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Desperate Hens Found Behind a NJ Dunkin’ Donuts

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Lesley and Clementine are two resilient hens who were desperately searching for food behind a dumpster at a Dunkin’ Donuts in Jersey City, NJ, in freezing weather. Luckily they were spotted by a caring little girl who insisted that her grandfather catch them and take them to the local animal shelter. There they rested, recovered and ate to their hearts’ content. Woodstock Sanctuary friends and volunteers Melissa Cacioppo and Emily Cacioppo-Monus also volunteer at this shelter. They knew these hens would find safe haven with us and brought them upstate.

Judging by their feather condition, partial debeaking (on Lesley) and breed, they are “spent” layer hens who lived in cages for egg production. After prolonged confinement the birds feathers will break off and fall out from constant frantic flapping against the bars on their cages.

Commercial laying hens are typically sent to slaughter at 2 years of age or less, typically ending up in processed foods like McNuggets and as the “by-products” in pet food. Some are sold to live poultry markets and butcher shops where customers seek fresh meat. A small number manage to escape when cages and doors are left open.

We’ll never know their pasts for sure but the scenario described is one that we have seen many times. We’re  just glad to be able to give them a loving home where they can recover and thrive in their new life of freedom and joy outside of a cage.