Donald’s Story: Victim of a school hatching project
Donald the rooster was a product of a first grade hatching project in Napa, Calif. As he hatched from the shell, his right leg was severely deformed. When Donald arrived at Harvest Home, his lower limbs were a sight to see. One of his legs was splayed at a 90 degree angle, while the other leg was supported with curled toes. This young rooster’s situation looked grim. His daily routine was a struggle. Before long, Donald underwent leg surgery and for his whole life he proudly walked the pastures of Harvest Home.
Harvest Home offers educational presentations on chicken lifecycles and chicken care, as alternatives to school hatching projects
When the special-needs hens arrived from A & L Poultry, an abandoned egg farm in Stanislaus County, one individual expressed a sincere concern for the feathered girls’ well-being. His name was Donald.
When they first arrived, each morning, Donald watched with great interest on the opposing side of the girls’ fence-line when the hens came outside for fresh air and plenty of nutrition. He stood quietly and patiently as each girl arrived from their indoor night-time accommodations. Donald carefully circled the exercise pen as a watchful guardian over the sanctuary’s newest arrivals.
It was not long ago that Donald faced his own life-threatening challenges. When he arrived at Harvest Home Animal Sanctuary, Donald’s lower limbs were a painful sight to see. One of his legs was splayed at a 90-degree angle, while the other leg was supported with curled toes. This four-month-old rooster’s situation looked grim. His daily routine was a struggle. A struggle to reach food and water. A struggle to stay clean. A struggle to move without thrashing around. Thankfully, Donald was the perfect candidate for leg surgery. Post-op, he gained the miraculous ability to walk.
As a strong, able-bodied bird, Donald took on a new yet natural task. Each day, he stood with a proud posture around the hens. Donald was the great protector.
In a rescue setting, it’s often seen that humans are the main providers of care and comfort for animals in need. However, animals themselves can be the ultimate caregivers for newly-rescued individuals. The presence of fellow members of their species has a calming, therapeutic impact on animals who have experienced great trauma and neglect. Donald knew that because he triumphed over his own physical struggles. Throughout his life he carried on a tradition of compassion for those who needed it the most at Harvest Home Animal Sanctuary.