This is the story of a rooster named Bogie. Bogie began life in a middle school hatching project. A teacher had ordered six fertilized eggs from a company to show students how chickens hatch and grow. But the teacher hadn’t thought about what to do with the chicks when the school year ended. One possibility was to return them to the company, but the company was likely to slaughter them. Fortunately, a parent got in touch with an animal lover who contacted our farm animal sanctuary, and we adopted the chicks.
Although these chicks were lucky, many chicks raised in school hatching projects are destined to have an unhappy ending. The schools are often unable to find anyone willing to assume responsibility for caring for the chicks throughout their lifetime. It is vital that schools plan ahead. Before placing orders for eggs, they should make sure that they can provide the chicks with permanent and loving homes.
Our staff decided to name this group of chicks after classic movie stars, such as Marilyn for Marilyn Monroe. This young rooster was named Bogie after Humphrey Bogart.
When the staff named him Bogie, they didn’t think of him as a tough guy like the characters played by his namesake. But as the little rooster’s personality developed, he lived up to his name. He took a bold stand in disputes with other roosters and liked to fly on top of a fence and crow, as if announcing his importance. Sometimes he flew over the fence in order to explore the surroundings, and we had to guide him back into his fenced area.
Then one day, before we could guide him back, he was suddenly gone. All we saw were piles of his white feathers on the ground and scratches in the dirt, signs of a struggle. Bogie had been snatched by a predator, probably a hawk.
With heavy hearts, we put the other animals to bed and went to our own houses for the night. Later that evening, as rain came down, Bill (the second author) performed the routine bed check to make sure that all the animals were securely inside their enclosures. As he looked around, he half expected to see Bogie, but Bogie was gone.
Then something incredible happened. When we went to the barn the next morning to feed our animals breakfast and let them out for the day, there was Bogie standing outside the barn waiting for us! He was missing several feathers, but he was alive and well. He had somehow escaped the clutches of the predator and hid all night before returning home. We were overjoyed.
Bogie’s experience showed us that we had to take further precautions against predators, so we added netting and wire to several open areas. Bogie also demonstrated that he is tougher than we had ever imagined. He can serve as example that all of us may be capable of far more than we realize.
Donna Scott contributed to this article and is a staff member at Safe Haven Farm Sanctuary, Bogie’s home. Bill Crain is the sanctuary’s co founder.