Rescued Chickens at Home
How do you decide which animals are family, and which are food? Why are we surprised to see a rooster gazing out the kitchen window or a hen investigating the laundry? After all, chickens are present in most homes, as flesh and eggs, just not as individuals with personalities of their own.
Since 2017, I've been making portraits of chickens living in their rescuers’ homes. I've met hens whose bodies were riddled with cancer caused by the accelerated cell division associated with laying hundreds of eggs per year. I’ve cuddled roosters who were pulled out of the trash, where their first owners had dumped them once they realized that the hatchlings that they had bought at the feed store wouldn’t be giving them any eggs. I’ve played with chicks smuggled away from religious sacrifice rituals and soothed roosters seized by police from illegal cock-fighting rings.
Hundreds of millions of chickens die every year to satisfy our appetites. A very few are fortunate to be rescued by people who only want to heal and care for them. Just like cats and dogs, these chickens become part of the family, loved for themselves rather than for what their bodies provide. I share their portraits with the hope that people will be inspired to take steps toward a world where animals live their lives free from exploitation by humans.