Robby the Rooster
Robby the rooster came to the Refuge in July of 2014 as the sanctuary’s very first rescued animal. Robby was purchased as a chick, along with other chicks, to be used for their eggs in an urban neighborhood. Many baby chickens purchased for this reason turn out to be roosters instead of hens because it is hard to tell their gender at such a young age. Some of the people living with Robby wanted to kill him for meat because he could not provide them with eggs. One person cared about Robby’s life and did not want any harm to come to him. She contacted the Refuge where he now lives in safety for the rest of his life.
Robby’s rescue story is important to tell because it highlights some of the issues facing birds living as “backyard chickens”. The vast majority of them are born in commercial hatcheries where workers attempt to sort out the male chickens by throwing them alive in meat grinders or into plastic trash bags to dispose of them. Day old babies are shipped in boxes to consumers without food or water, and can die during travel. Roosters who live in backyard urban homes often meet a grim fate. Zoning laws banning their existence within city limits, neighbor complaints about noise, and their perception of being “useless” beings are all factors that lead to their frequent deaths.
Robby’s story doesn’t end there. His name holds special significance to Refuge founder Lenore Braford. Lenore’s dream to start an organization that advocates for farm animals would not have been possible without her great Uncle Alex. Although the purchase of the sanctuary land occurred many years after his death, Uncle Alex is honored and remembered by our first rescue Robby, who is named after Alex’s beloved dog. Having no children of his own, Alex looked upon Robby the dog as a cherished family member, even allowing him to eat off of his own dinner plate.
The bond that Alex and Robby the dog shared is not unique, but the love and care given to Robby the rooster is farm more rare. Why should this be the case? Why love one and eat the other? All animals are equally deserving of love, respect, and the right to a free life. No animal is useless, just as no person is useless.
As the Refuge continues to grow, we hope that Robby’s story and the stories of all of our rescues will touch the hearts of many and inspire a more compassionate world.