We are happy to introduce Kelly Rutkowski, our guest blogger and founder of Adopt a Bird Network, and organization working to promote poultry adoption from shelters. We are helping to raise funds for Adopt a Bird so that they can continue and grow their mission – with each sale of our Hazel enamel pin, we will donate $5 to Adopt a Bird. Meet Kelly and learn more about her organization.
Hi! My name is Kelly Rutkowski and I would love it if you might consider adopting a bird from an animal shelter or rescue when you decide to add to your flock. I would love you even more if you adopted a rooster! I wasn’t always as chicken-obsessed as I am. Or actually, maybe I was since I actually rescued my first chickens back when I was sixteen.
I am a Clemson University graduate and structural engineer with an MBA, who left a successful career designing marinas to follow my passion of helping animals, particularly chickens. I have an elderly horse named Cash and a flock of birds of my own, most of whom came from various shelters or were rescued locally. They each have their own unique personalities, likes and dislikes, and friends and foes within the flock. Most know their names, some can perform tricks, and all of them are used to being picked up and cuddled by me on a daily basis. Over half of the birds in my flock are roosters!
I run the website PoultryDVM.com, and founded Adopt a Bird Network (ABN), a nonprofit dedicated to promoting the presence of the forgotten birds (especially chickens) in animal shelters across the United States, with the intent of finding each a loving, no-kill, and forever home.
To help accomplish this, ABN connects available homeless birds to prospective adopters and rescues. We also produce educational infographics and give backyard chicken keeping workshops at different animal shelters across the country. We gave our first workshop last August in Los Angeles in partnership with Los Angeles City Animal Services, and are scheduled to do another in March.
There is a huge need for Adopt a Bird Network, because as backyard chickens gain in popularity, an increasing number are ending up in animal shelters. Most are picked up as strays after being deliberately abandoned in parking lots, vacant homes (where their owners moved away and left them), parks, on the side of the road, left in a cardboard box outside the door of the shelter, garbage dumpsters, or even tied up and thrown in ponds. Others are surrendered by their owners or confiscated from cruelty cases.
Depending on the shelter, these birds might end up euthanized, sitting for months, or even years, in isolation while waiting for someone to adopt them (often because nobody even knows they are there), or given away as a food source. A lucky few are adopted out to good homes or transferred over to a rescue or sanctuary. Since ABN started back in August 2017, the number of lucky birds has been steadily rising.
Through ABN, I am trying to inspire others to care, like I do, about these birds (ESPECIALLY the poor roosters!) and to think of them as companions and pets, for they are no different than a cat or dog. They deserve the opportunity to live a happy and healthy life, free from fear of predators, taken to the veterinarian when they are sick, and valued for who they are – not what they can provide.
ABN is filing to become a 501c3 this month, thanks to the generous donation from Henny+Roo! We would also like to thank the amazing support we received from our wonderful ambassadors: Lipstick and Chickens, Viking the Lab, and Hen Stefani, and those of you who purchased a pin to help us!