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Quarterly Update: April to June

In the blink of an eye, summer arrived. Here at the sanctuary, that means longer days out in the sun and taking time to pause and enjoy the weather with the flocks.

Leading up to the release of this quarterly update has been quite the whirlwind. We've handled more loss than we would ever hope for and spent more on medical bills than we ever thought we would have in four short months. Of course, we'd do it all again in a heartbeat, knowing we provided a life worth living for the precious chickens that call our sanctuary home.

It hasn't all been grey skies. We’ve been chatting up a storm about the sanctuary (make sure to check out our Chicken Chat with Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary and CTV Interview), building up our emergency fund for the next medical crisis, and preparing for our Open House later this month.

We hope that this sneak peek into our sanctuary's operations helps you understand just how much we care and inspires you to continue (or start, hello!). supporting us. Thank you, always.

Liz & Craig Wheeler


Chicken Care

Spring is always a difficult time for hens. Their bodies, which usually take a break in the cold winter months, begin ramping up again to lay, inevitably causing reproductive complications. Two beautiful resident hens, Cora & Georgie, were lovingly euthanized. Cora had a tumour beyond treatment options, and Georgie had a soft-shelled stuck in her oviduct, so was brought to the vet and given medication to help her pass the egg. The medication caused convulsions and loss of all brain activity. We know the chickens won’t live forever. Our role as caretakers of these sweet chickens is to advocate for their quality of life and ensure they have as little suffering as we can control. In both their cases, the best thing we could do to show them how much we loved them was to make the heartbreaking call and absorb any pain they had as our own as we entered a life without them. We also had to say goodbye to Daisy.  In May, we saw multiple posts online about a hen who couldn’t walk and felt called to help. We immediately brought her to the vet for triage, where they did x-rays and discovered she had an inoperable reproductive mass pressing on her spine, causing irreparable impairment. The vet told us she believed the most humane and ethical decision would be euthanizing Daisy. I’m heartbroken we couldn’t save Daisy, but I still believe, in a way, we did. We didn’t prolong her suffering, and we allowed her to have a peaceful end. We held her and whispered to her that she was loved. 

The break in the storm came when Henry had his exam and x-rays at Athens Vet Services. It turned out that Henry has really bad hips with arthritis all over his joints and not a brain injury! The vet explained that his “episode” where he turned purple can happen when chickens get the wind knocked out of them, which could explain the temporary breathing trouble. He was uncomfortable walking and jumping because his joints hurt, but we’ve been introducing a regiment to help him feel like a young chick again. 

We also feel incredibly lucky that Angie has been thriving. Angie was brought to a vet for "fluid belly" caused by reproductive cancer. The vet pulled quite a bit of liquid from her belly, and we were trained on the process and pulled even more at home. She’s on a steroid medication, which helps slow the growth of the cancer, and she's doing really well on it. It’s shaped like a sunflower seed, so she happily gobbles it from our hands, making medicating a breeze!

Progress on 2024 Goals

As we get further into the year, the original goals we set seem like a distant memory. Already, we’ve surpassed our income and expense projections. We’ve grown so much. Yet, our goals are a great reminder of what we imagined for Secondhand Stories at the beginning of the year. We’ve managed to:

  • Welcome our first on-site volunteer, the amazing Haley, who has been a miracle helping us do our big clean of the coops every other week.

  • Set aside $2000 in a medical emergency fund for unexpected or surgical veterinary intervention.

  • Purchased fans for all the chickens’ coops to help cool them down during summer heat waves.

  • We created a memorial garden in memory of our beloved hens.

Sadly, we haven’t been able to make progress on a couple of our goals. With the beautiful weather, we’ve prioritized taking time to spend with the chickens and not rush projects. We’re still hoping to complete an electric update to coop number five and clean out and prepare a "spare" coop for isolation use. These tasks are important but are largely reliant on other people helping us. So, while they’ll still be done by the year's end, we’ve chosen to spend Q2 slowing down and enjoying our time with our little ones.


Halfway through the year, we’ve already met over 80% of our original expense budget, and so, we’ve revised our 2024 budget to better reflect our growth. The biggest changes are within the Events & Administrative budgets, both of which have been increased thanks to grants we received in the first half of the year. 


End-of-life care for Cora, Georgie & Daisy. Implants for Cora, Margaret, Gunta, & Mocha. Ongoing medication for Jewel, Henry, Margaret and Angie. Mites treatment for all flocks. Medical exams and x-rays. Cleaning supplies, first aid kit and bumblefoot/arthritis footwear for Ellie & Henry.


Wood and supplies for new perches, Ellie's indoor coop, a sanctuary welcome sign, and chicken wire for expanded runs.


Website Hosting Renewal (2 Years), Donor Database Fee, Donation Form Fees (Donorbox, Stripe, Paypal), Banking Fees. This also includes the $365 sent to the 50/50 draw winner. Also of note is that we received a grant for $1,300 that covers the cost of our donor database fees.

Chicken Care

Feed, bedding, enrichment (i.e. mealworms), and an investment in new fans.


Tabling fees & insurance, merch investment costs, U-Haul rental for May event weekend.


Mailing sponsorship packages, gas for delivery volunteer, and the purchase of Lindt chocolates for resale (raising $600).


Wix email marketing plan. We took advantage of a promotion and purchased a year of marketing plan in advance.


Our supporters have made this possible. Your individual donations, book purchases, and commitment to our monthly donor program, The Kind Friends Club, all help us tremendously.

How You Can Help!

In our quarterly updates, we want to highlight ways for you to get involved.

  • Attend our Open House on July 27.

  • Volunteer to help tackle our never-ending list of updates.

  • Check out our limited edition bookmarks & Potato merch.

  • Apply to be a Secondhand Stories founding board member.

  • Send a chicken a gift from our wishlist.

  • Subscribe to our email newsletter to stay in the loop.


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