinator should be in touch with you soon!

    • Lauren richards says:

      Hi! I have three hens in Los Ángeles that I would like to bring or have picked up to spend the rest of their lives at your sanctuary as they’ve no longer been laying eggs. Is this possibls?

      • Claire C says:

        Hi Lauren! Sorry for the delayed response. We are unlikely to be able to take the birds in at the sanctuary, but we can help facilitate an adoption into a private home. Do you still need to find a home for those birds? If so, you can email me at claire@animalplace.org
        Thanks, Claire – Social Media Manager

    • Jill Kasel says:

      I have 3 chickens that I bought as pets in July 2020. They were three months old at the time. I live in the city and have a nice private fenced backyard. The chickens are very wonderful pets but I worry what to do if I can no longer care for them should something unexpected occur. This is my first time owning pets that are not indoor animals. I have a great petsitter so that is a reassurance to me.

  2. kendra cox says:

    you guys are amazing! keep up the amazing work!

  3. Deborah McDowell says:

    Do any of the hens make it to Canada?

    • Marji Beach says:

      Hi Deborah,

      Because of strict and complex transport laws, it is hard to move chickens across state lines, let alone country lines. So as of now, we do not have the ability to transfer birds to Canada.

  4. […] De-beaking is NOT advised. Very cruel and causes pain to the chicken (Photo credit) […]

  5. brenda says:

    do you know of any chicken rescues near me – philadelphia

  6. […] HTFAS Hits the Road September 6th, 2014 to Pick Up 250 Hens for Placement While you snuggle in for the night on Friday, September 6th, Happy Trails volunteers along with Founder, Annette Fisher, will be heading to Watkins Glen, NY to pick up 250 of the 3,000 hens rescued from a horrific neglect situation at a California egg farm. Check out the press release and read the story as blogged by the rescue organization, Animal Place of California, who spearheaded the rescue. HTFAS is proud to be a part of this valiant rescue effort as reported by Today.com.  We are requesting donations in $2 increments to sponsor the approximate fuel cost of $500 to transport the hens safely back to Happy Trails.  Upon arrival, pre-approved adopters will be waiting to help the hens complete the last leg of the journey to their safe, loving forever homes. […]

  7. Wyatt says:

    Where do I get to get hens I’ve always wanted to have farm fresh eggs I just saw the rescue on news 10 today and something about Vacaville

  8. Kathy Craig says:

    I would love to help these poor birds.

  9. Barbara Sheridan says:

    Would love to be involved in some poultry rescue. I have a small flock of 6, but have ample room for a few more. Need to be cold weather breeds, as we don’t heat our coop. Live in So Ohio.

    • Brandon myers says:

      I live in crossville Tennessee and I would love to rescue hens. I’m also open to roosters. I got a small flock and would love to add more

      • Kelcie says:

        That’s great! Unfortunately we do not do out of state adoptions. Check in with sanctuaries in your area! We’ve compiled lists at sanctuaries.org.

  10. Savannah Finney says:

    Would love to get involved in hen rescues. Only have 8 chickens currently, looking into rescuing some hens instead of hatching or getting chicks in spring.

  11. Debra Spellings says:

    I’m located in central Texas interested in rescuing hens.

  12. HI there,

    I represent a facebook group of about 5,000 members and we would like to find a partner to work with us on a hen rescue campaign. The problem is that we are all over the country and so we need a partner that has networks and can help to locate rescue shelters in their particular area, or egg factories that are willing to allow adoption.

    If you can help or provide some contact names I would appreciate it. Together we could save thousands of lives.

    Best Regards,

  13. Linda Beaver says:

    I have 5 chickens and one rooster. I am trying to find good homes for them. I do not want them to go anywhere except to someone who would want them for pets. these little guys are just getting too much for my husband and I. Please contact me if some one can help they are all only a year.

  14. Kira says:

    I live in Costa Mesa, CA and I’m looking for a place that can take/rescue one guineafowl/guineahen. Does anyone have any advice? Thanks!

  15. Candi Rosas says:

    We have 5 hens and would love to find a home for them. We live in inglewood California

  16. ana says:

    love what you guys do!! I have 6 roosters and 5 hens that need help finding a home, I don’t want them to be used for food or fighting, please help!!

  17. Todd says:

    Hey, guys,I’ve always wanted to help y’all out.my issue is I’m a truck driver and i stay gone a lot.i do go out to the pheonix area every other week.if you all ever need me,let me know.i wonder how well a little chicken would like to become a trucking chicken thanks guys.keep up the good work

    • Virginia says:

      Hi, Todd. We always need help, but we’re quite a drive from Phoenix! Check out sanctuaries.org to find sanctuaries near you or on your route!

  18. Zoe Rice says:

    Is there any recent chicken rescue work I could get involved with? I would love to help in any way possible but something hands on would be amazing. Please let me know! I just turned 18 and have been waiting to volunteer for a long time.

  19. Jean Kelly says:

    I have 20 assorted chicken right now in two separate coops 1 is an 8 by 12 and the other one is a 8 by 6. And then I have a third Coupe that accommodates up to eight chickens. Originally I fostered 13 chicken because their parents were getting divorced and they were neglected and they weren’t being fed and it was really not an attractive sight when I met them. But they are my pets and I love them and so I’m looking to adopt some more please let me know where you located I am in Alstead but most people know Keene New Hampshire

    • Hello Joan. We are located in Grass Valley, California. Please check out our website http://www.sanctuaries.org to find a sanctuary near you.

      • Kim and Jon says:

        Having a lot of trouble with sanctuaries.org. We can see the pull- down menu to pick our state, but when I pull it down, it only goes down to Delaware, so I move over to the scroll bar to the right to be able to see further down the pulldown, but as soon as I leave the pull-down menu, the scroll bar disappears. We tried to move the mouse super fast to the scroll bar, but each time we leave the pulldown, it disappears. We tried 9 times and resized the page and did all sorts of things. Apparently, we’ll never see any states past the letter “D’.

  20. Nina says:

    I’d like to adopt two hens that lay eggs. My husband insists on buying eggs from the farmers market, but I don’t trust people who use animals for food, in terms of the treatment of the animals. I would like to have two hens that lay eggs for my husband, and I will treat them as children (as I treat my other animals). Once the hens stop laying eggs, they will be welcome to retire at our house and just hang out, living a good life. I do not want to buy hens because I do not support the use of animals as commodities, however, my husband really wants to eat eggs, so I am trying to compromise by adopting hens that will have a happy life with us. If you have any hens that need a good home, and who lay eggs, please let me know.
    Thank you

  21. April says:

    I know that you take it hens and that is awesome. No animal should be treated in such horrible ways. I myself have 6 chickens. All beautiful and all healthy. Unfortunately I live in a city with an ordinance that doesn’t allow roosters. One of my girls turned out to be a boy. I love him and would give anything to keep him. I even considered trying to get a home loan to live in the country (crazy I know) but I can’t afford it. I have been searching everywhere to find my beautiful boy a home where he won’t get slaughtered. All my chickens are friendly and love people. But my boy is a mama’s boy. He will literally beg to sit on my lap and purrs like a kitten when I pet him. He has not yet crowed but I know it will come soon. I can’t find a home for him and I’m desperate to find someone who will love him as much as I do. Please if you can help me please email me. Im desperate! I can’t bear the thought of giving him up to be killed all because he crows.

  22. Sandra Drake says:

    We are looking for a chicken rescue organization near Menlo Park, CA 94025, about 40 miles south of San Francisco. We would be grateful for any help you can give us.

    Keep up the good work you’re doing.

    Sandra and Ray

  23. Janet Herman says:

    I live in Conyers, Ga. 30013. Code came yesterday and said no livestock. We are county and so I’ve never hidden them. Thought we were zoned for this.? I’m broken as I don’t leave home much due to PTSD and anxiety issues so they were my pets, my comfort. I fear they could go somewhere and not be treated well. I have 3 roos also. Somebody please help me…i feel so grieved over this…

  24. Deborah Payne says:

    I live in California I have a beautiful chicken co-op and I have 4 beautiful chickens that are by pets anyway I can adopt our rescue a couple chickens?

  25. rachel Rosenbaum says:

    hi. I know this is a crazy question, but a neighbor asked us to watch his polish(fluffy head chicken) and never took him back. We cannot keep him and hes so cute and friendly and cant see him die. can you please take him so he doesnt die in our backyard? If you cant take him, could you perhaps point me in the right direction?

  26. Jillian Templeton says:

    I am in desperate need of a home for a very sweet pet rooster. He is a Silkie/Cochin mix and love’s to be loved. Very docile. He has a strange mite infestation inside his feather shafts, and though I’ve treated him and the flock several times I can’t eradicate the problem. The reason I must find him another home is because he and my rooster (father and son) are fighting badly. He is not safe here but I don’t want to kill him or eat him. Please help if you are able… I don’t know what else to do. And I live in Anderson, CA.

  27. Alexandra says:

    Hi there – My husband and I have one Rhode Island red chicken who is 3 years old and not a great layer. We are moving to a new neighborhood later this week and are unable to keep her there. Do you have any knowledge of other rescues in the Austin area that might be able to help?

    Thanks for any assistance, we really appreciate it!

    • Claire C says:

      Hi Alexandra,
      You can go to sanctuaries.org to search for a sanctuary near you. If they cannot take the hen in, they may be able to direct you somewhere else in the area. Thanks!

      • Kathy says:

        Thanks for the link Claire C! I’m looking to adopt one or two adult hens and I think I’ll find them via sanctuary.org

  28. Oliverduke says:

    Great article. Thank you for share this post.It is helpful informative..

  29. Andria says:

    Hi my name is Andrea. I currently have a chicken she’s a female she’s about 2 years old and we got her as a pet. Our neighbor recently got a chicken but its a male and usually males are the one who make more noise than females and they notice that we also had a chicken so the city came and told us we have five days to re-home her and I was just wondering if you guys know any place where I can re-home her I don’t want her to be eaten I just want her to have a good life please reply back thank you!

  30. Rose says:

    I need help rescuing a chicken in Hillsborough
    Where are you located.?

  31. Makeworldvegan says:

    Do the rescued hens eat all of their eggs? or is that to much for their body to possibly be able to consume? or do the hens refuse to eat them all, even if u crack or cook the eggs for them?
    How many eggs do your rescued hens(who r not implanted to stop them from laying eggs) lay per year on average? How many eggs do average egg layin hens in america lay on average?

    • Claire C says:

      Some of the eggs are cooked and fed back to the birds, other eggs are composted. The hens enjoy eating the eggs, and it helps to keep them healthy! I don’t have the exact numbers on what a battery-cage hen lays, but after a couple years their production declines, and at this point most farms “de-populate” (kill) the birds. Many of the rescued birds we care for, and those we adopt out have come from egg farms. Thanks, Claire – Social Media Manager

    • Mikel says:

      As you probably know it depends on the breed of chicken on how many eggs are laid in a year. It could be anywhere from 175-320 eggs a year. A Leghorn will lay from 280-320 a year.

  32. Maria lang says:

    Would like to adopt a chicken. Live in Illinois


  33. Hartlyn says:

    Cnudde started volunteering and eventually going into a battery cage farm with Animal Place. She s been helping with each of their rescues, focusing mostly on the medical side and rehabilitation prior to adoption.

  34. […] Helping Hens Rescue – Animal Place […]