Remembering Nemo–former Chicken Run Rescue resident

Nemo one month after rescue, jubilant in the sun with Nicky and Pa Zsa Zsa

A guest blog by Chicken Run Rescue


We were delighted when CAA invited us to feature members of our sanctuary family for the Compassionate Action for Animals Weekly Update. The last Update featured our newest arrival, Chiquita. This time we introduce Nemo who came to Chicken Run Rescue (CRR) 17 years ago as our 100th of 1,209 individuals have who found their way to CRR to date.

His story illustrates the evolution in critical thought about who is food and who is friend through rescue, rehabilitation, sanctuary and education. Most remarkable is the legacy he left behind. Yes, a rooster with a legacy. And why not?

Nemo the rooster was blind, emaciated, dehydrated and frostbitten and left for dead in a closet at a local “nature center”. He was surrendered to us, rehabilitated and welcomed as a permanent CRR family member. He was a gentle doting uncle to the hens and his distinctive crow influenced numerous young roosters learning to crow while in foster care at CRR. The significance of a life lies in the eyes of the beholder: The nature center seemed blind to his needs and his suffering. The center’s Director dismissed his near-death condition with “a lot of the chickens have frostbite.”

Nemo the rooster was blind, emaciated, dehydrated and frostbitten and left for dead in a closet at a local “nature center”.    

CRR was called upon to rescue three birds, Priscilla, Sam-I-Am and Nemo from the center in 2004 and 2005, yet to this day, the center offers classes on raising chickens. CRR’s veterinarian reported “My general conclusion for this rooster’s condition is basic neglect of proper shelter and warmth and lack of easy or sufficient access to proper food and water.”

Things that Nemo revealed to those who knew and loved him:

  • Greet the day at the top of your lungs with tempo and heart.
  • You don’t have to see well to know where you belong.
  • Look after the little and weak ones.
  • Cozy boxes filled with hay are fer goin’ in.
  • Never give up hope.
  • Rejoice in the beautiful plumage nature gave you.
  • Protect the girls and ask nothing
  • Practice the pentatonic blues scale every day.
  • Always act like you’re in charge and know what you’re doing.
  • Find the good stuff and announce it even if everyone else is already
    eating it.
  • Teach the young guys how to crow with proper enunciation and clarity.
    (Juvenile roosters learned to crow while Nemo was with us and fashioned
    their signature sound after his-way to leave your mark, Old Boy!)
Nemo: Portrait / Self Portrait

Nemo’s mark on the world:

His portrait, “Nemo: Portrait / Self Portrait”, has been exhibited in museums in the UK, US, Poland, Switzerland and Austria, discussed at scholarly conferences like the 8th Austrian Animal Rights Congress in Vienna, the Institute of Biomedical Ethics and History of Medicine in Zurich and Oxford Centre of Ethics. He also appears in numerous academic publications including Chickens by Annie Potts and Artist/Animal by Steve Baker.

Internet search of the image of Nemo expands even 17 years later. (Note: Photograph was inadvertently taken with a digital camera in 2005, predating cell phone “selfies” by many years).


As long as animals are killed and eaten, they will define the violent and un-evolved nature of humanity. Nemo inspired a new vision.

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