Willie of Uncle Neil's Home

Willie's story

Willie was liberated from a live market in Queens, NY during Kaporos in September of 2020. Kaporos is a religious ritual that takes place annually during Yom Kippur in which practitioners use chickens “as Kaporos” to abolish their sins. They do so by swinging birds by their wings around their heads, saying a prayer, and then slaughtering the bird as a means to abolish their sins by proxy. Animal Rights Activists attend the live markets and liberate as many birds as possible each year. Willie was liberated and we offered him and his 9 other siblings a safe landing at Uncle Neil’s Home.

When Willie arrived, he was in rough shape. He is a Cornish Cross chicken, and his breed is used in the industry as a “broiler” or “meat” chicken. Broilers are genetically bred to grow twice their size in a short period of time, therefore, chickens who are rescued live very short lifespans because their damaged bodies cannot sustain a healthy life. When Willie arrived at the sanctuary, he received immediate medical care and we nursed him back to health after a very rough start to his life.

At about 6 months old, Willie started to exhibit concerning symptoms, and after countless medications, remedies and visits to the vet, he was ultimately diagnosed with Gout. Willie needs a lot of individualized care, and takes two medications and three different herbs per day. His feet are severely swollen from the Gout, but ultimately he is in great spirits and living a very happy life. He regularly visits the vet for disease management, but you would never know that there is anything wrong! Willie’s best friend is Rosie, and Rosie takes great care of him. They spend their days taking dust baths, eating tomatoes, and foraging for clovers. We are so happy that Willie is here with us at UNH.