How do you say goodbye to a friend...

How do you say goodbye to a friend?

Jupiter was a rooster but also one of our closest friends and a beloved member of our family.  Jupiter came to be our ward four years ago as a foster.  Not yet free, he was still being fought for in the court system - a victim of abuse at the hands of an animal hoarder.   Just tiny baby chicks, he and his brothers, by the grace of god, were taken out of the horrible situation they were in and sent to Woodstock Sanctuary where they would be safe.  We became the foster parents to Uri and Jupiter until the court case was decided in their favor.  We celebrated the day we became their forever family. 

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Even though we were vegan and animal activists, at the time we had no idea how amazing chickens were.  These two roosters would become fast friends with our dogs, competing for our attention and for treats.  Every morning they would come to the back door demanding to be let in to take their rightful place with the family, two humans, two dogs and two roosters.  Unfortunately last winter Yuri passed away.  Jupiter was by his friend’s side as he slipped away and mourned his death with a sorrowful cry as any human would.  It was very clear to everyone by his side the depths of feeling he had for his lifetime companion and brother.  After Yuri’s death Jupiter spent more time inside.  He had made friends with a nice group of roosters who he shared his coop with but we loved having him close to us and he loved being close.  Always on Peter's lap the two of them would nap together, watch hockey together, share lunch and so on. Jupiter loved spending part of his day with his human and dog, friends and family. 

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Because of Yuri and Jupiter we founded Tamerlaine Farm Animal Sanctuary.  It has become the most important thing we will ever do in this lifetime.  Educating the public to let them see for themselves how incredible these animals are, that many only ever see as food.  Jupiter touched the lives of everyone that visited the Sanctuary. He was an ambassador for all farmed animals.   We take comfort knowing that Jupiter enjoyed life right up until the very end and made many people think twice about what they eat.

Casey and Eva - A story of friendship and love.

Casey and Eva Kaporos survivors and best friends.

Casey and Eva Kaporos survivors and best friends.

You cannot think about one of these girls without thinking about the other.  Almost all of their lives were spent at each others side.  Best friends till the end.  Both survivors of a brutal sacrificial ritual called Kaporos, they were also survivors of their breed, Cornish Cross.  Bred to be processed and eaten at only six to eight weeks old the Cornish Cross Chicken is not meant to live past their slaughter age.  But live these two girls did.  Forming  a very special friendship that would last for the entirety of their years together.  Most of the Cornish Cross Chickens that call Tamerlaine Farm their home live happy, healthy lives.  Kept on a strict diet and fed lots of healthy vegetables, with supervision and care, they can have a relatively normal life.  Some however develop problems, just like certain purebred dogs, they are victims of human manipulation and greed.

Because of their disabilities, Casey had splayed legs and had to walk with a special brace and Eva had a fused leg that required a special boot, they lived in our little chicken hospital.  That did not keep them from spending every day outside, disabled but mobile.  Even though each needed their special apparatus to help them walk, they were able to get around.  How they chose to spend their days however, was together, right by each others side.  Eva, one of the sweetest chickens I have ever had the honor to know, always had a positive attitude even though fate had thrown her so many curveballs.  Casey, on the other hand, was more of the worrier and watchful one of the two.  Wary at first of the humans that had caused her so much pain and suffering at the very beginning of her life, Eva managed to have a calming effect on her friend and helped her to trust humans again and let go of most of her anxieties.

Eva passed away a few weeks ago.  She had been sick for sometime. She developed respiratory problems that forced us to separate the two girls and although they were still neighbors they were unable to spend every night cuddled next to each other.  I can't imagine how alone each of the girls must have felt without their friend next to them and how worried poor Casey must have been for Eva.  As Eva became more weak, it became apparent we had to decide how to humanely help Eva pass on, and so, we put the two friends together again for one last night. In the morning Eva was gone.  On her own terms and finally able to say goodbye to her friend she loved so dearly, she passed away.  Casey, who was visibly stressed by her friends passing for days but showed no signs of illness at all, passed a few weeks later.  We can only guess that she died of a broken heart.  Like so many couples who spend their lives together, she followed her friend, to the other side.

Casey and Eva rarely ever more than just a few inches apart from each other.

Casey and Eva rarely ever more than just a few inches apart from each other.

With Heavy Hearts We Say Goodbye to the King of Tamerlaine

Yuri the King of Tamerlaine

In July of 2013 our lives were forever changed when Yuri and Jupiter two roosters rescued by Woodstock Farm Sanctuary found their forever home at Tamerlaine Farm.  We had no idea then the impact these two beings would have on our hearts and that they would change the course of all our future plans, forever. 

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We decided we wanted to share our home with rescued chickens, the most abused animals in the factory farm system.  When reaching out to sanctuaries to adopt hens into our home we were enlightened to the fact that roosters, the most disposable animal on the planet, literally ground up alive as chicks by the billions in factory farms, abandoned by the backyard chicken community by the hundreds of thousands and disposed of in every horrifically unimaginable way, by every type of egg production facility in between, were the most needy of all animals.

The boys together in the snow

Yuri and Jupiter, fraternal brothers, were the first farm animals to come live on our farm.  These boys instantly became beloved family members.  They joined us for breakfast every morning, walked freely around the property, spent their days exploring, hunting for treats, always keeping a keen eye out for predators while watching over and protecting each other, they enjoyed sunbathing in the sun, dust bathing in the dirt, together, the best of friends, enjoying life.  These two boys are a part of our family as much as anyone else, human or animal, that we hold close in our life and in our hearts.

Yuri would go on to be “King” of Tamerlaine Farm.  He was our leader, the head rooster of all the animals that would come to call Tamerlaine Farm their forever home.  Jupiter, his trusted best friend, was always by his side.  These two roosters, Yuri and Jupiter, touched our lives in a way that made us want to help all farm animals in need and were the sole reason we created Tamerlaine Farm Animal Sanctuary.

Thursday, January 28, 2016 our beloved Yuri lost his life to an illness he had been fighting for the last three months.  The many doctors and remedies we tried could not save him.  Sadly Jupiter has lost his best friend and comrade and we have lost our little man with the kind eyes and gentle heart.  Rest in peace little man.  Your spirit will be with us always.  

If you would like to help us in our mission of to save more animals or would like to support any of the residents at Tamerlaine Farm Animal Sanctuary please visit our donate page here.  Help us to bring more animals like Yuri out of terrible situations and give them a home where they will be loved and cherished for the rest of their days.




Jessie

In October 2014, Jessie was one of 56 baby chickens we rescued from the streets of New York City and certain death. Now, eight months later, we are devastated by his passing. In many ways, we considered Jessie the heart of Tamerlaine, as he not only became the center of our days, but also embodied the spirit of sanctuary and veganism: Jessie showed the world his lust for life and the power of valuing individuals, regardless of their species, ability, and special care needs. So, as we experience the heartache of losing Jessie and grieving his death, we want to take this time to look back on what was a full, happy, beautiful life. A life cut short, but a life so worth living.

First, some background:
Jessie was a Cornish Cross rooster, the number one chicken breed killed worldwide, with their annual death toll reaching nine billion in the U.S. alone. The way humans are able to kill these birds at such a scale is by killing them when they're very young, just 42 days old. Generations of selective breeding has made these six-week-old chicks even larger than full-grown adults, such that even when they are kept on a special diet, their bodies will always be much larger than they naturally should be. The Cornish chickens of Tamerlaine and other sanctuaries are incredibly prone to foot infections and mobility issues. Shortly after we adopted Jessie, he developed a limp. Within days, he could no longer stand. We would learn after his death that Jessie's hip joint had fused together, making recovery impossible. What we knew at the time was that Jessie's disability changed nothing about his enjoyment of life and our commitment to providing him with a lifetime of love and care.

And so Jessie still spent time with his flock...

and got special treats while we kept each other company in the kitchen:

We asked local carpenter Tim Hazecamp to make Jessie two new wheelchairs, enabling Jessie to stand and walk on his own:

We shared in his joy as Jessie took some of his first independent steps...

and as he found friendship in fellow disabled chicken Casey:

And each day we took Jessie on strolls around the sanctuary to keep him healthy and active...

oftentimes even joined by dogs and pigs...

and spent hours doing physical therapy to keep him in shape:

Eventually, Jessie began to accompany us wherever we went, from joining us while we treated other birds...

to lunch on the patio with Clara Pig...

to our backyard vegan barbeques.

And his friendships only grew, with Tara—a blind hen—joining Jessie and Casey:

Tara loved to cuddle up to Jessie while he was in his wheelchair and take naps next to him while he did his PT:

Despite the reality of his days, some still said to us that this was no way for a bird to live. They couldn't believe that Jessie could be happy, that his life could still have value. "Shouldn't he just be put down?" they'd say. And in this we'd hear the same sentiments people hold about disabled humans, the same ableist view that only the able-bodied have lives worth living.

When we actually listen to disabled humans, we learn that they—the ones who know best—believe they live good lives, lives that are only worsened by the disregard society shows for them and the ableism they are exposed to. Listening to Jessie meant seeing his life as he saw it: A life of friendship, sunny days, and lots of love:

Jessie—the heart of the sanctuary—died of a heart attack, a common death for these too-big Cornish chickens. The industry he was rescued from ultimately built his death into his body. We could not save him from this, but we could give him the best life possible.

Jessie spent his last morning in the shade of a tree, surrounded by friends.

Sweet Pea and Clare

Sweet Pea and Clare passed away within a week of each other in late April of 2015. We will remember Sweet Pea for her small size and commanding presence. During her stay in the hospital, Sweet Pea liked to boss around birds three times her size and sneak rides on the back of Jessie’s wheelchair. She spent her final weeks back outside with her flock, remaining top hen despite her cancer.

We will remember Sweet Pea for her small size and commanding presence. During her stay in the hospital, Sweet Pea liked to boss around birds three times her size and sneak rides on the back of Jessie’s wheelchair. She spent her final weeks back outside with her flock, remaining top hen despite her cancer.

We will remember Clair’s very deliberate movements and independent spirit. She decided when she wanted to live in the house and when she wanted to spend time outside, with or without the other birds. S›e was very flighty when she first arrived at Tamerlaine, but slowly warmed up to the humans, to the point where she was comfortable being held and going on strolls side by side.

These two girls were survivors of the egg industry and ultimately died of the industry’s lasting effects on their bodies:

They began their lives trapped 24/7 in tiny wire cages—so cramped they were unable to even spread their wings—and infested with lice. They endured hot days and freezing nights, with no comfort other than their hen sisters. At just two years old, their exhausted and manipulated bodies no longer produced eggs well enough to be profitable for their exploiters and so they were destined to be ripped from their cages, shoved into suffocating trash cans, gassed, and sent to a landfill as trash.

Thankfully, there are people in this world who refuse to see living individuals as mere objects for human use and disposal, people who will do whatever it takes to respect, value, and liberate as many lives as they can. A coalition of sanctuaries from across the U.S. did just that in the summer of 2013 and because of these efforts, Sweet Pea, Clair, and thousands of other hens were able to know freedom. These hens—the lucky few among the tens of billions of farmed animals killed each year—were able to stretch, feel the grass and dirt, and sunbathe. They were able to socialize and to have their unique personalities emerge. We are grateful for the opportunity to provide refuge to Sweet Pea and Clair during their too-short time with us. We are thankful we were able to provide a safe and comfortable home for them and to stave off the reproductive cancer all egg industry survivors eventually succumb to. It is for Sweet Pea, Clair, and all their sisters we protest the egg industry and create sanctuary. For the sake of these girls, please be egg-free.