An apartment in Brooklyn was Coco’s second home. Her first home was a live poultry market where she was kept in a cage, her eggs collected and sold. A young man living in Brooklyn purchased her and took her home to the apartment he shares with his mother, and there she lived quite happily. Until the neighbors complained, that is. Apparently, some people were unhappy that she spent some of her days sunning herself on their little balcony.
So, they called us and we made arrangements for them to bring her to us. The first night she spent in the coop, she was a bit disoriented by so many other birds, none of whom are in cages. But she was out and about with everyone else the first thing the next day, learning the joys of grass and dirt as well as the companionship of other birds.
When she got here, she wasn’t in the best shape (her comb was pale, many feathers were missing), but now she’s getting more color in her and her feathers are beginning to grow back, although that will take some time.
This is a very happy ending for a very special bird. But we cannot forget the tens of thousands of other birds who are not so lucky: purchased through the mail, plopped in a backyard, given various degrees of care (or lack thereof), so often tossed aside when neighbors or governments decide that their urban environments are somehow more appealing when the sound and sight of chickens is removed.
Just last week, Los Angeles voted to limit the number of roosters per household to one. How many mail-order birds will be kicked out or taken to the slaughterhouse as a result? And this is just one example of what’s happening across the nation as the backyard bird phenomenon gathers strength.
Again, please urge anyone you know who is contemplating the joys of eating eggs from their own chickens to rethink their plans! At the very least, all zoning ordinances should be examined prior to obtaining the birds (it’s generally quite easy to call the town clerk and find out the zoning for one’s particular area). Further, no birds should ever be ordered through the mail; there are many, many sanctuaries looking to rehome rescued hens and roosters, and there are also plenty of other places where people are “looking for a good home” for their birds.
Finally, before you decide to go for it, educate yourself as to the care of chickens. They don’t require much care when compared with, say, a dog or cat, but they certainly do have basic and particular needs for food, shelter, and (at times) medical attention. Be sure you know how to make a good home for your birds.
In the meantime, Coco will be enjoying the glorious fall weather here at the Eastern Shore Sanctuary.