Hi! Thank you so much everyone for your concern about Penelope. We have been getting many questions about how she is doing and where she is living so I will answer the most popular questions here in this blog. For info about her rescue and Kaporos (the ritual that she was saved from) please see previous blog posts.
Where is Penelope living now?
Penelope has been living with us now for almost 2 months.
Why did you decide to keep her with you? I thought you were bringing her to a sanctuary.
When she began walking again we debated about what we wanted to do as far as bringing her to a sanctuary or keeping her with us in our NYC apartment. We love her and want to do the best thing for her. Some factors that we had to keep in mind were that she has a blind eye and lost a lot of feathers around her wings from when she wasn’t able to walk. She had scabs on the end of her wings too so we had to at least wait for those to heal. Chickens tend to be cruel to sick or injured chickens because they pose a threat to the whole flock if a predator comes around. Also, if Penelope did have Marek’s disease she could be a carrier of the disease and could pose a threat to other chickens. So with those factors in mind we decided to keep her with us. Plus, we grew kind of attached to her.
How do the cats get along with her? Are you worried that she might get attacked?
That was a huge concern of ours. The whole time that we were nursing her back to health she was separated from the cats in different parts of the apartment and they never saw each other. We researched how to introduce cats to other animals in the best way. We did it very slowly and monitored their every encounter while making sure that both the cats and the chicken got the same amount of attention and affection. Amazingly, it worked. There has never been any sign of Penelope being threatened or in any danger. She is just about as big as they are so she is not viewed as a food source. When she flaps her wings the cats get scared and run away. But they hang out in the same room now and are actually friends. We still separate them when we are not home though just to be safe.
She stays with you in the apartment and not outside?
Right now it is a little too cold for her to be outside all alone, as a single chicken. We do bring her in the backyard though if it is a warmer day for a few hours and of course, she loves it. In the spring we will build her a little coop outside and will consider getting another chicken friend for her. 2 chickens in the apartment right now would be a bit much. We have a spare bedroom that has become her room. We bought a baby gate to close off the room at night and we put puppy pads down to catch her droppings. We also have a chicken diaper for her during the day.
What does she eat?
I make her homemade food. I don’t want to give her any feed containing GMOs. It’s a mix consisting of oats, hemp seeds, barley, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, lentils, millet, amaranth, nutritional yeast, kelp and flax. Throughout the day she gets a small amount of treats. Her favorite foods are mashed potatoes, cranberries and yams. She also likes bananas, mushrooms, apples and yogurt.
Does she get bored in the house?
I was worried about that so I thought of things that I could do to occupy her. When she is outside she pecks at the dirt and the greens the entire time. So I made her a planter box that I filled with soil for days that she can’t go outside. I hide dried meal worms, sprouts and greens in there to keep her entertained. She seems to like it!
Is she social? What is her personality like?
She loves to follow us around the house. Chickens are flock animals and we have become her flock. She doesn’t like to be alone and we do the best we can to be with her at all times when we are home. She is incredibly sweet and loving. It amazes me the ability that animals have to forgive after enduring so much abuse. She trusts humans again and its a beautiful thing.
Does she like being held or pet?
When she was sick all that she wanted was to be held. Now, I think being held reminds her of being sick so she would rather not be picked up. But she does love to snuggle. She will sit in our laps as well. She loves getting pet on her back and under her chin. She actually will fall asleep if you stroke under her chin.
Enjoy this video of Penelope enjoying her first christmas!