Chickens stuck in Topsfield – Ipswich MA

By admin on March 24, 2014

Chickens stuck in Topsfield – Ipswich MA, Rescued by Harmony Counseling

Last Tuesday I was on my way home from work. I was excited because a friend I haven’t seen in a few years was coming over for dinner. I was bopping down a country road in the middle of the woods when I saw 2 red bumps in the middle of the road. “Oh, no.” I thought, “I don’t have time to get involved in any drama.” As I approached I identified the red bumps as chickens, Rhode Island Reds or so I thought. Let me be clear, that is the extent of my chicken knowledge.

I pulled my truck over as far as I could, which wasn’t very far and got out of my car and was quite surprised when the chickens came running to me making chicken noises. My landlady was the first person to pull up behind me, she made a joke about my being all set for dinner and then asked what I had planned to do. “Um, rescue them.” I replied. To which she replied that I could put them in the vegetable garden temporarily if I needed to and she moved past me and went home.

I tried and failed to catch the chickens, they clearly did not want to be caught but nor did they want to move far away from me, I chased them in circles. And then I remembered my dinner guest… Her name is Carol and she now lives in Maine and she claims she is not a vet technician but I think she is. She does admit to being a Master Groomer and Dog Trainer and some other things that I can’t remember. Most importantly she has chickens! While I was standing in the middle of the road, slowing down traffic and keeping the chickens out of the way I made three phone calls, one to Carol, “Hi, can you meet me on this road that I don’t know the name of because I am in the middle of rescuing chickens and need your help.”, the second to my landlady, “Hi, can you walk Zorro for me because I am still trying to rescue the chickens.”, third to the animal control officer who advised me that the first call he received about the chickens came in at 1:00 that afternoon and there wasn’t anything he could do, he is not equipped to rescue chickens and has nowhere to put them.

Meanwhile back on the road… all of the cars slowed down, most of the people rolled down their windows and said that this was the 2nd time they were passing the chickens and were surprised they were still there. I could tell that the chickens were wounded; both had tail feathers missing from where the tail meets the back and one had a nasty wound. The other wasn’t walking quite right. I hadn’t made any progress on moving them from the road to my truck when another woman pulled over ~ she had chicken experience! She agreed with my assessment of the wounds and said that chickens were very resilient (who knew?) and they should recover. And she had a box in her car. She caught each hen and we put them in the box and then put the box in my truck. I learned that one hen was a RI Red but the other was not because it had feathers near its feet. I called Carol, “Okay, forget about meting me on the road, they are in my truck, go to my house.” Did I mention she had never been to my house???

3 minutes later we (the hens and I) were home. I called my neighbor Brigit who has chickens. At first she thought that she would be able to keep them but her husband made her realize that her coop was full. She did offer a cage, bedding, food and water and temporary shelter. Carol arrived and we examined the hens in my truck. She assessed that the foot injuries was caused by frostbite and that the birds had been on their own for about 4 days.

I realize this story is getting long so I will shorten it up. I put my dog in another room (betting that a Greyhound and fowls would not be a good match) and we brought in the hens. We washed and blew dry the one with the back wound and applied antibiotic ointment and also applied ointment to the feet of the other hen. We moved them to Brigit’s cage and she took them home, temporarily. I made dinner and tried to revert to “good hostess role”.

The next morning I woke with one thought “I need to find homes for the hens.” I texted Dawn @ the gym; “Won’t be there, need to re-home 2 chickens”. After a flurry of text exchanges Suzy from the gym offered to take them and find a home from them. I collected them from Brigit’s and brought them to Suzy’s home in Topsfield. Brigit reported they ate and drank and slept a lot that first night.

This morning’s news is that for the first few days they were quite lethargic but now they are quite happy and very sweet. Suzy agrees with the “stressed, tired, hungry, probably on their own for 4 days” assessment. Soon they will be going to their permanent home in Beverly.

But… Answer me this: How is it possible for many cars with many people to drive by the helpless chickens and not get them to safety? It is highly doubtful they would have survived another night with frigid temperatures and with fox and coyote around. Most likely the hens would have been run over once it became dark as they were too injured to maneuver up the snow banks and get themselves off of the road.

What is it in or about our society that makes it okay to drive by another distressed living thing?

What about you, would you have stopped for the hens? A wild animal? Another farm animal? A domestic rabbit? A cow? A dog? A cat? A child? A teen? An adult? Why? Why not? Why some and not others?

Kind of crazy that in my work I specialize in getting people “un-stuck” and I also (with a lot of help) was able to get 2 chickens un-stuck, although not much counseling was involved.

The joke that’s going around my circle of friends “Why did the chicken cross the road? To be rescued by Katherine.” Ha-ha

Much thanks to the other members of the “Hen Rescue Brigade”: Carol, Brigit, Dawn, Suzy, Suzy’s mom, and the woman in Beverly.

The greatness of a society and its moral progress can be judged by the way it treats its animals. ~Mahatma Gandhi


239 Boston Street, Topsfield, MA 01983