United Poultry Concerns
12 February 2009
UPC Welcomes 60 Hens from Mississippi Cockfighting Raid

United Poultry Concerns welcomed 60 chickens including 5 chicks permanently into our sanctuary in Machipongo, Virginia following the raid of a suspected cockfighting operation in Olive Branch, Mississippi by the Humane Society of the United States.

On January 23, 2009, the day of the raid, UPC received an urgent call from HSUS asking if we could immediately adopt any of the 95 hens and chicks seized at the Mississippi location. We said, “Yes! We can give a home to sixty birds!”

Forty-eight hours later, on Sunday morning, January 25, a truck pulled into our sanctuary, and we carefully unloaded 56 weary but very happy chickens into one of our predator-proof yards. We placed the other 4 hens with our two bachelor roosters, Mackenzie and Prince, who welcomed them ecstatically and with whom they will stay.

We quickly arranged to have a new spacious enclosure built for our new residents. Today, a predator-proof fenced yard with its own predator-proof house is nearly ready for 56 hens to move into by the end of the week with our rooster Oliver. We told him, “Despite the housing crunch, you’re getting a mansion!”

If you would like to help UPC with the cost of our new $6000 chicken home, we would be very grateful for your contribution. Please click on www.upc-online.org/donate.htm to donate.

The sad side of this happy adoption story – the remaining 35 hens were adopted by other sanctuaries – is the death of all the roosters seized in the Mississippi raid. The problem is not that “cockfighting” birds are too aggressive to be placed in a good home but that there are few places that can take them, including UPC at this time. The majority of these poor traumatized roosters can be rehabilitated once the fear factor is replaced with tender loving care. See www.upc-online.org/cockfighting/.

On a related note, click on the Feb. 7 article in the Atlantic City Press about a feral rooster population a group of New Jersey residents wants relocated (www.pressofatlanticcity.com/179/story/396136.html). It didn’t get into the article but Karen Davis explained that roosters can usually be housed together successfully without hens to contend over. We hope the NJ residents will let the birds stay where they are.

Meanwhile, our Mississippi hens are thriving at UPC, and we’re thrilled to have them here. They’re as pretty and sweet and friendly as they can be, and we keep telling them they’ll soon be wedded to Oliver in a home of their own.

Photos of Rescued Mississippi Hens and New Chicken Home

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