When Mahika Gupta met Corrie at an animal-rights event last June, they knew it was love at first sight.
Gupta, who is vegan, had been protesting a live animal market in Philadelphia when a small group of activists went inside the building to rescue two chickens. One of them was Corrie, a hen with red comb and golden brown feathers.
“I had been talking about wanting to adopt a chicken for a while before the rescue,” Gupta said. “Because what’s more powerful than seeing chickens in the same way like other animals we love and have compassion for?”
Gupta, who currently attends Temple University, adopted Corrie and brought her to the house they share with their friends in Brewerytown. They purchased chicken diapers on Etsy, a bag of cornmeal, and a cat bed for Corrie to sleep on. Today, Corrie spends her days taking dust baths in the backyard, snacking on blueberries and pieces of spinach, and napping in patches of sunlight.
When she’s not resting, Corrie attends other animal-rights rallies around the country. Last year she was a guest of honor at the Midwest March for Animals in Chicago. When Gupta isn’t traveling with Corrie in tow, they take her to local events that educate people about veganism, where the feathered activist attracts a lot of attention.
“After Corrie came into my life, I realized being an animal-rights activist wasn’t always about fighting on the streets,” Gupta said. “It can be about feeding Corrie a blueberry or comforting her while she’s laying an egg. Getting to know her and take responsibility of caring for her and being her friend has been really beautiful.”
Gupta doesn’t know how much longer Corrie will live — she was about 1½ years old when she was rescued. Before Corrie arrived at the live animal market, she was at an egg farm where her eggs were sold as free-range and organic. Because Corrie was kept in close confinement with other chickens, her beak was cut, making it difficult for her to pick up scraps of food. Until last month, Corrie would lay an egg every single day, occasionally screaming in pain. Gupta would crush up the egg, including the shell, and feed it back to Corrie to help restore some of the nutrients she lost by laying the egg. (She now has an implant to help moderate her egg-laying.)