Jennifer Jabs at The Farm in Sequim holds a young hen who was headed to the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah last week. The no-kill facility helps animals with physical impairments live out their lives.
Michael Dashiell/Olympic Peninsula News group

Jennifer Jabs at The Farm in Sequim holds a young hen who was headed to the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah last week. The no-kill facility helps animals with physical impairments live out their lives. Michael Dashiell/Olympic Peninsula News group

New horizons for chick

Sequim farm animal with disability headed to Utah preserve

SEQUIM — Why did the chicken cross one-third of the country?

A small, unnamed, deformed hen from Sequim is getting a new home hundreds of miles away thanks to a serendipitous family connection.

Jennifer Jabs co-owns The Farm in Sequim off Sequim-Dungeness Way, where she helps raise hundreds of chickens for eggs.

In a recent batch of 120 chicks purchased in October 2020, Jabs was busy picking up the youngsters to help them wet their beaks in water when she noticed one had her feet balled up.

The chick seemed to hobble a bit, and the farmer noticed the chick seemed to be walking on its knuckles.

“We’ve raised probably over 2,000 chickens or more (and) this is the first time we’ve had this situation … no idea why,” Jabs said.

Jabs said last week that with so many of them she doesn’t name her chickens, and that she hadn’t named this particular chick beyond “Little One.”

Jabs applied a small splint to help the chick straighten outs its toes.

“It definitely gets around and can fly when (she) tries to move fast,” Jabs said, “(but she) can’t keep balanced very well.”

At right, the hen at The Farm in Sequim was born with a disfigured legs and is about half the size of coop mates. 
Submitted photo

At right, the hen at The Farm in Sequim was born with a disfigured legs and is about half the size of coop mates. Submitted photo

Knowing that would not be a long-term solution, Jabs said more than likely the chick would wind up being butchered … if not for fortuitous family connections.

Jabs’ partner once interned at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary, a massive facility in Kenab, Utah, and her brother Jeff now works on staff there.

Jeff Jabs happened to be delivering some animals in the area, including a couple of rabbits to Portland, Ore., and was available to make a side trip to Sequim to pick up the disabled chick.

“All the animals (at Best Friends) are guaranteed a home there for their lives,” Jabs said.

After a 19-hour ride with Jeff, “Little One” will be initially be fostered in a kind of quarantine before heading to the Kenab facility.

Best Friends Animal Sanctuary bills itself as a the “home-between-homes” for about 1,600 rescued dogs and cats, horses, birds, rabbits, potbellied pigs, farm animals and assorted wildlife.

The facility was featured in headlines and stories after in 2007 it accepted dozens of dogs rescued from a dog fighting compound on the property of former NFL star Michael Vick.

Jabs said she was happy to not have to butcher a chicken prematurely.

“For me, I don’t get attached to the chickens, (but there’s) still a sense of, when butchering them, to thank them for what (they’ve) done,” she said. “It’s still hard, but needs to be done.

“It’s nice to know I don’t have to do that,” Jabs said.

“She’ll have a very, very happy life.”

________

Michael Dashiell is the editor of the Sequim Gazette of the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which also is composed of other Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News and Forks Forum. Reach him at [email protected] gazette.com.

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