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Birds flee from bear in Crested Butte and find a home in Longmont

Four chickens and a goose now have a home at Good Life Refuge

On a small farm near Crested Butte, Colorado, lived a small flock of chickens and three geese. After a bear attacked the flock, killing most, owner Whitney Meredith struggled to find the remaining three chickens and one goose a safer home. After a long search, the birds have now found their place at Longmont’s Good Life Refuge.

Good Life Refuge was founded in 2018. It is a sanctuary for abused, neglected and at-risk farm animals where now more than 60 animals including 11 new rescued species live.

Meredith owns Positively Native pet shoppe in Crested Butte and loves animals. When a friend of hers was moving away and no longer able to care for their chickens, Meredith immediately adopted the flock. 

Meredith lives on a small farm outside town where foxes and coyotes are a problem. The animals prey on chickens, she said. In her research, she discovered that geese can act as a guard against these predators and she adopted four. 

With a six-foot-tall dog fence around her yard, Meredith never expected to worry about bears on her property. The bear had crawled under her fence, broken into her chicken coup and attacked and eaten several of her birds. This happened a few times before Meredith contacted Colorado Parks and Wildlife to see how to deter the bear.

Meredith listened to several options laid out by wildlife officials, including putting the bear down, but couldn’t bring herself to let that happen, she said. She decided the best option would be to find a safer home for the remaining four chickens and goose. 

Searching for several hours, Meredith said she was surprised to learn that all of the animal sanctuaries in Colorado were full and that no one would be able to take her beloved birds. Trying one more time, she stumbled onto Good Life Refuge. 

Good Life Refuge too was full with a recent influx of new rescues. However, Meredith’s love for her animals shone through and a place was made available.

“It was clear this homeowner cared a lot about her pets who were directly in harm’s way and just wanted them to be safe. We could not standby knowing that they might not make it another night if we did not step in and help,” President and Founder of the Good Life Refuge, Nicole Breeht said. 

Meredith drove five hours, arriving in Longmont after dark.

Faith the goose, Toffee, Boots, Snowflake and Hawk — the four chickens — are now safe within the quarantine area at Good Life Refuge. The birds are being kept together for now but will soon be integrated into the existing flock at the sanctuary.

After meeting and talking with Breeht, Meredith feels the birds may actually be better off than at her home due to the resources, care, attention and love Breeht provides for all the animals at Good Life, Meredith said.

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