Your top questions about living with a chicken answered!

Where does she sleep? What happens to the eggs? Poop?!

Dec. 12, 2018, 9:29 p.m.

Why do you have a chicken?

Chickens in Saba Halal Slaughterhouse

In June of this year I walked into a Kensington slaughterhouse with 40 other activists. What we saw in there was horrifying. Hundreds of animals were kept in cages where they could barely move, the smell of feces and blood was overwhelming. We took Angela out of that hellhole, and brought her to receive the medical care she desperately needed. We decided that Angela’s best chance at a long, happy, life would be a micro-sanctuary where she could receive personalized care that suited her unique personality.

Where does she live now?

Angie watching tv in bed

Angie lives inside our West Philly home with us. She has a designated pen in a spare bedroom where she sleeps on her perch and hangs out when we can’t keep an eye on her. When we are home, she often spends the afternoons dust-bathing in the backyard, or wandering around from room to room to find the best sun spots on the floor to lounge in.

Where does she go to the bathroom?

Chickens are not particularly prone to being potty-trained, so Angie wears a custom chicken diaper made by Vanessa of Penelope’s Place, a micro-sanctuary in Brooklyn! I change her diaper daily, and wash them often.

Does she lay eggs?

Angie rolling in the dirt

Yes, Angie lays eggs. Chickens of Angie’s breed have been bred to lay eggs at an insane rate. We aren’t 100% sure of Angie’s past, but we’re pretty sure she was kept in a battery farm upstate before being sent to the Kensington slaughterhouse when she stopped producing enough eggs to be “profitable”. Yet, a decline in production is common in hens who have been nutritionally depleted. Once we got Angie back up to speed with quality calcium-rich foods she started laying again. However, in the fall and winter her laying naturally declines, and eggs become quite rare. We are looking into getting her implanted to prevent laying again in the spring.

Do you eat her eggs?

Angie eats her eggs

No, we do not eat her eggs. Given how nutritionally draining the process is for her, feeding her eggs back to her (scrambled, usually) is an important part of her diet. Additionally, the process is incredibly painful for her, usually resulting in multiple cries of pain while she tries to lay. It would not be right for us to benefit from her suffering, given that we are meant to be her caregivers.

Does she get along with the other animals?

We live with a cat and multiple rats in addition to Angie, and so far we have yet to have any trouble between them. Hathor (the cat) and Angie mostly just avoid each other, and I keep the rats and Angie separate, although their habitat is in the same room as Angie’s pen.

Does she make a mess?

Peeking in through the window

Kinda, yeah! Angie leaves dander and feathers where ever she walks, and I usually vacuum or sweep every day. Left to her own devices, she also enjoys digging through potted plants and kicking the dirt everywhere to play in.

What’s her personality like?

Chickens each have unique personalities, and of the seventeen I have personally rescued and cared for, no two were alike. Angie certainly is unique, and is one of the toughest hens I know. She is feisty, with a bold attitude that won’t quit. In some ways she is very smart, for example she has learned how to ask to be let in from outside by squawking at the door, and knows to run and hide at the sound of me grabbing her diaper. In other ways, she is very goofy. For example one night she seemed to have gotten lost upstairs and couldn’t find her way back to her perch for bedtime

What if I want to learn more about rescued chickens?

Angie enjoying the porch

Be sure to checkout the Microsanctuary Movement to learn more about individuals caring for a small number of rescued animals and providing excellent standards of care, especially to chickens. For a more hands on experience, schedule a day trip to visit Chenoa Manor where you can meet rescued animals and learn about their experiences. While you’re there, say “hi” to Teddy the rooster an his four sisters for me!