Early last year, Compassion Over Killing sent an undercover investigator with a hidden camera into the Cal-Cruz Hatchery in California to document the treatment of the ducklings and chicks being processed there. What he found was incredibly disturbing. Baby birds deemed unfit for production were brutally discarded, crushed in disposal units, decapitated and mangled in machinery, and left to die slowly in buckets already filled to the brim with sick, weak and injured birds, among many other horrors.
Shortly after the video was shot, it was passed on to the Santa Cruz Animal Services Authority. Another investigation was mounted, the results of which supported the evidence that animal abuse was occurring at Cal-Cruz. Subsequently, 88 ducklings were seized from the location, but many were in such terrible condition that they had to humanely euthanized. Thirty eight of the remaining survivors, however, found safe refuge at Farm Sanctuary, where they received a second chance at life.
When they arrived at our California Shelter, life immediately started to look up for these lucky ducks. After a relaxing stay with us in our sanctuary hospital, many of the ducklings were adopted out through our Farm Animal Adoption Network (FAAN), relocating to homes far away, both geographically and emotionally, from the place of their abuse. Now all grown up, eight of the ducks remain with us, savoring every moment of their carefree life.
Atlas, Aurora and Hendrix, have become inseparable since reconnecting at our main pond a few months after their arrival. Though Atlas and Aurora have bent necks from an unknown cause, this does not hinder the fun that they have together with Hendrix, swimming under the bright California sun.
Two of the other birds, Otis and Gordy, have also paired off and become great friends. Currently, they live separately from the rest of the flock because Gordy has been dealing with some minor health issues. Gregarious and outspoken, Gordy doesn’t let anything get her down, though, and can often be found fluffing up her feathers to show off to passersby.
The other three rescued birds, Daisy, Matt and Lenny, have become feathered friends for life too. Together, the three of them enjoy all of the same activities that our other duck residents do. They eat a healthy meal in the morning and quickly dash down to the pond for a day of swimming and socializing. Daisy is easy to recognize due to her misshapen beak, which she expertly uses as a scoop for food when mealtime comes around. Despite her disability, she is incredibly independent and sometimes even decides to leave her friends behind and adventure out on her own.
Today, these birds are leading very happy lives at the sanctuary. But if it weren’t for the support of our members, this would not have been possible. If you would like to play a part in future rescue efforts, and help protect farm animals everywhere from cruelty, please donate to the Emergency Rescue Fund!