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Animal Stories


the tiniest kitten

This tiny kitten was found by the side of the road at only 3 days old. We fostered him until he was big and strong enough to be adopted out to his forever family. Luckily, that turned out to be a friend of ours so we still see this cutie from time to hime!



snuggly hen with major mobility issues

For unknown reasons, June's legs stopped working. Her family tried their best to keep her safe and socialized, but the group just wouldn't accept her. She loved in with the flock at RRR and made lots of good friends. 



from paralyzed to perfect!

Surrendered to a shelter with no function of the back half of his body, this boy is brave and amazing. An incredible angel donor paid for his spine surgery and then we adopted him! After many months of physical therapy, Scruffy is walking and thriving. 



a very special duck

Our first duck, a gorgeous and special white pekin. When her mom moved abroad, we took in this friendly little lady. She opened our minds to the possibility of keeping water fowl and we are SO glad she did. 



boss lady with one  bad  leg

Her loving owners wanted more than they could provide for this feisty hen. Born with an unusual leg deformity, Beatrice was constantly picked on by flock-mates, making life quite unpleasant. We took her in and she's done great. Her strong personality made her fit right in with the rest of the flock!



wobbly but wonderful

Severe arthritis feels a lot more manageable when you have your best friend by your side 24/7. Rosemary and her buddy Chuck were raised by hand in a gorgeous northern CA backyard, but when the primary caretaker was. moving off to college, the pair needed a new home. By that time, Rosemary had developed such severe arthritis that she could barely move. Luckily, RRR has plenty of space, time, and care to give to a situation like that!



the biggest rooster

Benny, at the time unnamed, was a giant, gentle rooster about to be abandoned in a feed shop parking lot. Matt was coincidentally at the feed shop at the same time, and brought home this big boy - our first ever rooster rescue.


Daisy & Amanda

a truly incredible rescue story

This mother-daughter pair was rescued from a truck headed for a slaughterhouse. Daisy had a severe eye injury leaving her blind on one side, so her daughter Amanda literally stayed by her side every day for years and years. 



the miracle chicken

What has this chicken NOT been through??? She came from a feed shop, survived an intestinal obstruction, suffered a devastating leg injury, worked her way back into the backyard flock, and made it all the way out to the promised land of California. 



tiny and mighty

Born at midnight and abandoned by mama, this tiny survivor hid in the straw until daybreak when the humans came to her rescue. She lived in the house for MONTHS until she was big and strong enough to move back outside. She continues to work on bonding with her mom and dad. 



everyone's friend

Handsome and calm, this furry boy was a heart throb and a heart breaker. We adopted Elijah at 8 weeks of age, and loved evey minute of watching him grow and develop. At age 3, he suddenly developed urinary retention, and his tiny body was not able to fight off the damage and infection caused by multiple large kidney stones. His memory is a blessing here at RRR. 



her majesty

Our first and most valiant hen. This girl has seen a little bit of everything! Big P was the very first hen to join our family back in November 2015. She has been the boss lady from the very beginning. and she continues to hold the highest position in the pecking order. In her role at the top of the totem pole, she has never been anything but calm, pleasant, welcoming, and helpful to her flockmates. 

Tiger's Story

Tiger's story

In early January 2021, we took a drive down to the animal shelter in San Martin to see who might need a home. Sitting behind the front desk was a woman holding a tiny little thing...

Me: "What is that?! A chipmunk?!" 

Her: "No, no," she replied. "It's a kitten. Found by the side of the road. He's about 4 days old. We're looking for a foster family."

Us, in unison: "We'll take him!"


We loaded the car with ourselves, the tiny kitten (who had already been named Tiger), and his BIG bag of supplies - when you foster an animal, the shelter provides all of the food, bedding, medical care, etc. We would be his home, but technically the shelter still manages his care. We knew from the start that our plan would be to adopt him out to a loving family... but it would be WEEKS before he'd be independent and functional enough to be adoptable. We buckled up for a long ride of excitement, frustration, sleepless nights, and endless adorableness.  

Tiger started out with bottle feedings (every 1-2 hours x 24 hours per day!!) but we quickly weaned him to solid foods. You really have to teach the cat how to put the food into their mouth!


We had MANY cute and snuggly moments with the tiny kitten.


Tiger went from being barely-recognizable as a cat to a loving and cuddly house pet within a few short weeks. He quickly made himself comfortable on our heads, shoulders, and inside of our hoodie pockets... but he never fully warmed up with our other cat, Cooper (or, perhaps more accurately, Cooper never really warmed up to Tiger). We really enjoyed the experience of raising a tiny animal, and we reminded ourselves every day that he would eventually leave us for another family.  


Imagine our DELIGHT and EXCITEMENT when a dear friend (who we see on a very regular basis) told us he wanted to adopt Tiger into his family! 

The house felt a little bit empty after Tiger moved into his forever home 75 miles north... but he's certainly filling up his new house with a lot of adorable moments. 

Facts about Tiger:

  • Birthdate: January 1, 2021

  • Rescue date: January 4, 2021

  • Rescued from: Santa Clara Country Animal Shelter, San Martin, CA

  • Adopted out: March 2021

Benny's story

Benny's story

There are many reasons why people give up their chickens - they run out of resources, they lose interest, they discover that there are laws in their city that prohibit livestock - we often learn the specifics of the reasoning for rehoming, but many times we just don't know. 


"Hey, you mentioned you would want a rooster if anyone ever dropped one off... well, someone just left this guy. You want him?"

It was a serendipitous spring day when Matt just happened to be at a local feed shop buying some supplies, and just happened to strike up conversation with the cashier about the fact that sometimes people drop off unwanted roosters in their parking lot, and it just happened that a man dropped off a big, beautiful rooster just as Matt was getting into his car... 


  • Birthdate: estimated September 2020

  • Rescued date: March 4, 2021

  • Rescued from: Ganado Feed and Pet supplies, San Jose, CA

  • Deceased date: September 28, 2021

Thank goodness for Matt's extroversion and initiative - the cashier dashed out to the parking lot and stopped Matt...

Of course, Matt didn't have to think twice! Big Benny Blanco came home with him and became the first ever rooster to live at Rancho Roben Rescues. We do not know why the man gave up this rooster... but given how ENORMOUS Benny is, we suspect that he was being raised for meat, and then the man or his family changed their mind about wanting to have the bird processed. It doesn't really matter why Benny came to us - the important thing is that we were able to give him a safe, comfortable, happy home. 

Benny often seemed a bit grumpy and he never quite warmed up to people, even those of us who spoke gently to him and fed him every day. We don't fault him for that - he may have been mistreated at his previous home, leaving him permanently angry and anxious... or maybe he just has a pouty demeanor. We still loved having him and felt very proud to be his forever home.  

Facts about Benny:

June's story

June's story

June is a fabulous little hen! This special girl came to us via a post on one of the chicken-keeping groups on Facebook. The post indicated that June was am overall healthy bird but with severe mobility issues, causing her to be bullied by the rest of the flock. Her family had to move her into an isolated area in order to keep her safe, and they didn't feel that living alone was a fair or satisfying way for a chicken to live. June's mom wondered - could anyone provide a safe home for this hen with extremely limited mobility?

Enter Rancho Roben Rescues!

We have experience caring for chickens with mobility issues, so June seemed like a perfect fit for us. We picked her up, gave her a name, and brought her to her new forever home. 


June's first bath

  • Birthdate: January 7, 2020

  • Rehomed date: June 7, 2022

  • Adopted from a home in Cupertino, CA


June's new digs

More about June:

Daisy & Amanda


Daisy and Amanda are a mother-daughter pair of miniature horses. We came upon them while searching for donkeys, actually, but the moment we met them we knew they would be a perfect fit for our animal family. 

After acquiring dozens of birds, we thought that some hoofed animals might be a helpful and fun addition to the rancho. Our initial plan was to get donkeys - rescues of course! We found a lovely little rescue called Fairy Tale farms, who advertised some rescued donkeys available. We made the short drive to the farm and found that there was only one donkey available (a couple of other pairs had been spoken for just prior to our arrival!) and we really didn't feel comfortable taking a single animal. We know how much the social interactions of daily life are important to these creatures, so we really wanted a pair or a trio.

"We don't have a pair of donkeys available, but we do have this mother-daughter pair of miniature horses..."


Two years prior, Daisy and dozens of other horses were aboard a truck headed to a slaughterhouse, when the truck was intercepted (peacefully and legally!) by a rescue group. When Daisy arrived at Fairy Tale farms two things became immediately clear:

  • She was blind in her left eye (apparently a veterinary mishap)

  • She was PREGNANT!


Amanda was born at the rescue, and bonded closely with her mother. Daisy and Amanda never left each other's sides. Amanda essentially functioned as the eyes for her half-blind mama. Many animals form bonded pairs but this was a very Very VERY tight bond. For YEARS this pair was passed up by potential adoptive families due to concerns about Daisy's vision issues and Amanda's clinginess to her mama... but these features did not deter us. In fact, their bond, the unique features, their story of perseverance and love was truly inspiring. We knew immediately upon meeting them that they would live happily ever after with us. 


  • Daisy's birthdate: April 2018

  • Amanda's birthday: April 2019

  • Adopted date: April 2, 2021

  • Acquired from: Fairytale Farms, Morgan Hill, CA

Facts about Daisy & Amanda:


Scruffy's story


We were sitting on the couch one evening, all the animals tucked in safely in the barn, and came upon this Facebook post.

Matt: What do you think?

Me: I'll go pick him up on Tuesday!

I'm exaggerating. It wasn't so quick... we would never make such an impulsive decision about an animal with extensive medical needs and an uncertain future. But we agreed on this adoption extremely quickly, even though we knew that we wouldn't be able to actually meet or touch this guy until the papers were signed. It was a HUGE risk! And SO worth it! 


Scruffy's story is pretty incredible: he was surrendered by his owner to a shelter in Los Angeles because he had lost function of the entire back half of his body (legs, bladder control, tail wag, etc). The shelter found a veterinarian who was able to quickly diagnose him with a severely herniated vertebral disc - the contents of the disc were pushing on the spinal cord, causing the neurologic deficits. As if this story wasn't already incredible... a local animal welfare organization donated the money for Scruffy's corrective surgery!

After surgery, Scruffy spent a few nights in the hospital and then went back to the animal shelter for recovery and the desperate hope of finding an adoptive family. That's when we saw the Facebook post. Scruffy had all the medical support he needed, but he still lacked the family who could take him home, do his therapy, carry him around, love him and support him (emotionally and physically), and bring him to vet appointments. 

The timing was perfect for us - one of us was working full time on the homestead and the other was on a self-imposed sabbatical from work, leaving PLENTY of time for animal care. 

The biggest part of Scruffy's care was related to his mobility: he required FULL TIME crate rest for 6 straight weeks, with breaks allowed out of the crate ONLY for peeing & pooping and for this three-times-per-day physical therapy. He had to eat, sleep, and snuggle from inside of his crate, which was very frustrating and awkward at times. We QUICKLY changed from a crate to a wagon so that he could have a lot more visibility, mobility, and social interaction.

Scruffy required a few medications, and he was a pretty picky eater for a while, so administering meds was not as easy as just dropping it into his food! 

Another huge and unanticipated feature of his recovery was his anxiety. We have no idea what life was like for Scruffy before he was surrendered, how he was treated when he lost function in his back legs, and for how long he had been struggling before getting the help he needed. Any number of factors probably contributed to Scruffy being very upset any time he was left alone. Even walking around a corner for a moment made him cry. With much love and snuggles, Scruffy's anxiety is much Much MUCH better!

Scruffy's crate rest and dedication to his PT paid off - right on track, he started twitching his back legs, then flexing the muscles, then bearing weight, taking tiny steps, then bigger steps! His first "real" steps were on the kitchen floor of a neighbor's house - I guess a tempting piece of garlic bread is a good incentive to walk across the room!

Scruffy's first leash walk

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Scruffy is a huge part of our lives. He is an inspiring, happy, snuggly, loving family member. It is truly hard to remember what life was like before we adopted him! We take him with us anywhere he's allowed. We are so incredibly proud of his progress, his bravery, and his fighting spirit. Also very thankful for his snuggles and cute face. 


  • Birthdate: January 30, 2017

  • Surrendered date: June 8, 2022

  • Surgery date: June 16, 2022

  • Adopted date: June 21, 2022

  • Adopted from: Los Angeles Animal Services

Facts about Scruffy

Isa: the miracle chicken

Isa the miracle

Isa "the miracle chicken" could be the topic of her own entire website, memoir, made-for-TV-movie, etc. Believe it or not, this is the ABRIDGED version of her story.  If and when you come visit us here at RRR, please feel free to ask for more stories and highlights from the incredible life of a tiny red chicken. 


Isa was born at a hatchery in February 2016 and was delivered to Belmont Feed & Seed - our local supply shop in Chicago. We had just started keeping chickens and we felt ready to expand our flock, so we purchased three baby chicks. Within minutes of bringing them home, it was clear that Isa was the most friendly and snuggly. She literally jumped out of the brooder and onto my foot, pictured here:


Isa warmed up to us quickly. We tried to gently handle all of our chickens - to help them feel safe and comfortable around us - but Isa was really the only one who seemed to enjoy our one-on-one time.

One of my favorite memories is returning home from work shifts late at night and spending the 2-3am hours on the couch watching 'Say Yes to the Dress' with Isa. 

When Isa was about 4 months old, she ate what she thought was food, but was actually gravel. (We had been using construction gravel as ground cover in the chicken run - a mistake we will NEVER make again as it looks EXACTLY like chicken feed). Isa fell ill quickly. It took us a few days to piece together what had happened, but as her belly distended and her energy diminished, we figured it out.


We read online about these "crop impactions" and what we could do at home to try to help her. I spent hours and hours syringe-feeding electrolyte solution and trying to jostle the sand and gravel in her belly so it would come loose and come out. But nothing was working. I took her to the vet and described the situation. An Xray confirmed that her ENTIRE BODY was filled with gravel and sand. None of this made sense to me - how did gravel get out of her stomach and into the cavity of her belly? We felt devastated and the vet was very honest with us - this is not survivable. She offered to put Isa to rest permanently. It was a Friday afternoon - Matt was out of town and it was all too much to take in. I said I wasn't ready, and I would take her home for the weekend, keep her in a cool, dark room, and if she hadn't passed on her own by Monday I'd bring her in for the vet to help her peacefully go. 

Isa spent the weekend in a crate in my bedroom, sleeping and breathing - that's about it. No food, no water, no poops, no noise. Monday morning came around, June 13, 2016. I awoke and found Isa still breathing. I called the vet and made an appointment for 12noon to have her euthanized. 

I packed her into a travel crate and set it on the kitchen counter. I didn't even bother closing the top of the crate because Isa literally had not moved in three days - I was hardly concerned that she would somehow escape. I stepped away for a moment to get my car keys. When I came back to the kitchen, I found Isa standing up, wide awake, head poking up out of the top of the crate, looking at my and clucking as though she were asking for a snack. She was WIDE AWAKE. BACK TO NORMAL. What the actual...?

In complete disbelief I continued with the plan to take her to the vet to be put down. I set the crate down onto the intake counter and checked in for my euthanasia appointment, and the receptionist looked as confused as I did when perky Isa popped her head out of the crate again, looking happy, lively, and definitely not in need of compassionate hastening of death. 


We started calling her "the miracle chicken"because we truly couldn't think of another explanation for what had happened. Four days prior, her Xray showed a belly full of rocks. On that crazy day, a repeat Xray showed NO evidence of gravel, sand, or any other unusual material. It had literally disappeared. I wouldn't believe it if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes. Isa's recovery was miraculous!

We brought Isa home and put her back into the yard with her sisters, and life went back to being lovely and normal. 

Isa's first egg!

Isa helping with my master's degree work!


Isa enjoying a cocktail on the patio

The following winter, our curious and excited little red hen decided to follow the humans into the garage. One tall human (NOT her mommy or daddy) shut the side door behind himself without looking and our dear Isa got caught in the doorframe. Immediately it was clear that this was a BAD injury. 

Luckily, our veterinarian is not just an avian specialist, but a true lover of chickens, and a very creative surgeon. She quickly outlined for us a surgical plan to get Isa's compound leg fracture straightened out, and advised us of the numerous and frequent visits we'd be having over the next few months.

In retrospect, I'm not sure why we so eagerly agreed to this expensive and drawn out plan. We were sad, scared, shocked, and the doc was SO confident that she could help us. Also, this was our Isa! THE miracle chicken. If there was ever a bird to invest time, money, effort, and energy, THIS was the one. I wonder sometimes if we would have been as aggressive with treatment if this situation had happened with one of our other chickens... we aren't "supposed" to have favorites, I know... but Isa was really special. 


We went ALL out taking care of Isa. We lovingly drove her to vet appointments, snuggled with her on the couch (since she obviously couldn't be outside with a cast on her leg!) and even designed and build an over-the-shoulder chicken carrier as well as a custom wheelchair! 


It was a tremendous effort - tons of time and money spent, and a lot of tears and frustration. I remember one of the worst nights toward the beginning of this entire broken-leg saga: Isa was in her crate in the guest room, which we had to keep very dark. The idea is to try to "trick" the body into thinking it is always nighttime, that way she (hopefully) wouldn't lay any eggs, and her body could use the calcium that would otherwise go into the egg shells instead to help her leg bones heal. Anyway, it was late at night, and I went into the room to give her pain meds, and she snapped at me. Literally, snapped her beak at my fingers. I cried. Not because it hurt my hand, but because I felt so heartbroken over her situation. She was grumpy and miserable. I was so sad but felt like there was no way out other than to keep pushing forward. 

The tears and pain and many Many MANY vet visits were absolutely worth it. Of course our amazing Isa recovered beautifully. We slowly re-introduced her to the outdoors, allowed her to stand on her asymmetric legs, and gradually got her incorporated back into the flock. Birds can be socially brutal, excluding and even harming any birds who they perceive as weak. Isa was so used to living alone in the house that she didn't seem bothered by the amount of time it took to get her sisters to accept her again. And again, of course, our miracle hen bounced back like nothing had ever happened. 


Luckily, the broken leg was the LAST of Isa's life drama. The next few years were filled with nothing but simple, happy, backyard chicken experiences. 

In the fall of 2020 we purchased the farm property in California. We decided that our short-term plan would be for me to stay in Chicago while Matt took the animals and got the rancho up and running. When the time was right, likely not for a year or more, I'd make my way out to California to join him and the farm family. 

I felt oddly and incredibly certain that Isa would make it out to the California farm but not live long enough for me to meet her out there. From the time that we started making our move plans to the very moment that Matt left Chicago with the animals in tow, I spent every possible moment that I could with my dear Isa. 


As move day grew closer, she seemed to age rapidly. She was still happy and eating and giving me her own version of smiles and hugs... but she was really slowing down and separating herself from the group. It hurt my heart every time I looked at her, but I just tried to cherish every last moment. 

Here she is, all packed up in her special travel seat, ready to hit the road for CA


Our amazing miracle chicken surprised NO ONE by making it all the way across the country with her feathered family members. Matt said she even ate some pieces of hot dog with the guys during the drive!


Isa left Chicago on Saturday January 9, 2021 and arrived in California on Monday January 11, 2021. She left us forever, peacefully and quietly, on January 20, 2021. 


We often share stories and memories of our darling Isa the Miracle Chicken. She continues to inspire us in all of the work that we do. 

  • Birthdate: February 22, 2016

  • Acquired date: March 12, 2016

  • Acquired from: Belmont Feed & Seed, Chicago, IL

  • Death date: January 20, 2021

Facts about Isa

Masha the duck


Full disclosure: I never wanted a duck. It was never in the plans. We had chickens, they were doing great, and I felt no need to add new species to the backyard flock. 

HOWEVER... our avian vet was an absolutely amazing and wonderful person, so when she called us asking if we could provide a home to a darling duck in need, we OF COURSE said yes.

Masha had been raised by hand by a lovely young woman who was moving out of the country and couldn't take the duck with her. I was skeptical that a duck would be a good fit for us, but she LITERALLY jumped into my arms for a hug when I met her at the vet office, so that pretty much sealed the deal. 

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Meeting our pretty new girl


Masha quickly made friends in the yard. Most commonly she was seen sitting/standing/napping/swimming with her "sister" Nejwa, and she often hung out with none other than Isa the miracle chicken.  


Masha was just so chill and friendly. She really didn't seem to mind being picked up, and often spent afternoons lounging in our laps.

There's not major "story" about Masha, really. She was just a great duck. She was pleasant and lovely, not to mention extremely beautiful and a GREAT reliable egg-layer. 

Masha was the first of MANY ducks that we rehomed/rescued. I was reluctant to open our flock to a new species but I am SO glad that we did - the ducks are now among my favorite animals!


  • Birthdate: September 2, 2016

  • Acquired date: April 1, 2017

  • Adopted from: Animal House of Chicago

  • Death date: February 15, 2019

Facts about  Masha

Momo's story


This part of the website is still UNDER CONSTRUCTION!


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  • Birthdate: February 22, 2016

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Facts about  Momo



This part of the website is still UNDER CONSTRUCTION!


  • Birthdate: February 22, 2016

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Facts about  Elijah




  • Birthdate: February 22, 2016

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Facts about  Beatrice

  • Birthdate: February 22, 2016

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Facts about  Rosemarie


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Her majesty Perpetua


This part of the website is still UNDER CONSTRUCTION!


  • Birthdate: February 22, 2016

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Facts about  Perpetua

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