May 10, 2019

Springtime for Roosters

Greetings, and thank you again for supporting The Rooster Project.

Springtime seems to bring higher spirits for everybody, and that includes roosters. At our sanctuary in Vermont as well as our satellite refuge for roosters in Maryland, roosters have been stretching their bright feathers in the sun and eagerly exploring the increasingly green pastures and foraging yards. We feel hopeful too, but also soberly aware of how much more work we will need to do to make the world safer for them.

As usual, spring has brought an uptick in calls, from both individuals and other sanctuaries, for help with problematic rooster behavior. When I heard myself answering the same question for the third time in a week, I realized that we needed a quick and easy way to share answers to FAQs widely. And so, while continuing to move toward publication of our long-form handbook on rooster care as well as the online "rooster wiki" for shelters and sanctuaries, we set up an online discussion group that is open not only to shelters and sanctuaries but also to individuals who care for roosters in their homes.

If any of those categories includes you, you can join that group here.

Looking ahead, everything seems to take longer than we estimate (which I guess is not surprising given everything we are trying to do simultaneously) but we do have a hard deadline of the National Animal Rights Conference in late June for the publication of both the manual and the rooster myths and facts brochure, so that we can use the ocassion of that event to directly give those materials to the many other sanctuaries that will be present.

In the meantime, thank you again for supporting The Rooster Project. As a reward to yourself for that generosity, please follow the lead of our fine-feathered friends and take yourself outside into the spring sunshine sometime soon!

Feb 7, 2019

Report from an ice-covered sanctuary

Greetings and THANK YOU again for contributing to our Giving Tuesday campaign to raise funds for winter gear for VINE Sanctuary.

While we did not raise as much as we'd hoped, generous donors like you did make it possible for us to outfit our hard-working animal care team with the personal gear they needed to get through a hard winter.

Thanks to you, we were able to buy:

  • Two big boxes of gloves to store in the barn for anytime someone needed a fresh pair
  • One warm and weather-resistant coat for each team member
  • One pair of insulated winter muck boots for each team member
  • One set of removable ice cleats for each team member

Because we were buying many pairs, we were able to get bulk discounts on the boots and the gloves. The savings allowed us to also purchase four new snow shovels.

Every winter is hard here in Vermont, and this winter has been no exception to that rule. I can't count the number of snow storms we've endured. And, because the temperatures have been swinging wildly between thaws and deep freezes, the accumulation of ice at the downhill part of the sanctuary we call "the valley" is especially thick and slippery this year.

But I have to say that our staff morale has been higher than usual this winter, and I do truly believe that it was the boots, gloves, and coats that made the difference, for two reasons:

  1. Just feeling warmer makes it easier to cope with hard outdoor work in the winter.
  2. Staff members knew that our supporters got together to buy the gear, and that made them feel cared about and valued.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that it can feel lonely to lug heavy jugs of water from coop to coop in the middle of a snowstorm, but this winter our animal care team members felt that you were with them -- literally, in the form of boots -- every step of the way. We've still got some more months of cold weather to go, but I wanted to thank you for that again right now.



Feb 7, 2019

Rooster Project Update

Greetings and thank you again for supporting The Rooster Project!

I'm happy to report that our new satellite refuge for roosters has begun welcoming birds. The four roosters now in residence are doing well and getting along with each other.

As I mentioned in the previous report, this new rooster refuge is located on an island frequently visisted by tourists from spring through fall. As soon as the weather permits, we'll be installing signage so that passersby will be educated about chickens even when Aram is not around to chat with them. We're also preparing literature that people can take home to read, including a "Myths and Facts about Roosters" brochure that we will be sharing with other sanctuaries.

I'm still at work on the draft of the rooster care manual for shelters and sanctuaries. The current timeline for that part of the project is to send the draft to other experts for comment by the end of this month, edit in response to feedback, and publish in mid-March. After that, we'll begin scheduling on-site consultations with sanctuaries who request them.

As I mentioned in the previous update, our consultations with other sanctuaries about the online "rooster wiki" for sanctuaries turned up some great ideas that will make that part of the project more useful for years to come but also make the set-up much more complicated. We''ll keep you posted as we sort that out.

Meantime, THANK YOU AGAIN for supporting The Rooster Project, and don't forget to tell everyone you know that the stereotypes about roosters aren't true.



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