Thanks in part to weak state laws, California is something of a haven for illegal cockfighting operations. Cockfighting pits two specially-bred fighting roosters against each other inside an enclosed arena from which they cannot escape. The fight ends only after one (or both) of the birds has been killed.
Roosters are tossed into the ring with razor-sharp knives or "gaffs" tied to their legs. Each slash of the knife from a fighting rooster's powerful legs can sever an artery or puncture a lung. Usually both birds die from their injuries, including the fight's "winner."
When cockfighting operations are busted, usually the birds (known as "gamefowl"), particularly the roosters, are euthanized because they are deemed unadoptable.
While Hen Harbor has several rescued cockfighting roosters, most of the gamefowl here are hens (kept by cockfighters as breeders). Because they are so closely related to junglefowl, the gamefowl hens typically lay only one or two dozen eggs a year (as opposed to the 300+ eggs laying hens are bred to produce). As a result, they do not typically suffer from the same egg-laying ailments that plague industry- and backyard-laying hens.
The biggest challenge with Hen Harbor's gamefowl is keeping them confined safely. Unlike the more domesticated hens, they have an unstoppable wanderlust, which can make them more easily targeted by predators.
Because there is so much cockfighting activity in California, animal shelters in some parts of the state are almost always full of gamefowl.
If you can adopt one (or several!), they make fascinating friends, without the terrible health problems that typically plague laying hens.