Incredible Chicken Airlift! 1,150 Rescued Hens Flew From California to New York in Private Jet

Here are some of the hens dust-bathing for the first time. This is a highly instinctual behavior that the hens could not perform inside their 12"x16" cages.
Here are some of the hens dust-bathing for the first time. This is a highly instinctual behavior that the hens could not perform inside their 12″x16″ cages.

Over one thousand rescued hens flew cross country last night from California to New York to start their new lives of freedom at East Coast animal sanctuaries. These hens are the Wright Brothers of the chicken world, their flight being the first in history in which a private plane was chartered specifically for adult chickens. The hens were carefully boarded at Animal Place Sanctuary on the evening of September 4th and arrived early this morning in Western New York. They are having a rest, getting their checkups at Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen and will travel via trailer to Catskill Animal Sanctuary on Saturday morning.

“This is the first time adult birds have ever been flown across the country,” says Kim Sturla, Executive Director of Animal Place Sanctuary. “A generous donor offered to fly the hens across the country and we jumped at the opportunity.”

The 2-year-old white birds are from a commercial egg farm where they lived their entire short lives inside a stifling warehouse, stuffed into “battery cages,” wire enclosures so crowded with birds and so small that the hens could barely move, let alone stretch their wings. When they were only a few days old, the chicks had a portion of their beaks cruelly cut off without anesthesia to prevent them from pecking each other, a common occurrence in such inhumanely crowded situations. The birds were scheduled to be killed when their egg-laying production slowed down, a typical sad ending to the life of a commercially bred chicken.

Nine sanctuaries and shelters around the East Coast will be taking in the 1,150 hens with the remaining 1,850 available for adoption through Animal Place in California.

Catskill Animal Sanctuary is taking in 200 of the birds who will be housed in a newly refurbished aviary with access to a large grassy outdoor area where they can sun themselves and scratch for insects, freedoms they have never before been granted.

“We are thrilled to welcome these girls and look forward to having the public meet them and understand how remarkable and truly individual these creatures are,” says Kathy Stevens, Founder and Director of Catskill Animal Sanctuary. “We are so happy with the rescue and all the attention it has garnered which we see as an indication of our country’s burgeoning compassion for farmed animals.”

We invite you to watch this video from Animal Place where the rescued hens, for the very first time, can feel soft bedding beneath their feet, spread their wings fully, breathe fresh air, and explore a spacious habitat.

The CAS staff is committed to helping each hen heal from the trauma she has endured.  In addition, we are working hard to find loving, adoptive homes for as many of them as possible.

Please Consider the plight of these birds, and billions like them around the world today, and go egg free! Catskill Animal Sanctuary relies on charitable donations to sustain our critical work on behalf of the farmed animals that live here in peace and the billions of innocent animals that will never know compassion from humans. Every hen requires special care and support to restore her health and well-being. Won’t you please take part in this important rescue and help ensure that no bird is left behind?

Click here to Fortify the Flock with a one-time donation

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Check out the national news coverage of the birds:


Rescued Hens Fly Cross-Country, No Flapping Required, to Find New Lives – New York Times

Chickens on a plane! 1,000 to take red-eye to ‘freedom’ – TODAY

Fowl-weather friends: Donor charters private jet to save hens from ‘slaughterhouse’ – NY Daily News

1,150 chickens will fly the coop to New York thanks to anonymous benefactor – The Guardian