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Forest Hills Chicken Now Queen of the Roost at Upstate Animal Sanctuary

By Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska | January 9, 2014 7:16am
 Queeny the chicken was taken to an upstate sanctuary before Hurricane Sandy and has been thriving ever since, the sanctuary said.
Forest Hills Chicken at Upstate Animal Sanctuary
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QUEENS — Queeny, the tiny hen who delighted Forest Hills residents for a year by prancing along 71st Avenue and Station Square, is thriving in her new home at an upstate farm animal sanctuary, the owner of the farm said.

“She lives the best life,” said Kurt Andernach, 50, of the 60-acre And-Hof-Animal Sanctuary in Catskill, N.Y., where Queeny was taken just before Hurricane Sandy.

Queeny, a Bantam Araucana hen who ate bagels and blocked traffic in Forest Hills, now hangs out with a flock of seven other chickens of the same breed. Among her "best friends" are two roosters, Henry and Herbert, and a hen named Silly, Andernach said.

Most of the Bantam chickens at the animal sanctuary were rescued from post offices, after the birds were injured during shipping or people who ordered them failed to pick them up, he said.

The sanctuary has a total of about 30 chickens now, after Andernach adopted 16 out of 3,000 chickens rescued in July from a California-based egg production farm, where they were kept in gruesome conditions, he said.

“Here, they live the way they want to,” Andernach said.

Bantams are known for being “very tough and independent," the farm owner said. “They are just like wild birds." The entire flock roosts in hemlock trees.

“They are way up there, like 25 feet up in the trees,” Andernach said. “And they are always there together.”

The recent brutally cold weather forced the birds to spend the nights inside an insulated coop, where Andernach installed heat lamps and put out warm water.

“With this weather you need to make sure that the animals are OK, especially the chickens, because they get frostbite very easily,” he said.

The sanctuary is also home to goats, ducks and geese, including Exxon, a duck found covered in oil in a truck yard, as well as Brook and Lyn, a pair of chickens who escaped from a Brooklyn slaughterhouse.

Queeny was taken upstate just before Hurricane Sandy hit, after a group of Forest Hills residents worried the chicken would not survive winter and the dangers of Queens traffic, and asked Andernach to take her in.

He said that since he brought Queeny to the sanctuary, she has laid a number of blue-green eggs, typical for her breed, but has had no offspring yet.

“Our mission here is to rescue, not to breed,” Andernach said.