It’s a shame that the only time most people meet a chicken is when it is already dead and has been served up as part of dinner. Chickens are much more interesting alive.
Two animal rescue organizations, Bed and Broccoli in Australia, and Wishing Well Sanctuary in Ontario, Canada have provided photos and biographies of some of the hens and roosters who have come into their care. Information on both organizations comes directly from their respective websites and can be found below. But first, meet the hens and roosters who live at the Bed and Broccoli and the Wishing Well Sanctuary.
We are unsure of Mini’s history, so we cannot explain her skittish behaviour. When anyone walks towards or past her she takes off like a jack rabbit. Once she is at what she considers a safe distance, she generally stops to look back & see what you are doing. She is a tall, thin & elegant lady who was named Mini because she looked tiny next to Queenie when they arrived together. She has a long neck & when she stretches it to see off into the distance she looks like a periscope.
Whitey Bed and Broccoli
Sister to Blackie, which makes her one of our oldest companions – not in age, but in time with us. Whitey likes to be left alone. Unlike the other hens, she is not really interested in humans and leads a chicken existence quite happily. Even when it comes to food, she has to be hungry for you to grab her attention. She announces the arrival of her eggs with gusto & ensures everyone is aware. Occasionally, she is not ready for bed & has to be coaxed into the coop. Once inside, she usually gives us a look of contempt. Perhaps she has aristocrat in her?
Shrimp (or Dinks) R.I.P : 12th September 2013 – Bed and Broccoli
Otherwise known by her nicknames; “Dinks” or “Dinky”. This little lady was Scott’s constant companion and absolutely LOVED people. She loved to follow them around, chatted non-stop & enjoyed a lap nap in the sun if given the opportunity. An ex-factory farmed hen, she had a badly burnt off beak which left her with a hole, rather than a tip, to pick up things. Corn was easy for her to pick up & because of this it was by far her favourite food. She was a little lady with a big personality! You could not help but fall in love with her. You always had to do a double-check of your car before closing doors because she liked to get in & have a look around. Please visit Miss Dink’s Tribute page and leave your comments.
Blackie Bed and Broccoli
One of our longest standing friends. Blackie, Whitey’s sister, moved from Cockatoo with us & until the arrival of Hef took on the role of protector over the other hens. To this day she will still go to the aid of the other hens if Hef is not around. She is a quiet & classy lady who takes great pride in her appearance. During her moulting process, she gets upset by her disheveled look and tends to ‘lay low’ until her appearance is more to her liking.
Billie Bed and Broccoli
Billie is a multi-coloured rooster who enjoys hanging out with his brothers, because there is safety in numbers. Billie is very scared of Hef and is not at all concerned about looking uncool when it comes to hiding in the house with us. Billie was one of nine tiny little chicks who arrived here unwanted in a shoe box. He & his brothers & sisters spent their first night at the Bed & Broccoli in a little bread bin filled with straw. As we were unsure of his sex at that time, he was originally known as Lili. He continued to hang out with the hens for as long as possible as Hef offered him protection & also found him food. Once the jig was up, Hef was unimpressed with the deception and continues to remind Billie that trying to stooge him will not be forgiven. Ever!
Gimp was one of nine little chicks that arrived in a shoe box unwanted. Once she lost her little yellow baby fluff, she turned white with a solid black head. Hence the name “Gimp”
. However as she got older, her coat became beautifully multicoloured. In April 2012, she decided to sit on her clutch of eggs and hatch them. She was a diligent future mum & would double in size & give us warnings when we entered the coop to clean. She eventually worked out we had no intention of taking her eggs & would accept corn & seed from our hand when we visited.
Queenie Bed and Broccoli
Rio Bed and Broccoli
April 2013 One morning I opened the coop gate & noticed she was not on her nest; she was hiding in a dark corner & wouldn’t move. I noticed a clean egg shell in half in her nest. An hour later I came back & asked to see what she was sitting on. She partially lifted her body to expose a tiny yellow chick who was named Rio by guests, Adrian & Renee. Gimp is a great mum & little Rio is growing up fear free & learning about life from her mum. When she wanders too far from mum & has to be called in, she is reprimanded with a peck on the head & a few stern clucks. Little Rio represents what life should be for all animals – born into freedom & raised by a loving parent. (Billie has staked claim on Rio as his child, but Hef disputes this.)
Her name came from the Queen song; “Fat bottomed girls” because she is all back-end. She arrived with Mini shortly after we moved here; she was as a gift from a local. She is a sweet lady who comes across as shy. At one stage she was very keen to become a mum & began to brood. Unfortunately her clutch of eggs were not fertilised and broke in the fourth week. Not wanting to get off her eggs, we eventually lifted her off to clean her. Unbeknown to us, she had been resting on one of her legs in an awkward manner & she was unable to stand. For a week we massaged her leg & made her a little ‘jumping chair’ that we hung from a tree where she could be outside with the others & enjoy the sun. It was designed so her feet could just touch the ground. Eventually she started to scratch the ground & soon managed to get around with a limp. She shows no sign of this today & runs around with her signature waddle.
Out of all the roosters, he is the one that has the least aversion to cuddles. He’s a BIG boy, but being big doesn’t always mean tough. He runs like the billy-o if he sees Hef coming his way. Because of his size he will forever remain a bachelor and it’s his size that can be the cause of some humorous moments. Ever seen a chicken trip whilst running? Hard to look cool … but he gathered himself up & kept going, his big bottom & trendy pantaloons disappearing into the distance. Knowing he was OK, I couldn’t help but laugh hysterically. He is also affectionately known as “Allan” to a few close friends.
Suffering from small man syndrome, this little dude exudes “Bling” & was named after Hugh Hefner. Apart from baby Rio, he is the smallest of our animal companions but this nuggetty little man is King of yard with his harem of woman. He oversees all the hens with complete dedication & diligence, more often than not going without food to stand guard whilst the hens graze out in the open. Found abandoned in an outer city children’s playground, it was suspected he was the result of a school hatching program & once he started to crow was possibly dumped. He was living with a loft of pigeons when a kind lady noticed him. His story was posted on Facebook and we offered him a home. From there his kind guardian angel caught him & three days later this little man took a 3 hour car journey to arrive here with us. Being ‘street wise’ gives him the confidence to frighten our three other roosters, who are three times his size. When chasing the other roosters you can almost hear the Benny Hill tune as his little legs go flat out. His lungs defy his size.
One of three roosters that are brothers, maybe not from the same parents. William arrived in a shoebox with the others & they have been together ever since. William was the first to exhibit rooster behaviour and was therefore the first to be ousted by Hef. He had a short time as the outsider and during this time tried to recruit his own harem. It never happened as Hef keeps an eye on all the ladies too well. Although bigger than Hef, he is smaller than his brothers. He has spectacular coloured feathers and stands tall and proud (unless Hef is around…then he just pretends he’s doing something else or looking elsewhere).
A Sussex hen, she was slightly larger than the other eight chicks when she arrived. She took on a protective role very young in life. A baby herself, she allowed the smaller chicks to sleep under her for warmth and protection. Jane loves her food. This full figured lady can set Olympic records when sprinting to food. Although she portrays a sweet, gentle & kind nature, she exhibited a jealous side when Rio was born and she would try to attack Rio when she could. Eventually we had to separate Gimp & Rio from the group. This didn’t stop Jane from pacing their enclosure fence line & challenging by doubling in size & jumping up & down. Of course to see her & spend time with her, you’d never think it of her. She wears the “Who me?” face very well.
Ziggy was a pretty little baby when she arrived, especially since she was yellow with green eyes. She never really grew much and she is still tiny in stature. When you talk to her, you have to listen carefully for her responses as even her voice is little. She even has little eggs. She can get lost in a sea of extroverted hens that swarm you, but she is worth watching out for because she is always warm and personable. And besides, she is simply gorgeous.
Named by a Bed and Broccoli
Facebook friend, Tip-Toe is very similar to Ziggy. Possibly biological sisters? Small in stature, she uses this to her advantage when corn is being thrown around. She can zip in, out & under everyone else & pick up corn on her way through. Not very talkative, she tends to communicate by showing us what she wants. A couple of times when she has been hurt or not feeling well, she displays this to us & then allows us to pick her up, examine her & treat her all without fuss. She is a happy little camper.
With a beautiful neck scarf she needed a stylish name. She is best friends with Olivia who has similar markings, but just a little darker. Jackie-O is quite the ‘jumper’ when you have food in your hand, but when eating out of your hand is very gentle. Being a fashion icon, she takes a great deal of pride in her appearance by preening for a large portion of the day & taking regular dust baths.
Brown body with yellow legs when she arrived – she looked like she was on the set of Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical” with her trendy leg warmers. Known as Liv for short, she either naturally takes longer than most to lay her eggs or enjoys little naps during the day in the warm, straw filled nesting boxes. Being possibly “spinster” sisters, she & Jackie-O tend to give the boys a wide berth. Although very much part of the group, Liv seems to have her own agenda.
Milo was rescued and bought to us by a kind lady who heard she was no longer wanted because she had stopped laying eggs. Milo was someone’s backyard companion in the suburbs and used to provide eggs for her human family. Once she stopped, she was no longer needed. This sweet little lady quickly befriended the other hens here and is super curious. Whenever anyone else shows a sign of finding something of interest – she’s there! We don’t think she had ever been handled before & when we initially picked her up to give her a health check she screamed loud enough to be heard in the next postcode. It was very sad. But now she just sits in Scott’s arms as health checks are done. No more fear. How it should be.
Pebbles name came from the fact that her beak was so badly burnt as a baby she cannot pick up anything smaller than a little pebble. She has difficulty with seed but can manage if it is on soft dirt so her beak can dig into the surface. Corn is by far her favourite treat as she can pick that up quickly when the ‘hen hurricane’ sweeps through. A sweet little girl, she LOVES to sunbake & when not lolling about is running about. She always appears to be on a mission & she watches & see’s everything. She doesn’t miss a beat.
When Dopple arrived, she was the spitting image of Abby so her name is short for Doppelganger. However the ladies now look nothing alike. Dopple is a talker. She is the type of lady that likes to say hello every time you walk past, ask what you are doing & tell you about her day. She has a quirky little eye that she likes to eyeball you with. Extremely pretty she attracts a lot of attention from guests.
Just like us, Babushka feels the cold and seeks out company for warmth. When she first arrived she picked Khan as her buddy to snuggle up too. Thing is, Khan is a 50 kilo dog. Khan was most confused by this & would gently get up & move a few feet away whenever Babushka came over. Babushka was undeterred. She wouldn’t even 100% stand, but sort of scuttle back to him & plonk herself down to draw off his body heat. Whilst this initially phased Khan, he soon resigned himself to the fact that she wasn’t going to leave him & she survived her first winter thanks to him. As the friends have now drifted apart, Babushka tends to fluff up & sit with the other hens. She is a quiet, unassuming and shy lady that is not keen on attention.
One of the loudest & most vocal of the hens around dinner time. With a 16:00hrs feed time Little Helen is staked out at the backdoor by 15:30hrs calling out ‘just in case I’ve forgotten feed time’. By the time I step out she is even louder & more excitable. You have to laugh! During the day, if you call her name in a prolonged manner; “Heeeeelennnn’ she answers you right back with a similar tone. She is a real character.
Not seen until something is happening & suddenly there is Sweet Pea. She is happy to be off doing her own thing but hates missing out on the action. Sprinting to where the action is she runs with her neck outstretched to see what it is she is homing in on. Sometimes there is such confusion going on when she arrives she misses the event anyway. Trying to get a photo of her is difficult. She doesn’t want to sit still & would prefer to peck at the camera than just look at it. A rare photo of Madam Sweet Pea.
Lady Oreo started her life as a ‘prize’ to a Primary School. Confused and scared by children chasing her, her health deteriorated rapidly until a kind teacher took pity on her. She was taken to the vet for medical treatment and taken home to feel loved. We were contacted and asked if we could offer her a home in the country. It was an easy ‘yes’. Lady Oreo reminds me of a haughty aristocrat by the way she struts around the yard. Being so pretty she teases the boys and seems happy with the company of 6 little rescued hens that arrived the same day as her. Whilst these new arrivals perch in the barn, Lady Oreo fancies the bike up the back of the barn. Those handle bars make a flash perch …unlike that fallen branch the others use! Last to come inside for the night, but if she hears her name those long legs come running.
Camilla, was brought to us by a a lovely young couple whose father-in-law was unable to care for her properly, so her care fell on the shoulders of the young couple. They loved her so much that they searched for a sanctuary where they felt she would be happiest. They contacted the Wishing Well Sanctuary. We were making arrangements to house Freida, our first hen, so we thought it would be a good thing for her to have a friend, and we agreed to take Camilla. She came with a list of her favourite foods and much concern and care. The couple still come to visit, have paid for some of Camila’s upkeep and follow her stories on our Facebook page. What a pleasure to have loving people still connected to the animals we now call “family”; it’s most often not that way at all!
Freida is the sole survivor of four battery hens who were attacked by a predator. After she was discovered among the remains of the rest of her brood, her owner agreed that she could come to live at Wishing Well Sanctuary. Although she looks a lot like Philomena and Camilla, the other two hens with whom she now lives, Freida is easily identifiable because she has been “debeaked” (a standard practice on factory farms, where chicks have the tips of their beaks removed by a hot blade). Despite all she’s been through, Freida is sociable and high-spirited.
Bruce arrived at Wishing Well Sanctuary in early February 2013, after being rescued from a facility housing birds of prey, where chicks were used as raptor food. It is unclear why Bruce, who is a Leghorn chicken and likely one of millions of male chicks discarded by the Canadian egg industry each year, was not killed for food. An animal lover found out that he was scheduled for euthanasia and contacted Wishing Well Sanctuary to ask if we could take him in. Camila and Freida were extremely curious about him upon his arrival and Bruce wasted no time exploring his new home, which he did with his tail feathers held high. Within minutes, he had found his way into the heated nesting box area and, on his first night, was spotted snuggled up to one of the girls in a nesting box.
Very little is known about Thelma and Louise before they came to live at Wishing Well Sanctuary on September 11, 2013. Quiet, but not timid, this bonded pair of chickens were found wandering in a Toronto park and in need of rescue. Wishing Well Sanctuary agreed to take them in after they were rounded up with the help of concerned members of the public. Thelma and Louise have beautiful black feathers that shimmer in the sunlight and are soft to the touch. They look very much alike, although Thelma’s legs are slightly darker than Louise’s . They have settled in nicely with Camila, Frieda and Bruce and the Sanctuary is happy to have been able to ensure that their lives have a better outcome than the movie characters their rescuers named them after.
Bed and Broccoli
The Bed and Broccoli is Australia’s first all Vegan B&B! Join us on the farm at our special vegan bed and breakfast retreat, in beautiful Katandra West, just outside Shepparton, Victoria, in the heart of the Goulburn Valley. The bed and breakfast is a small, but important, part of the farm’s activities. As a couples retreat, it was created to support our animal companions that seek refuge here through either coming from a rescue situation or who are simply in need of forever homes. It was also created to show all walks of life that they can live a happy, healthy life without harming others.
Formerly business executives, we established Bed and Broccoli on an old dairy farm as a way to invite others to experience our lifestyle and help fund the rescue of spent farm animals otherwise destined for death. Our philosophy is simple; live cruelty-free, eat no fear and enjoy an amazing range of delicious food that is easy and enjoyable to prepare. We don’t actively seek animals; they just seem to find us. We chose a vegan lifestyle out of love for animals but along the way we were also amazed to discover the incredible variety, simplicity, fullness and healthiness of the foods available. Our aim is to inspire you while discovering the joys of becoming part of the gentle and respectful vegan world. Living vegan fills you with a incredible passion for sharing the joys of a happy, healthy & ethical life.
Wishing Well Sanctuary
An oasis of discovery and development, repose and renewal, our Wishing Well Sanctuary is a centre for personal growth, inner peace, healing and joy. We are also a farm animal sanctuary and therefore we can say that we truly are a sanctuary for all! This delightful retreat is just north of “Ontario’s food basket” (the Holland Marsh) near Bradford, Ontario – a mere 45 minutes from central Toronto.
A peace pole was raised at the inaugural Wishing Well Sanctuary Open House, held in May 2012. On it are inscribed the words May Peace Prevail On Earth in Braille, English, French, Ojibway, Sanskrit, Hebrew and paw prints. We are all connected!
The Wishing Well Sanctuary is a charitable organization; therefore your donations will assist in feeding and caring for the animals on the farm and also assist in providing programs to youth and their families who otherwise could not afford to attend.
Articles in this series:
Meet Some Amazing Chickens
Chickens Need Homes Not Jobs
Vegan Egg Sellers
Last updated October 13 2013 11:00 am