<$BlogRSDUrl$> The Cyberactivist

Behind the scenes of the fight for the protection of animals and workers and the preservation of the environment - my experiences as a Tyson slaughterhouse hanger/killer turned activist. Exposing the evils of factory farming, by Virgil Butler. If you have arrived here looking for the Tyson stories, view the early archives. Some of them are now featured on the sidebar for easy searching.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

The roosters are in their new yard - FINALLY!!!!!!! 

I already announced this in the groups, but since the photo page was down that day, all day long, I waited until I could get them loaded before writing this up here. Now it's up so I can finally write this post here.

But before I get on with it, I would like to call your attention to something I also just added to the photo page that happened 10-23-04. The reason it took so long to mention, much less actually put a picture up for, was that the event was a Sierra Club float trip of the Little Maumelle River, in which a group of us all worked together with the Forestry Service and cleaned up a stretch of river of all of the litter. Well, after the event we had to wait to receive the newsletter and then get a way to scan it to upload it. So, that has now been done.

We will be doing another one of these soon on our stretch of the Ouachita river, actually hosting the event ourselves, though with a much smaller bunch of people and no inexperienced beginners, and it will be a much longer float than the one we did that day. This one won't be organized with the Forestry people, either, but just our small group with all of our own equipment. It won't take me near as long to post about it, as we intend to be able to take some of our own pics of the event and upload them, as opposed to waiting on the newsletter to come out, simply editing that entry to include the newsletter write-up (if there is one). Anyway, for those interested, you can check out the posting there, which also gives you a bonus funny (though somewhat embarrassing for me - yeah, I knew that would make you click on it and read it! LOL!) little story about another float trip we took.

Anyway, back to the roosters.

I just can't express to you strongly enough how glad we were to finally get their house and yard done. Well, they still need some finishing features, but they are now living in it and happy as they can be. I can hear them crowing as I type this, in fact. I saw them grab a tick for the first time yesterday, and oh! the fun they are having tearing apart the half-rotten logs we put in there for them to sit/stand or whatever they wished to do on. They have been going at those bugs inside of them and having a regular feast like they have never had before.

We also took great pains to leave all of the natural greenery, even a young ironwood sapling that is growing smack in the middle of their yard. I don't know how long it will last before they either eat all of the groundcover greenery or scratch it up, but we always give all of the chickens not only fresh produce, but also fresh naturally-growing green stuff all the time. Like when we mow, we rake up areas of the fresh grass and give it to them. When we weed the flower beds, they get that, too. If nothing else, Laura will walk around all over the yard this time of year and pick everyone the fresh grass seed heads to give to them. Oh, they love those! Though chickweed seems to be their favorite. When the chickweed is seeding, they go after those seeds first. We have often wondered if that was how it got its name. Anyone know? If so, write me and let me know. It would be interesting to find that out. Most of the time we try not to get a lot of the chickweed for them, as we use it medicinally for ourselves, but they do get some. Either accidentally or on purpose just to give them an extra treat. (It's another one of those plants most people think of as "weeds" to exterminate, like dandelions, that they never realize are useful and have herbal/medicinal uses, as well as just being a nutritional food source. And a free one at that!) Anyone interested in the medicinal properties and how to use either of these so-called "weeds," just write, and Laura will be glad to share her herbal knowledge with you. Plantain we have just learned, is another excellent nutritional source for chickens, and they love it. It grows naturally here, and we also use it medicinally. People really need to get a better understanding of nature. The vast majority of those plants they regard as "weeds" are actually quite beneficial to them and would save on the amount they spend on medicine and have no side effects!

But don't get me started on that. This post is about the roosters.

Once you look at the photos of them, you will see how big they have gotten and the reason Laura's mother has dubbed them "the monsters." Well that, and the fact that they always attacked us when we went to feed and water them. We laughed at it, but she didn't think it was so funny. She is actually quite scared of them! She absolutely refuses to open the door to feed and water them when we are gone, and we are going to rig up a way that she won't have to do that when we finish adding the rest of the amenities to the yard.

Now, keep in mind that when you see the pics of this yard, that everything but the wire, nails, and goo for the tin roof, was scavenged materials and reused lumber. Being as financially-strapped as we are and the fact that we make every donation count, stretching them as far as we possibly can, we don't waste other peoples' hard-earned money on things when we don't have to. Also, this is intended to be a temporary home for the roosters, just as the place we put Annie and Beau is also temporary. In fact, we consider every yard on this place temporary now.

It has become quite obvious to us that we will keep receiving chickens that are in need of rescue, so that means that we must expand our facilities to include them to keep us from having the problems that we had when Annie and the roosters arrived so unexpectedly. We would also like to get away from these small yards everywhere and fix them a place where they can enjoy a much more natural life and environment.

So, our idea (and this will come after the AR2005 conference in July that I am speaking at and when we are then able to raise the necessary funding to accomplish a task of such magnitude) is to build the houses on a slop up form the garden so that Mother Nature keeps the yards clean and the garden fertilized. There will be small yards attached to these that will have a gate on them that we can open each day to allow them out into a much bigger area that is protected by a 12-foot high fence. that will allow them all plenty of room to do whatever they want to do and yet keep them out of the road and keep other predators away from them, though it is hard for any predator to sneak up around here with all of these dogs running around. There are eight in all on this place, with four rescued cats, between the three households.

So, it does indeed look as if we will become a full-fledged sanctuary whether we like it or not (though you don't hear me crying about it). My main worry is keeping enough finding coming in to take care of everyone properly. I have read about the problems that Eastern Shore Sanctuary has had. They started out with a couple of hens and now have around 200 birds on the place, spending their own money to take care of them all. Read all about their adopt-a-bird plan they have on their site. Most of you probably blow more money in a week (a good percentage probably do it every single day, in fact) than it takes to care for a chicken for a month.

We also spend far more than we ever take in to care for even just the chickens, much less all of the rest of our animals on this place. If it weren't for Laura's mother chipping in regularly to help buy feed for those chickens, we certainly would not be able to do it. But, even with her helping, there is no way we could take care of 200 without a lot of help. But, neither could we just leave them on the side of the road and keep driving on by, like we didn't see them. No way. We would see them. And we would have to stop and rescue them. It's that simple. Just like we did with Annie. We had nowhere to put her at the time, but we did it anyway because if we didn't she would have died. It was that simple. Same with the roosters. And now all of them are doing wonderfully.

So, people, when you open your wallets and decide to give a bit to help animals, think of the small sanctuaries that barely hang on. Everything you donate to them directly helps an animal. It certainly does here. So far every penny I have gotten since I announced that we no longer need personal financial help and that everything would go directly to the animals HAS. And, so far, the very few people that have contributed since that post and the one asking for help to get to the AR2005 conference, have had their money go to help these chickens instead. It wasn't much anyway (not taking anything away from those generous and kind souls - I mean, we very much appreciate every single dollar we get to help us care for these animals, and we realize that few of you have much to send. But, it wouldn't have gotten us anywhere close to the amount we needed to get to that conference, so we decided to spend it on the chickens instead, just having faith that something would work out that would get us there, even if we had to hitchhike and camp out somewhere). We are still working on funding for the conference, and we will be going, as we do have a backup plan if need be. We have someone willing to foot the bill for the airfare, but they can't afford it anymore than we can, and it would leave them with a huge credit card bill that they couldn't pay. We are desperately trying to avoid that.

So, once I again, as much as I hate to do it, please help with whatever you can. Every little bit helps - it really does. Now that we have the chickens all squared away, every dollar taken in will go to funding the airfare for the trip to the conference. It is over $700 for us to go. We have already worked out arrangements for the room and the registration, and we are pretty sure for the meals, but we need to get there! Won't you help? At least a little bit? I get no personal gain from this - I won't be paid for speaking. The benefit is that the rest of the attendees will hear what I have to say, and I will be able to hear what they have to say and do a bit of networking so that we can all work harder to help animals. That's it. I am sure that with the number of readers of this blog and the number of members of the groups I host that we can show how dedicated we are and prove that you don't have to be a huge organization to make a big difference. We can prove that one small person, or even a group of regular people, can and do make a difference.

When that happens, it inspires others to get up off their butts and try. It inspired them to say "if that one little guy can do this then I can do this!" And then that idea spreads. And things get done. Differences are made. Apathy is crushed, and hope and each person's belief in their ability to make a difference grows. The world needs more of that attitude desperately.

And with that, I will end this post with a couple of appropriate quotes:

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single minute before starting to improve the world.
--Anne Frank

I am only one,
But still I am one.
I cannot do everything,
But still I can do something;
And because I cannot do everything
I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.
--Edward Everett Hale
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