I have to begin with this: ‘I never planned to rescue a chicken’. I often thought about having a farm in Israel, and I would love to have one here in the States, but I don’t know of any farm near a Jewish community in Florida, so I never pursued it. However, I do have an organic home based plant nursery (Leaf Mulch Lady Organic Tree and Plant Nursery: http://www.leafmulchlady.com/ ), numerous butterfly gardens, and a small group of cats I rescued in and around my home – but I never thought of chickens as something that would enhance my already frenzied life. But, as life does have it, I now do have a chicken.
Carnation Rose was rescued on September 21, 2015 from some bushes near a four lane highway in North Miami Beach, Florida. She was a pathetic, balding, and bleeding small filthy white chicken found attempting to cross a major highway by Miriam, the daughter of one of my dearest friends. Miriam, age 19, who is vegetarian and loves animals, called her mom to ask who she should call to help her with the chicken, who she spotted on her way to the bus stop. Her mom immediately said to call me.
Just the day before, I expressed interest in buying some chickens that were going to be brought into our neighborhood to be used for the Jewish custom ‘kaporos’, where a live chicken is publicly slaughtered in front of young children and families, watched as she dies, and ‘supposedly’ given to a family in need. Beside being one of the most horrifically barbaric Jewish practices, many rabbeim have already condemned this as nothing within halacha, and actually against the Jewish law of ‘tzaar baalei hayim’ (kindness to living creatures: http://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/ethical-treatment-of-animals-in-judaism/# and http://www.endchickensaskaporos.com/a_heartfelt_plea.html ). I told my friend it would be nice to give these gentle creatures something other than this horrific fate. So it was to my surprise that Miriam actually found one of these chickens that somehow had escaped. Our Carnation Rose either fell or flew off the truck coming off of the highway while driving towards the shul.
Below are pictures I took of her the day we got her (September 21, 2015). These are taken from my house:
I want to add that how we finally got her, particularly since she kept running inside the bushes off a major highway, was nothing short of miraculous. Miriam and I were out in the Florida sun for over 1 1/2 hours to no avail, as the chicken kept on darting back into the bushes (thank G-d not into the traffic) every time we attempted to catch her. She was bleeding, had open sores, and Miriam and I were not about to touch her with our hands. I brought plastic gloves and a cat carrier that we were trying to coax her into, but that was definitely not working. Finally, we gave up and were on our way to the car when she decided to come out of the bushes and lead us to the parking lot. It was almost like she knew her only hope at being rescued was leaving and she decided to take the opportunity to join us. Since then I have realized that this chicken (and probably all chickens) is much smarter than I thought ….
The parking lot was fenced in on the side she walked into, so this was a tremendous improvement. However, she went under a parked car and kept running under the cars parked near the fence. I asked Ha-Shem to help us get her if it was what He intended. At that moment, a frum woman coming out of her car in the parking lot noticed that a chicken was under a car. Yes, we were trying to get her but couldn’t. Then this women went over to the car, tapped gently, the chicken ran out towards the fence, the woman quickly followed her to the fence, quickly grabbed her gently with both hands, and put her in my cat carrier. A miracle beyond belief! Turns out this remarkable woman had chickens as a child and was fully versed in how to catch them, barehanded. Carnation Rose was intended for us, of this I am sure.
Since we have had her, I have come to learn that she is most likely a chicken called a ‘Cornish x’, which is a chicken specifically bred for slaughter and specifically for breast meat. I have researched some articles about Cornish x hens here:
Please view these pages carefully. Our beautiful Carnation Rose was once one of these.
And here is what she looks like now, after daily feedings of organic raw oats, a small amount of corn, and lots of backyard foraging. She didn’t have a clue what to do in the yard until about a week after we got her and she had had daily walks every day. She was a factory farm chicken, and most likely had never seen dirt or grass. She also didn’t know how to clean or preen herself until days following her rescue. She has become in these few short weeks a fluffy pearly-white stunner, on the mend. The only feathers that are still in need of repair are her tail feathers, and these will come in as she continues to be in recovery:
I would like this blog to be a testimony to the incredible power all creatures have to heal under the right circumstances, how much all creatures truly love their lives and want to live pain free lives, and the horrific abuse these very gentle and amazing animals have to endure simply to satisfy our meat-heavy appetites!
Please reconsider the practice of kaporos if you partake in it …. and please consider becoming vegetarian ….. or reducing your consumption of meats to a very small minimum ….. there are so many delicious things to eat without causing harm to animals … !!
I thank you, and Carnation Rose thanks you !!! G-d bless …..