In Woodlawn, the Chicago Chicken Rescue Is a Refuge for Homeless Birds

Since 2016, the Chicago Chicken Rescue has been a haven for homeless chickens, ducks, and other birds. For each its internet site, the organization’s target is “rescuing hens, ducks, pea fowls and roosters, supplying rehabilitation treatment and getting endlessly residences for chickens who are neglected, abused or discarded.” The website gives varieties to surrender or undertake birds and a website link to donate.

Vincent Hermosilla and his wife Christina Zelano, who run the rescue, mentioned in an job interview with The Maroon that they wished for their corporation to keep on being rather small profile for the reason that they are focused on providing treatment for their animals.

The Chicago Chicken Rescue currently has all-around 80 animals in a backyard in Woodlawn. There’s a tiny gentleman-produced pond, grassy space, and two large coops. Birds are all over the place. Ducks drink from a kiddie pool, chickens roost and squawk, a turkey lurks in the track record, and a peacock sitting atop a fence watches more than the scene. In accordance to the rescue, that peacock is the king of the garden, guarding the other birds from predators he the moment killed a raccoon, and he regularly scares off rats and other pests.

Birds rarely escape from the yard, and when they do, they by no means go considerably. The rescue acknowledged that there have been scattered sounds issues but mentioned that general, their neighbors “have been incredible.” Caring for chickens and ducks in a residential neighborhood is complicated, the rescue mentioned, while Hermosilla acknowledged that “if you acquire treatment of the birds and you sit down and place the time in, it is doable.” The rescue’s proprietors mentioned they spend amongst $15,000 and $20,000 out of pocket on the rescue every 12 months, and both of those owners commit 10 or extra several hours doing the job for the rescue for each 7 days.

Most of that revenue goes to feed. The chickens are fed a combine of barley, corn, and sunflower seeds, and the ducks eat that feed along with kitchen area leftovers. “Every time we have leftover foodstuff, we just give it to the ducks, and they have a industry day,” Hermosilla mentioned. He recalled a story from his early times functioning the rescue.

“I experienced this idealistic graphic of putting lily pads and h2o lettuces in the pond,” he mentioned, “and I believed, ‘It’s likely to be this lovely eco-friendly live pond, ideal?’ So I obtained like $200 well worth of these lovely aquatic crops. I was tremendous enthusiastic.… I set it all up and I went inside. I arrive again 10 minutes later on, and the ducks experienced [gotten into] the pond and [eaten] every single tiny little bit of lettuce.… They had a great handle.”

A rooster perches on a coop at the Chicago Rooster Rescue.

Zachary Leiter / The Chicago Maroon


The Maroon also frequented Chicago Animal Care and Manage (CACC) and spoke with CACC Assistant Director Jenny Schlueter about the Chicago Chicken Rescue and fowl care attempts in Chicago. A office of the Chicago Metropolis Federal government, CACC is effective to “[protect] general public safety and [ensure] the humane care of animals via sheltering, pet placement, training, and animal legislation enforcement.” CACC accepts stray and owner-surrendered animals by appointment from 12–7 p.m. every day. Consumption appointments can be scheduled by cellular phone at (312) 747–1406 or by emailing [email protected]

Schlueter emphasized the work CACC has accomplished to reform its standing as a “kill shelter.” In 2019, CACC busted a major cockfighting ring west of Chicago, rescuing 120 or 130 chickens in the course of action. “Most of the time, roosters and chickens from cockfighting births are just euthanized,” Schlueter said, but—with the assistance of the Chicken Rescue—CACC fostered or adopted away all of that bust’s birds. For four yrs functioning, CACC has euthanized much less than 10 per cent of its animals.

Schlueter said that in the very last five many years, the quantity of birds turned more than to CACC has regularly enhanced. She characteristics the improve mainly to the growing popularity of maintaining nontraditional pets. Nevertheless most of CACC’s birds come from yard coops, Schlueter explained some came from cockfighting. “There have been some periods where by chickens look like they may perhaps have come off of vans headed to slaughterhouses.”

Schlueter is not involved that the Chicago Hen Rescue would inspire unprepared homeowners to test to increase chickens them selves. She expressed gratitude to the rescue for its do the job to deliver for shed and neglected birds and to educate the community about right animal care. Many of the birds turned above to CACC are taken by the rescue the remainder of the rescue’s birds arrive from men and women in the Chicago neighborhood who are not able to treatment for the birds.

Schlueter spoke about the acceptance of keeping backyard chickens and her suggestions to potential bird proprietors. “I know people’s hearts [are] in the suitable location,” she said. But she cautioned that caring for chickens or other birds can be “messy” and time-consuming. “It can draw flies in the summer months, and you have to remain on best of it. Of course, they’re sweet and they’re enjoyment to watch, but just like any other pets, do your study initially and make sure you are up for it before you dive in.”

Schlueter mentioned that prospective proprietors really should check out with their neighbors just before having chickens and stressed the great importance of exploring bird treatment. Any person with inquiries about possessing birds, Schlueter explained, ought to chat to the rescue.

“It’s truly significant to us to manage definitely fantastic relationships with our rescue companions,” she stated. “We never know when we’re going to have a hen bust or [get a stray chicken]. We just can’t anticipate when we’re likely to get [birds] that we require assist with, and we really do not definitely have facilities set up to preserve them prolonged phrase. So we can virtually just simply call and text [the Chicago Chicken Rescue] any time, and we know that they’re there to enable us.… I cannot say adequate superior matters about our marriage and about what they do.”

The proprietors of the rescue emphasised that however they have sympathy for the birds, they are not activists. “If there is a hen which is hurt or it’s hurt or it’s hungry or mistreated, we’ll acquire treatment of that chicken. We’ll give it a good residence.” As Hermosilla mentioned of the rescue, “We do it for the birds.”

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A shut-up of a hen at the Chicago Hen Rescue.

Zachary Leiter / The Chicago Maroon