Wally's Journal - A Rescue Hen

HomesteaderWife

Crowing
Apr 24, 2015
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Alabama
I'm not sure. We know the area and there were no farms around at all, so I don't know if she somehow escaped and made a long journey or if our original thought of someone having dumped her was right. I believe someone dumped her because she didn't try to even leave the parking lot, she seemed confused and stayed close to the same little area.
 

cluckmecoop7

Chickens Rule!
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Jan 4, 2019
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My Coop
I'm not sure. We know the area and there were no farms around at all, so I don't know if she somehow escaped and made a long journey or if our original thought of someone having dumped her was right. I believe someone dumped her because she didn't try to even leave the parking lot, she seemed confused and stayed close to the same little area.
Aw, poor girl. (Yeah, I know. I've said that already.)
 

BarredRockMom

Crowing
Jun 9, 2013
643
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Pennsylvania
I'm not sure. We know the area and there were no farms around at all, so I don't know if she somehow escaped and made a long journey or if our original thought of someone having dumped her was right. I believe someone dumped her because she didn't try to even leave the parking lot, she seemed confused and stayed close to the same little area.
*Sigh*. Dumping animals, driving away & just leaving them to make it or not make it earns one a whole different level in hell. I'm going to sign up to make periodic visits just to help their stays be as hellish & nightmarish as possible. I will be extremely creative. You're welcome chickens of the world!
 

HomesteaderWife

Crowing
Apr 24, 2015
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@BarredRockMom - Slather them in feed and let the chooks peck them forever :D

But on a serious note, it was quite ironic. I had literally been telling my husband how I for years have always kept a watchful eye for animals in need and it had never happened. Told him about some cases from animal shelter days, and about how my Grandma was the resident animal lover out in the country everyone knew had an open home when I was a kid. Then bam, a few days later we're catching a chicken wide open in the parking lot LOL! This was the first time I've truly had a rescue of my own, and I am thankful. It was two weeks to the date after losing my elderly adopted shelter dog, so it brought cheer after a period of some sorrow. :)
 

HomesteaderWife

Crowing
Apr 24, 2015
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September 21st, 2020-
This morning, I was tickled to finally get a happy cluck from Miss Wally. I walked down to the coops as normal and called her name - "Wally!" - - She started into a frantic, excited clucking similar to the sound they make when they call up their babies or friends for food. I've noticed over the years, they'll occasionally make the same call to their human friends when they want attention. I've been waiting for this day, and gosh was I so happy to hear it! Mother In Law joked with me that she finally accepted me as her adopted mom.
Feathers are growing back in nicely (though I still worry about why they look so frayed? I don't see mites though.)
She's a particular little (big) lady! Her normal grains don't hold a candle to getting her particular favorite grass, and she is choosey about which type she gets unlike the other feathered friends. She'll stop eating grains to get a bit of that grass. And hold the phone! If she sees the red handled shovel moving, she's pacing the front of her cage. She knows the shovel means its worm time already. A big one was dug this morning, and she snapped it up and ran to the bag of the cage with it in a hurry. I remember the first few days, she cowered at the back and wouldn't touch the worms in her bowl until I was halfway across the yard.
Evening beak rubs are a must, and she's gradually letting me pet her chest and head. She's still so flighty, but this is one thing she will tolerate. Can't finish out the day without it. I occasionally make very quiet clucks afterwards that make her turn her head towards me and close her eyes, similar to how some of our broody hens quietly would cluck to their babies at night in a comforting manner. A whisper of "Goodnight Wally" and she's ready for bed. Just a little bit longer, and she can start acclimating to live with the flock.

IMG_7938.jpg IMG_7940.jpg IMG_7942.jpg
 

BarredRockMom

Crowing
Jun 9, 2013
643
1,687
287
Pennsylvania
Oh, I am so glad to hear this latest installment of your Adventures with Wally! How sweet it must be to hear her vocalizations & to interact with her! She's really coming around & surely appreciates the security that you're providing to her.

I'm sure you know that her coming around will continue to be a process and she'll get there when she does & go as far as she's willing to go. Remember, you don't know what her environment was like before you found her, so you're likely overcoming whatever THAT was AND easing the trauma of being abandoned/lost/terrified at having lost all thing familiar to her.

I can tell that she's already made great strides toward being a happy, well adjusted & lovingly socialized member of your flock. In my humble opinion, you can do all kinds of great & noteworthy things in life, but helping to give a defenseless animal a chance at a better life tops just about everything else.

Oh and about those frayed feathers, don't worry too much about 'em. She'll go through a moult & one day you'll look at her & realize that her feathers have all been repaired & they'll have all grown in where they're supposed to be.

We adopted a half dozen hens from a farm animal sanctuary a couple of years ago. My #1 draft pick was the most worn looking, patchy feathered, bald in places, beautiful girl with a personality like gold. You can fix the feathers with nutrition & time. You can coax out a shy personally & encourage a lovely disposition, even. (Some naughty traits need extra work to smooth into more constructive behaviors, but even then, I can't say that I've ever had a bad chicken.)

She was my girl until the very moment she passed away. Wouldn't have traded my baby for the most decorated show chicken on the planet & I still miss her. So don't you worry about Wally's feathers. They'll be fine. And she'll be fine too, if the stories are any indication!

Enjoy every minute! By the way, in case I haven't said so, she's beautiful with a very intelligent face!
 

HomesteaderWife

Crowing
Apr 24, 2015
1,357
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Alabama
@BarredRockMom - Firstly, thank you for complimenting sweet Wally. She really does have an intelligent expression, and she's constantly studying the world around her. She turns her head towards me and tilts it to the side so her ears face me, and steps closer to hear me when I talk. (I included a photo of her examining lettuce, being a picky lady and wondering what in the heck I gave her. She did eat it eventually!)

I understand it can take a long time to get them to settle in and be comfortable, and she still may carry some trauma. In a sad yet beneficial way, years at animal shelters helped me understand animals can harbor depression and anxiety and that the approach needs to be slow and understanding. Too many times I saw a poor animal that came from a hoarding situation, or their owner passed away and they were surrendered, and the emotional toll it takes on them is heartbreaking. It can take such a long time to get them to open up. So Wally has amazed me and come farther than I expected so soon - she is forgiving, and we're just taking it one step at a time.

I hope to eventually work with her on clicker training (provided I can find my clicker, LOL) and put her mind to work. I've got an idea to teach her to peck where she sees a laser, and maybe use it to spell her name out by pecking some letter cards? The other birds can ring a bell so maybe we can work on that, but right now I think the bell would scare her more. One step at a time!

wallylettuce.jpg
 

BY Bob

Proprietor, Fluffy Butt Acres
Premium Feather Member
Jan 1, 2016
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On September 4th, 2020 our normal grocery shopping trip turned into a small rescue mission. In the parking lot of the shopping center, we pulled in and saw a chicken huddled in the shade under a parked truck on a hot day. No farms around, I told my husband if it was still there when we left that we would try to get it. We came out later and asked a few people who had been out there who said as far as they knew it had been running around in the parking lot all morning with no owner in sight. I realized upon cautious approach that it was a hen, and I knew we had to catch her because she was panting heavily and trying to escape the heat under vehicles. She kept running any time someone approached her and headed towards traffic, desperately trying to follow moving vehicles for shade. We could not leave her in this huge parking lot with no food or water, running around in the heat with a chance of being hit by a car. She was missing alot of feathers on her back and around her neck and wings, some molting but other under neck and such appearing to be old wounds later. The condition of her feathers was poor as well. My husband managed to finally catch her and we brought her home, with the help of another kind lady (thank you to this stranger) who was also helping us herd her around with a towel. Needless to say, "Wally" has found herself a new home.

I've never tried making a chicken journal, but she was a special girl and I figured it would be interesting to keep up with her. It would be nice to look back on, and maybe others would find it fun to follow her story along the way. Her updates will be made in separate posts, so just browse through and you can see how things are going!

Photos: Wally begins her quarantine while adjusting to human care slowly.
View attachment 2337482 View attachment 2337480 View attachment 2337481
She's stunning! Good for you for helping her out.
 

BY Bob

Proprietor, Fluffy Butt Acres
Premium Feather Member
Jan 1, 2016
13,452
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Hershey, PA
@BarredRockMom and @CaliFarmsAR - Thank you so much! I'm hoping she will adjust well and maybe be my next clicker training buddy? She definitely loves the attention and appreciates her regular feed :) She's a big, pretty gal and can't wait to keep on this journey with her.
I'm so happy for her. Good job!
 

BY Bob

Proprietor, Fluffy Butt Acres
Premium Feather Member
Jan 1, 2016
13,452
110,403
1,417
Hershey, PA
I'm not sure. We know the area and there were no farms around at all, so I don't know if she somehow escaped and made a long journey or if our original thought of someone having dumped her was right. I believe someone dumped her because she didn't try to even leave the parking lot, she seemed confused and stayed close to the same little area.
Humans can be so awful to animals some times. It makes me wonder about us. :(
 

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