ERIE, Colo. (CBS4) - Saturday was the first time a flock of chickens in Erie were able to enjoy a sunny Colorado day. They are recovering at Luvin' Arms, a farm animal rescue in Erie.
They were formerly at a chicken farm in La Salle which went bankrupt. When the farm was unable to feed the chickens, the owner didn't want them to suffer so they reached out to rescue organizations and wildlife sanctuaries to help save the birds.
"We've already seen incredible progress just in the couple days since they've been here," said Luvin' Arms employee Chrissy Dinardo.
Her co-worker Peter McKosky says, "The conditions that the birds were rescued from is really horrific. Birds were starving. Birds were cannibalizing the corpses of other birds. The ammonia filled barn was overwhelming. There's lots of sick and injured birds."
Luvin' Arms along with Broken Shovels Farm Sanctuary, Rooster Sanctuary at Danzig's Roost, Good Life Refuge and Rescued Friends Animal Sanctuary have been working non-stop since the new year to rescue as many chickens as they could.
"We're pretty much working around the clock to take care of them to medicate them, to give them fluids, to take them to veterinary visits," McKosky said.
Dinardo says, "It's our biggest rescue. We saved 529 birds."
Andrea Davis of Broken Shovels says the other four groups rescued more than 1,000 birds combined. She also says the farm owner was upset they couldn't keep the birds, and was working hard to make sure they would be taken care of one way or another.
Eventually 15,000 birds were rescued or given away to different chicken farmers.
"It's heart wrenching to see," Davis said.
She says despite their work, they couldn't save about 36,000 that were on the farm when it closed. Some died and others were given to hobby farmers, but they are happy they could give the ones they did rescue a new life.
"These birds will be going to 80 homes across the country which is amazing. We will be keeping flock of them here," Dinardo said.
As you can imagine, feeding and caring for all those birds is expensive. All organizations are looking for donations to help take care of the rescued chickens.
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