Toro Roo was a rescued broiler chicken who came to us from an animal cruelty situation along with a baby turkey. Together, they and other animals were confiscated after a domestic dispute which resulted in animal cruelty charges.
Toro was the first broiler chicken we have rescued. We were heartbroken to see what genetic manipulation of the breed has done to these little babies. 95% of chickens eaten in the US are just like Toro, but before we met him, we had no idea what commercial chickens were like. Broilers like him are food obsessed and grow to a staggering weight, incredibly fast. Our other rescued chickens average 3lbs in weight, but Toro weighed 16lbs. Sixteen pounds!
As a baby, he struggled to stand up and walk as he grew too fast and far too large. He was missing part of two toes, which didn't help his walking either. He panted after only a few steps, and didn't walk much after he was a few months old.
But Toro was a sweet, friendly, lovable guy who adored his hen friends and loved his life. He was talkative and affectionate, and he liked to be held every day. We built him a sling to lift him up and get the weight off his legs, but he always preferred to be held on our laps instead.
When Toro was about 10-months-old, his incredible size took a toll on his heart and lungs and he had trouble breathing. Also, he could no longer walk at all. He was euthanized when he was no longer enjoying his life, so he wouldn't suffer. That's a fairly long life for a broiler chicken, but nowhere near the 10-year lifespan of a normal chicken.
We miss Toro every day. Many people have told us that they never ate chicken again after seeing our stories about Toro Roo. So in a way, his life was a gift to other chickens.