Our hearts have never been fuller. 2023 was our first full year operating as a sanctuary and to say we went all out would be an understatement. This year we opened our doors to eight more rescue chickens from four different flocks. We purchased new coops, installed electricity, added insulation, built and expanded outdoor runs. The transformation has been unbelievable. As we write, this the snow has started gently falling in Rideau Lakes reminding us how lucky we are to provide our rescue flocks with everything they need to be safe, health and happy as the cold season kicks in. That's all thanks to you, so let's jump in to our 2023 Year In Review to see what you helped us accomplish!
With all our love and gratitude,
Liz & Craig
At the heart of it all are the chickens. Everything we do is for them.
Early in the year, we said goodbye to our beloved Betsie (who passed away from reproductive cancer) and in March we experienced an unexpected and double heartbreaking loss of Emily & June (who passed away from reproductive illness).
Maggie and Alma both joined us indoors for several weeks as they overcame reproductive issues and were implanted thanks to a grant from the Microsanctuary Resource Center. Georgie & Sophie also had to be implanted in the summer, and Maggie received her second implant just this past week.
Ellie had a summer of love, learning to trust our voices and blissfully nap in the hammock, on the deck couch, or indoors for our "chicken movie time".
Rolo & Heshey had an expanded run built so they could stretch their wings.
In May we welcomed Henry, an 8 year old semi-blind rooster, who became homeless after the closure of Big Sky Ranch. We helped him overcome his mite infestation, bumble foot, and feather loss. Now he's rocking it as the proud senior rooster to our ladies.
Then, we fell in love at first sight with a tiny silkie rooster who was being abused in a downtown apartment. When we heard he needed a home there was no doubt that we would save him. He's now lovingly named named Potato and we're ~obsessed~ with him!
In August we agreed to provide 7 chickens with their second forever home, when another sanctuary sadly had to stop operations. Oscar & Mocha joined our family in November, and then Ezra, Jewel, Angie & Gunta arrived late December. They rounded our family out to a wonderful 17 chickens.
Advocacy / Blog
Starting in February, inspired by the loss of our dearest Betsie who passed away from reproductive cancer, we began to vocally and fiercely advocate for the chickens we haven't been able to save.
In April we travelled to Toronto to speak to City Councillors about the risks of unregulated and unenforced urban backyard chicken programs.
We published our Microsanctuary Operations Manual in May - this is something not many sanctuaries share publicly and we wanted to lead by example showing how much work and attention to detail is required in caring for chickens.
We published a blog on The Difference Between Sanctuaries & Roadside Zoos
We launched a vegan cookbook giveaway to encourge people to participate in Veganuary and try a vegan diet.
We added a Help Chickens page to our website where supporters can learn more about humane alternatives.
We published a blog on what we do with the hens' eggs.
We couldn't do it without the incredible support of our amazing business partners. Sales from book purchases account for 32% of our revenue. These five businesses opened their doors (and shelves!) to make room for book orders.
We also are proud to share we were selected by Animated Coffee, Bestowed Cards and Yarn over Crochet by Olga, Doro Marcello and Keepin' It Vegan as one of their animal charity partners. Make sure you support these small businesses as they give back to our community!
This was a year of investing in the infrastructure needed to launch the sanctuary. Our biggest expenses were those related to shelter - building coops and runs for the chickens - at $10,666.22. We tripled the size of our sanctuary capacity this year and because of the preparation we did this year, in 2024 we can budget a more conservative 10% on shelter. The second highest in expenses were the medical care costs - $5203 - followed by Chicken Care* - $1842 (i.e. feed, bedding and supplements), Operations - $1603 (i.e. website hosting and email marketing) and Events - $843 (i.e. tabling fees and insurance). It should be noted that chicken care was a smaller percentage as much of the cost of enrichment, treats and salad have been personally financed by Craig and myself.
Stay tuned for next week when we announce our 2024 goals and budget!
All this would not be possible without the generous support of people like you.
If you're inspired to make a year-end gift to our sanctuary, you can donate here.