On January 30, we received a call to provide rescue in a huge way. 126 chickens had been seized from a cockfighting ring in Glenwood City, Wisconsin, and were on their way to a processing plant.
As you know, Heartland Farm Sanctuary is a place where humans and animals alike find refuge and help heal each other. These birds, having been raised in deplorable conditions, deserved a second chance as ambassadors of hope and healing at Heartland. So, in the early hours of the very next morning, a team of staff and volunteers rented a large truck and began the 3 ½ hour drive to rescue the flock.
While jumping in the truck seemed like a big enough challenge, more was needed to make this rescue successful. For starters, Heartland does not yet have facilities to isolate animals and nurse them back to health.
But what we lack in facilities, we certainly have in commitment! We have the most dedicated volunteers - and one of them offered to let us use her property temporarily. Another Heartland team swung into action to prepare a rehabilitation shelter at her property.
With the freezing temperatures, the birds could not be housed in the rehabilitation area safely unless insulation was put up on the walls. Perches were built, animal care supplies were purchased, and poultry feed was stocked into storage containers.
After a long day of work, the chicken rehabilitation area was ready - and just in time for the birds' arrival that Saturday evening, just 24 hours after we'd learned about their desperate story.
After getting all of the birds settled in, it was clear that much additional care would be needed. All of the birds were suffering from lice and internal parasites, many had severe respiratory problems, and several were dangerously malnourished. Over the next few weeks, volunteers and staff worked tirelessly to care for the sick birds, administering antibiotics, special feedings, and tender loving care. Preparations also began to build permanent housing for the flock of 126.
As the birds healed, housing sheds were completed at Heartland and once their quarantine period was over, the birds who were healthy enough to be transported were brought to their new home - your Heartland barn. Now each passing day brings more rescued birds to Heartland (and more happy clucks!) thanks to people like you who care about giving these birds a second chance.
Many of the chickens will be placed in forever homes, while the rest will live out their days at Heartland. In the coming days and weeks we will share their stories of rescue, recovery, and happy endings. Those staying with us will be ambassadors of hope and healing to the many vulnerable children and adults who visit Heartland's barn.
The chickens have received an excellent start to their second chance at life, but the story doesn't end here. We need your help now to provide the care they need in the weeks and months to come. Your gift of $100, $50, $25, or any amount you can afford is greatly appreciated.
Dana Barre, Executive Director & Founder
P.S. Please be a part of this rescue with your donation today. Thank you.