Hanging upside-down, tied by their feet, their bodies bruised and backs nearly bald of feathers — that was the state Juno and Diana were in when they were found by a certain Good Samaritan. The Samaritan was visiting her mother’s Los Angeles neighborhood when she came across a woman walking around with the two hens. The woman said that this was her daily routine, selling chickens from her sister’s flock to residents for home slaughter.
Countless hens like Juno and Diana are sold for meat by small-scale urban businesses throughout the country. More common than the roving vendor are the live markets found in many major cities that sell and butcher old, injured, and “spent” castoffs from factory farms, such as egg-laying hens whose productivity has declined. Juno and Diana apparently were raised in a small operation instead of a giant, overcrowded warehouse packed with battery cages, but they probably endured equal misery. According to the vendor, her sister kept the chickens stuffed in bins.
Horrified by what she saw, the good Samaritan negotiated the release of the two hens and brought them home. Of course, they could not stay for long in her small apartment, so she reached out to her co-worker for help. Luckily, this co-worker is a Farm Sanctuary supporter and volunteer. When she told us their story, we gladly offered Juno and Diana a home at our Southern California Shelter.
When the two arrived, they were missing many feathers and were also very thin and, understandably, frightened of humans. They took quickly to their new surroundings, however, and, as they waited in quarantine, they appeared to be eager to flirt with the roosters next door to their barn. As soon as they received clean bills of health, we introduced them to the flock, where they immediately piqued the interest of a rooster named Li Mu Bai. Now the three are often found hanging out together in the courtyard.
Diana (pictured below on the left) and Juno (below on the right) are making new friends, but they love each other best and snuggle up in the same nesting box at night. Already Diana has a full set of feathers, and Juno’s are coming in as well. As they grow healthier and more trusting, these two are settling into a state most rare for hens born into food production: contentment.