October 14, 2014

Raven the Chicken

Posted in Haven Blog tagged , , , , at 11:47 am by havenoftheheart

Raven popped into our lives one sunny afternoon along the waterfront of West Toronto. My husband Merlin and I were walking along the water as we often do, and as we turned from a small trail onto the main path -lo and behold!- there was a chicken… A bizarre sight for our incurably urban area. The bird was causing a commotion among the passers-by, so we walked up to see what was going on.

At first we thought it was someone’s pet,  and clearly so did everyone else. It kept approaching the people on the path. As it came up to me, I talked softly to it and guessed it was looking for food. I had, unfortunately, nothing to offer but water from the plastic bottle I was carrying. I tried pouring a little onto the cap, and it drank immediately. I kept giving it water, it kept drinking. This gave me a clue that this bird didn’t really know how to fend for itself – we were right by the water and yet it wasn’t getting enough to drink. Upon looking closely, my husband and I decided this was probably a hen. She was all black with beautiful iridescent feathers. She seemed overall healthy and clean. How could she have landed here? We were surrounded by condo buildings. People stopped by to ask if she was ours. Some fed her bits of whatever snacks they were carrying. We were all perplexed.

I said to my husband, “we can’t leave her here…” Doubtful though we were – we live in a small apartment, and we know full well it is illegal to keep chickens in this city- after debating for a bit, we decided to take her home with us. At this point the hen had disappeared into a thicket. We crawled into the bushes  and I approached softly until I could touch her. She allowed me to pick her up easily, so I tucked her under my arm and we walked home. People stared at us in surprise as we passed them by. Most said nothing, but a few called out to ask what I was carrying. One of our brief conversations was with a man who wanted to know if the bird in my arms was a vulture. “No, it’s a chicken”

“Wow, that’s crazy!”

” Yes, we thought so too…”

“Are you sure it’s not a vulture?”

Someone else asked in passing if that bird was a raven. We decided to call her Raven from then on.

At home, we made room in our entrance closet and created a makeshift chicken coop. We gave her a perch to roost on and made a nest out of a towel. We provided food and water, and closed the door so that she could sleep in the dark. The next couple of days I looked online to see if I could find a place that could be Raven’s home. Ursula was the first person to reply and was happy to take her and offer a safe home. I was happy to know she would have a place to live out her days. My husband and I don’t drive, so we enlisted a good friend to drive us up to Ursula’s Haven. Raven stayed with us for almost two weeks. In that time, Raven slowly revealed her feisty and social personality. She enjoyed our company, but at first challenged us with pecking to assert herself. We learned to be firm with her so we could be around her without getting pecked. She became incredibly curious as well. We built a makeshift enclosure on our balcony so she could have fresh air and sunshine during the day. She would often break out in creative ways so she could get to peck our plants. Every evening, we picked Raven up and put her in her closet nest to sleep. She learned to anticipate the morning ritual of being brought outside and the times when we brought her inside. A clever bird she was!

We are delighted that Raven has found a lovely home with Ursula, and new chicken companions. So many people would not know what to do if a chicken stepped into their urban life (neither did we) and it is a blessing that Ursula and her farm staff are able to provide a sanctuary just for this kind of situation.



  1. Brenda Giroux said,

    I am having a difficult time finding a contact number for the Haven. Can someone from the rescue contact me at 647-524-5031?

    Thanks Brenda

    • havenoftheheart said,

      We were resetting our phones. The voicemail box is working again.

  2. monica reynolds said,

    what a beautiful story and a very happy ending for this very lucky hen, unfortunately for billions of them they will not be so fortunate, thankyou for helping her and she will have a wonderful life with Ursula, bless you…many people would have looked the other way!

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