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In the U.S., there are no federal laws protecting chickens from abuse and approximately 9 billion chickens are killed for their flesh each year. Chickens raised for meat are selectively bred to grow so quickly that their legs and organs can’t keep up, often leading to heart attacks, organ failure, and leg deformities. These chickens are sent to slaughter at only 6 to 7 weeks old.

In the United States, more than 300 million hens are used for their eggs every year. Hens used in the egg industry often spend their entire lives crammed tightly together inside wire cages. Even chickens raised on “cage free” farms, rarely have significantly more room, and “certified humane” still allows for farmers to cut off a part of their sensitive beaks, so the hens don’t peck each other out of frustration. Between selective breeding, artificial lighting, and drugs, hens lay unnaturally high numbers of eggs so that their bodies quickly become depleted. When their egg production drops, these hens are sent to slaughter. Male chicks in the egg industry are killed immediately.

Roosters are the animals we receive the most requests to take in. With the growing popularity of backyard hens, the public continues to breed and buy baby chicks, half of whom will mature into roosters. Because sexing chicks is an inexact science, one in ten chicks sold as female will mature into a rooster. Roosters are often unwanted or banned within city limits due to their signature loud crow, and protectiveness over their flock. Sadly, only one in every 500 roosters who enters a shelter, finds a home. This is an under-recognized yet exponentially growing area of concern in animal rescue.



– Chickens form friendships and social hierarchies, recognize one another, develop a pecking order, and can remember the faces and ranks of more than 100 other birds!

– Chickens have a cultural knowledge that they pass down from generation to generation, which helps them avoid harmful foods.

– Chickens have dozens of different vocalizations to communicate. There are different sounds for danger approaching from land, sky, and water and mother hens begin teaching these to her chicks before they even hatch. Mother hens cluck softly to their chicks before they hatch and they chirp back to her and to each other from inside their shells.

– It’s a rooster’s job to protect his flock from potential danger. At Charlie’s Acres, Brewster calls all of the hens inside if he spots a hawk overhead. He will also taste test new foods for them to make sure that it is safe to eat. Once Brewster determines that the food is safe, he guards his family while they eat without fear.


A flock of chickens can be a wonderful addition to your life. Chickens are intelligent and curious, and each has a distinct personality. They’ll keep your garden free of pests (and well fertilized) and bring a smile to your face every day!


Find fun animal-themed activities, as well as educational and compassionate lesson plans for kids and teachers on our kids page!