Sanctuary mourns passing of long-lived broiler rooster

Nov 25, 2020

Dartmouth’s Don’t Forget Us, Pet Us animal sanctuary has lost one of its most beloved rescues.

According to an obituary written by sanctuary owner Deb Devlin, after living more than three years, Fepo the rapid-growth broiler rooster passed away from complications due to his genetics on Nov. 21.

Fepo — at first intended “For Educational Purposes Only,” also known as Feppy — hatched on Sept. 17, 2017 at Hoover Hatchery in Iowa, and was shipped to Massachusetts for sale as a meat bird, Devlin wrote. 

In the obituary, Devlin explained that broiler chickens are bred for such rapid growth that those not slaughtered after a typical lifespan of 42-56 days tend to die shortly thereafter, due to health complications from growing too fast.

The sanctuary rescued Fepo at just days old, and paired him with an abandoned feral kitten called Pumpky, who helped Feppy thrive his first few months.

“Fepo quickly lived up to his name, becoming an ambassador for broiler chickens,” wrote Devlin. “He educated people all over the world about the cruel injustices surrounding the broiler industry and the effects of rapid growth, including heart failure, fractured legs, pneumonia burn, sudden death name a few.”

Although still just chicks, broilers are grown to market weight, Devlin explained, adding “Their baby hearts and baby legs simply can’t withstand the rapid growth.”

“Feppy lived 38 months and 3 days,” the obituary continued. “He fought his genetics every day to stay with his family and friends. He absence is felt immensely already.”

Listed in the obituary were some of the rooster’s favorite things, including car rides, vegan apple pies, oatmeal, the beach, spending time with friends and family on the farm, listening to Carrie Underwood and Kenny Loggins, face rubs, and sitting by the fireplace.

He also enjoyed Van’s pumpkin waffles, blueberries, Christmas decorations, resting on dog beds, Tom Brady, his Facebook supporters, “and most of all his mom who loved him immeasurably,” Devlin wrote.

Devlin described herself as “heartbroken” over his loss.

Her memories of the rooster’s antics included him chasing the sanctuary’s cows and bullying the dogs, trying to eat the other animals’ food, pecking at her toes, and “talking back when being reprimanded.”

“He took every opportunity to educate.....and to love,” Devlin added, detailing one instance where he helped a young woman graduate high school.

“On days she didn’t want to get out of bed her mom would quickly go to the sanctuary page and show her daughter what antics Feppy was up to that day,” Devlin wrote. 

“‘I want to thank Don’t Forget Us Pet Us for rescuing a chicken that in return rescued me from the dark place I was in,’” she cited the young woman as telling the sanctuary.

According to Devlin, Fepo’s Facebook posts “brought smiles, inspiration, strength, love and laughter all over the globe.”

“In his last days as he rested comfortably, each and every one of your comments were read to him through his mom’s tears,” she wrote. “Thank you for loving him, supporting him and constantly reminding a born to die meat bird that his life has value.” 

Devlin asked Fepo’s supporters to educate themselves on the broiler chicken industry, try chicken alternatives, share his obituary and/or make a tax deductible donation in his memory to the Don’t Forget Us, Pet Us sanctuary, P.O. Box 79124, Dartmouth, MA 02747.