Many people have a backyard flock because they believe raising chickens at home for eggs or meat is a humane alternative to factory farming. We wish that were true, but unfortunately, backyard flocks suffer just as much, beginning with a life that more than likely started at a hatchery.
Most backyard chickens start their lives in hatcheries where they are seen as nothing more than a commodity. The hens are then shipped either directly to a buyer or to a store where the hens will be resold to the public. They are shipped as tiny, day-old chicks, without food or water, and with little to no protection from the elements. Some chicks don’t survive the traumatic journey and that’s exactly what happened in 2005 when a box containing 50 white hens and 50 black hens was shipped from a hatchery.
The person who was supposed to get the box of hens from the post office never did. As the chicks sat waiting, many of them passed away.
A kind postal worker intervened to help the babies. Only 55 chicks were still alive. Of the 55, 27 were young roosters, a common practice is to include male chicks as packing material.
One of the survivors, now adorably named Tofu, is living her life happily at Farm Sanctuary.
Tofu is now an ambassador at Farm Sanctuary, raising awareness for countless chickens just like her. Tofu spends her days roaming the Farm Sanctuary turkey-barn pasture with her friends, Gertrude, Gobi, and Clementine.
If Tofu had reached her original destination in 2005, it is unlikely she would have lived as long than at Farm Sanctuary. Backyard chickens are still killed at a fraction of their natural lifespan.
We are thrilled Tofu is thriving at Farm Sanctuary and enjoying the life she deserves. Chickens not only feel pain and fear, but they are incredibly smart. They can learn how to do puzzles, and play games, and they are amazing mothers that take care of their babies and even have been seen “talking” and “purring” to their eggs. Baby chicks are even known to show object permanence or the ability to understand object exists, even when they can’t see it. Considering their incredible intelligence and emotional abilities, we must remember that at the end of the day, a chicken isn’t just a menu item, they are a living, breathing thing.
Please help us educate the public about the thousands of less fortunate animals by sharing this post with your friends and family.
For more information about Farm Sanctuary’s work to end farm abuse, visit their website.
Image Source: Farm Sanctuary/Tumblr