Mary Britton Clouse founded Chicken Run Rescue—the only urban chicken adoption program—in 2001 after previously working with dog and cat adoption. Many people are aware of cruelty and abuse against dogs and cats, but Britton Clouse felt that no one was there for the chickens.
“Chickens are the most abused animals on the planet,” says Britton Clouse, referring to the fact that anticruelty and humane slaughter laws do not apply to chickens. Although sanctuaries for former farm animals exist, there were no agencies actively finding homes for the displaced animals. To date, Chicken Run Rescue has placed nearly 700 domestic fowl in forever homes.
Although raising chickens properly has a high start-up cost, they can live comfortably in an urban backyard for their 14-year lifespan. Chickens are social animals, capable of bonding with their own species and with humans. Like other companion animals, chickens have their own temperaments. Some prefer solitude, while others love to be held and stroked. Chicken Run Rescue adopts loving animals as pets within 90 miles of the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.
The trend of urban farming has led to an increased number of abandoned birds. Since April 2009, there have been more than 300 surrender inquires for chicken and other fowl in the Minneapolis area. Often new hobby farmers do not realize that a hen’s egg production peaks at 18 months, or that half of all birds bred will be male.
One rooster, later named Ernst, was going to be given away for slaughter after his sex was discovered. A woman stepped in and took Ernst to Chicken Run Rescue, where he stayed until a woman who had recently lost her rooster of the same breed adopted him. During his time at Chicken Run Rescue, Ernst was hand tamed and learned to love people, eventually following Britton Clouse around the yard as she gardened.
When adopting from Chicken Run Rescue, new owners can be assured knowing the sex, health, and personality of the bird, unlike when purchasing from a hatchery. Chicken Run Rescue is committed to the birds for life and will find new homes for the birds if the owner is unable to keep them for any reason. Adopters are also given comprehensive information packets and encouraged to contact Chicken Run Rescue for advice on care, health and behavior at any time, day or night.
Because of Chicken Run Rescue’s devotion to the animals, it is not surprising that chicken lovers are passionate about this unique adoption agency.
For more information, visit brittonclouse.com/chickenrunrescue/. --Valerie Lute