We learned about the turkey poults, Ferris and Faye, through a call from Christine of Second Chance Chickens Microsanctuary in Northern New Jersey. As the name suggests, microsanctuaries operate on a smaller scale—providing lifelong, individualized care in the same way that larger sanctuaries do, but for a select group of animals. A local feed store, familiar with Second Chance Chickens, had reached out about a sick turkey poult they couldn’t sell. Thankfully, instead of culling him—a popular practice within the food animal industry—they thought that he deserved a second chance.
Ferris and Faye (turkeys); Ginger, Lovey, and Thurston (chickens)
March 16, 2019; March 17, 2019
Faye and Ferris are Broad Breasted Whites; the chickens are Cornish Crosses. They’re the most common breeds raised for food, and most lack basic care.
This March, five baby birds got their lucky break. Arriving just a day apart, two poults (baby turkeys) and three peeps (baby chickens) escaped cruelty and joined new flocks at Farm Sanctuary.
Christine agreed to take him, but also asked if they could send a second bird; turkeys are flock animals, so having a friend around for emotional support could help the poult heal. The employee agreed, and Christine brought the pair home with her. Since Christine specializes in chickens and ducks, she asked if we could take them on.
The poults are an industrial breed—likely Broad Breasted Whites, the most common turkey breed raised for food. Many people patronize feed stores because they don’t want to support factory farming, but don’t realize that these birds go through very similar circumstances in order to get there. Just like turkeys on factory farms, Ferris and Faye began their lives at an industrial hatchery: they never even met their mothers. At just days old, they were shipped through the mail with minimal food, water, and protection, and arrived at the feed store in bad shape.
Then, two became five. The next day, we got a call about three baby chicks, abandoned in a box on a New York City street. While it might seem shocking to imagine farm animals wandering around The Big Apple, these three—now named Ginger, Lovey, and Thurston—were only the first of eight animals found on the loose there that week alone!
The chicks are Cornish Crosses, the most common chicken breed raised for food. We don’t know how they wound up on the street, but are thankful for those who helped save their lives.
Ferris and Faye come to Farm Sanctuary after their rescue from a feed store.
Ginger, Lovey, and Thurston arrive after rescuers found them on a NYC street.
To many, a small backyard chicken or turkey flock conveys the image of an idyllic urban homestead—the very antithesis of the factory egg farm. But for nearly all backyard birds, life begins the same way it does for factory farmed birds—separated from their families and shipped through the mail with no food or water, or temperature control—and it often ends much the same way as well.
When these five arrived, there was an illness passing through our flocks—one which we were already treating, but which could be deadly to the young birds. Since the risk of exposure was too high, they spent their early days at live-in caregiver Sierra’s home—making for a very full house, indeed! Her bird-proofed home made a great temporary chicken coop; they had plenty of space to relax and explore, and we could provide initial testing and treatment in a safe place.
Finding New Flocks
To many, a small backyard chicken or turkey flock conveys the image of an idyllic urban homestead—the very antithesis of the factory egg farm. But for nearly all backyard birds, life begins the same way it does for factory farmed birds—separated from their families and shipped through the mail with no food or water, or temperature control—and it often ends much the same way as well. For more information on compassionate rescue, and how you can help farm animals in need, check out our Farm Animal Adoption Network.
What Daniel learned from Faye and Ferris turkeys
Before Faye tries to bite my fingers off, I'll hide him. And that kind of sums up the relationship that I have with Faye and Ferris. I'm not going to touch you, I'm not. I'm really not. It's kind of all on their terms, and it's more of me trying to spend some time with them. And then telling me that they'd rather be left alone, which is fine.
The thing that I've learned from Faye and Ferris is that, no matter how well you get along or you don't get along, there's always room for respect and treating each other well. I think that is something that's pretty easily forgotten in the world today. If you just give someone a chance, and you try to meet them halfway, you can have a relationship, even if you don't always get along.
What Daniel learned from Faye and Ferris turkeys