Like dogs and cats, adopting birds saves lives. We made the decision to make some of our rescues available for adoption to great homes so we could continually take in birds who need lifesaving medical care and safe placement.
Which animals are available for adoption, and why aren’t all available?
The individual animals available for adoption are listed, with their pictures and profiles, in the “adoptable animals” gallery on our website and made mention of in the photo albums of residents on our Facebook page. Some have become bonded in their time here and are only available for adoption in pairs. In addition to providing rescue and veterinary care for birds, our sanctuary is dedicated to providing a lifelong home for animals with special needs, such as those with physical handicaps or medical care needs. As they age, our rescued battery hens, for example, will likely require surgery to address reproductive issues, such as egg yolk peritonitis and impacted oviducts, that would otherwise kill them. (Our vet has already performed a number of these surgeries to help save our girls.) Once they are spayed, however, we are open to placing them into loving, lifelong homes.
If I adopt a spayed ex-battery hen from you, will she still lay eggs?
No. Spaying is done to prevent future egg-laying complications and will allow these girls to live longer, healthier lives.
Do you have any chickens who lay eggs available for adoption?
It depends. While our focus is on providing a new life of freedom for ex-battery hens, we occasionally take in chickens from other circumstances. Some of these girls do lay eggs. However, we are hesitant to adopt any of our girls out to homes that will value them for their egg production, as their egg-laying days are only a fraction of their lifespan, and we aspire to place them in forever homes where they will be treated as family members, not egg producers. The same goes for our waterfowl and pigeon friends.
Are the rescued animals friendly toward humans?
While none of our rescues have displayed aggression toward people, many are much more bonded to other birds than humans, largely due to the harsh treatment and conditions of their previous lives. Rescues’ current level of comfort with humans varies significantly from bird to bird, with some happy to approach and be held by humans and others who need their space. While the overall level of fearfulness and skittishness for pretty much everyone has reduced significantly in their time here, many are still uncomfortable with forced human interaction and need a patient home that offers them space and other bird friends of the same species.
How long can potential adopters expect these rescues to live?
The current ages of the animals in our care range significantly. However, in terms of lifespans:
– Chickens can be expected to live 7-10 years. Rescued battery hens have greatly reduced lifespans due to the conditions at the egg facilities and their genetic predisposition toward reproductive complications. Spaying should help give them a significantly better chance to live longer lives, but we can’t say for sure how many more months/years the procedure will buy them. The life expectancy of chickens genetically modified for commercial meat production (called “broilers”) is even more drastically shortened due to the health complications of their predetermined, excessive weight gain. We will take in these types of chickens with the goal of making their short lives as worthwhile as possible, but we do not adopt them out, as they often encounter too many health issues to even make it to their first birthday.
– Ducks live for 8-10 years, with males typically living longer than females.
– Pigeons can live up to 15 years.
– Turkeys have a lifespan of around 10 years. However, those genetically modified for commercial meat production, like “broiler” chickens, have greatly reduced lifespans and often encounter weight-related health issues. Therefore, we will only adopt out turkeys who aren’t predisposed to encountering these problems.
– Cockatiels, on average, live 15-20 years.
– Budgie parakeets typically live 5-8 years, but can live longer with special care.
– Zebra finches have highly variable lifespans due to genetic and environmental factors. On average, they live 5-7 years, but can live up to 15.
Will the animals be healthy?
All animals we make available for adoption are those we believe are the least likely to require extensive or regular veterinary care. They have been health checked, monitored over time for any evidence of illness, treated for parasites, and are in the best of health they can be prior to adoption.
If I adopt an animal from Little Red Bird with the best intentions, yet unforeseeable circumstances arise and I am unable to keep him/her, what should I do?
The questions in our adoption application are designed to screen for the best and most permanent homes for our rescues. However, if circumstances arise and you are unable to keep the animal(s) you adopt from us, we require that you return him/her to the sanctuary as opposed to selling, rehoming, or placing him/her in a shelter. We care very much about the futures of each and every one of our rescues and do not want any of their lives put in jeopardy; thus, we always are open and willing to take adopted animals back in.
Can anyone adopt an animal from Little Red Bird?
We will only adopt rescued animals to people who will treat them as family members and who can provide a forever home. Many of our residents had tragic starts and we are dedicated to assuring that they remain safe and only know kindness for the rest of their lives. In that light, we do not adopt to individuals who intend to sell/rehome animals or use them for any type of food production.
Why is your adoption application so long, and who do you consider to be an ideal adopter?
We care deeply about the futures of each and every animal in our care and only want the best for them. Based on numerous comments, we are very aware that the overwhelming attitude toward these types of birds is one that affords them minimal worth as living, sentient beings. They are largely either thought of as a means of food production (chickens, ducks, turkeys, etc.) or as cheap, disposable pets that can be easily replaced (cockatiels, budgies, finches, etc.). We aspire to assure that each rescue is afforded the respect and care he/she deserves as an individual and the ability to live out his/her natural life as a valued member of someone’s family. If you share that view, then we would love for you to give a rescue a lifelong, loving home. We are also looking for potential adopters to house these rescues in a safe, predator proof set-up that allows for abundant freedom, which is why we require a description and photos of the housing arrangements. For chickens and turkeys, such a set-up includes the provision of enough space to display their natural behaviors, such as dust bathing and scratching at the ground; for waterfowl, that means affording them a pond (or equivalent) to splash/swim in; for pigeons, that means giving them enough space for them to fly freely around; and for cockatiels, budgies, etc., that means meeting their cognitive needs through ample housing space and a wide array of toys. Birds who will be housed indoors encounter their own risks, such as fumes and indoor toxins, that can affect their delicate respiratory systems and can lead to premature death, so we want to make sure future adopters are experienced, informed, and equipped to provide the best and safest homes possible for our rescues.
I think I can provide a perfect home for one of your rescues. How do I get started with the adoption process?
If you think one of our animals would be a great fit for your household and family, feel free to either call us or shoot us an email telling us a little about yourself and which animal(s) you’re interested in providing a lifelong home to. We’ll send you an adoption application form for you to fill out and return to us and, from there, we’ll talk a little over the phone and set up an in-person meeting where you can get some face time with us and the animal(s) you’re interested in adding to your family. If all goes well, you can sign an adoption agreement and take your new family member home that day.