Summer 2013 Poultry Press NEXT
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Stuart the Rooster – The Story of His GREAT ESCAPE!
By Diana Estrada

The day I rescued Stuart, I was on my way to work. It was Tuesday, December 18, 2012, around 4 o'clock, in Jersey City, New Jersey. As I came to a full stop by a stop sign, I saw a chicken darting across the street and a man dressed in a white uniform gown running behind him.

Not far from where the chicken was running, there's a live market full of chickens. That is where he escaped from. Since I have a strong passion for animals, my first instinct was to try to rescue this chicken. As I pulled over to park my car, the chicken immediately hid under it. This showed how much he wanted to hide from the butcher. It broke my heart to see this poor creature desperately trying to get away.

It was quite a scene because many people were standing around watching. Teenagers were laughing and shouting. It angered me that people found this entertaining. I asked everyone to leave the area because they were scaring him even more. As the butcher was trying to capture the chicken, a young man nearby was trying to help the butcher. I decided to ask the butcher how much can I give for the chicken, but he didn't seem to understand my question.

The chicken remained under my car. I turned on the engine so he would get out from under. As soon as I did this he immediately crossed the street to hide under another parked car. I thought to myself, "It will be impossible to catch him." I was already running very late for work, but I did not want to give up trying, so I got on my knees to see where he was. The chicken was hiding behind the tire with his beak open, hyperventilating. He looked so frightened. The butcher was grabbing anything from the ground – old bottles, dirty newspapers – and throwing it at him.

suart found running away
Here is where Diana found Stuart running away from the poultry market.

I yelled at the butcher, "What the hell are you doing? You're making it worse!"

Having things thrown at him, the chicken shifted his position. He hid behind the tire thinking he was safe there. Little did he know that the young man was right by the tire. I asked the young man if he could get him out from there. Seeing how concerned I was for this chicken, the young man asked me, "Can I grab him by the leg?" I said, "Do what you can to get him."

Finally, the young man managed to grab the chicken by the leg. At this, the terrified bird started clucking desperately. I quickly grabbed him from the young man. I said to the butcher, "I'm taking him with me."

I got in my car and drove away. As I drove back home, I thought to myself, "What am I going to do with this chicken?" The first thing I did was to give him a name: Stuart.

Now Stuart is here with me in my apartment, and I'm hoping the landlord doesn't find out. I'm doing my best to care for him. Meanwhile, I am looking for a home where he will have freedom, happiness, and love, and where he will live safe without fear. It is not an everyday thing that you come across a chicken. The way I see it, Stuart looks happy and he now trusts me very much. I am thankful for saving him, and if I have to do it again for a chicken, I will! I am very grateful that I was able to help Stuart make his Great Escape! – Diana Estrada

Stuart Finds Happiness at Safe Haven Farm Sanctuary in Poughquag, New York

Postscript by Karen Davis, President of United Poultry Concerns

After keeping Stuart in her small apartment while trying to find him a permanent home, Diana located Safe Haven Farm Sanctuary, whose directors Ellen and Bill Crain offered to adopt him. Ellen Crain helped Diana find a veterinarian to take Stuart to in order to determine whether he was indeed a rooster, but the veterinarian was totally unhelpful. So Ellen sent me photos of Stuart and I was quickly able to say by looking at his face and body, "He is a young rooster." Ellen has sent me several photos of Stuart at Safe Haven. The most recent one, which she sent on Sunday, March 10, 2013, shows Stuart taking his very first dust bath. Thank goodness Stuart made his Great Escape and found his way to Heaven on Earth with "a little help from his friends."

stuart at safe haven
Stuart outside for the first time at Safe Haven Sanctuary.
Summer 2013 Poultry Press NEXT