Local Scout raises money to help The Gentle Barn

The Gentle Barn founder Ellie Laks and boy scout Chandler Reeves formed a partnership to rehab and add features to a chicken coop at the Canyon Country animal sanctuary. Emily Alvarenga/The Signal

The chicken coop at The Gentle Barn is getting a makeover thanks to an SCV Boy Scout who decided to take on the task as his Eagle Scout Service Project.

Chandler Reeves loves animals “with a passion,” he said, and remembers visiting The Gentle Barn, a nonprofit animal sanctuary that rehabilitates abused animals, as a child.

“I began bringing him here when he was 6 or 7,” Amy Reeves, Chandler’s mother, said. “We would always come on weekends and let them play with the animals.”

When it came time to pick his Eagle Scout project, Chandler knew right away he wanted to come back and help the animals at the sanctuary.

In just two weeks, Reeves surpassed his goal of raising $2,000 on GoFundMe to make the project possible. He plans on donating The extra money to The Gentle Barn.

Reeves says he plans to build a bigger and better chicken ladder, six new nest boxes and, his favorite part, a brand-new chicken house.

Laks and Reeves discuss plans to renovate The Gentle Barn’s chicken coop. Austin Dave/The Signal

“The chicken house is going to be even bigger, the doorway will be much better and there will even be windows on its side,” Reeves explained. “It’s going to look really nice.”

With the help of his father, an electrical engineer, Reeves has drawn up his renovation plans and is set to begin construction this weekend.

“The chicken room definitely needs an upgrade,” Laks said. “It’s been too long.. We try and clean the best we can, but it’s really old, so Chandler has come to save the day.”

Laks says the project is “perfect timing” as they have just rescued five chickens from a slaughterhouse, and by the time they are ready to start the integration process with the other birds, they will be able to move into a “clean, new house to welcome them home.”

The Gentle Barn has been going above and beyond to rescue animals that “nobody else wants” for 20 years now according to Laks. Since she was 7 years old, she has been on a quest for better ways to care for animals, and doesn’t take “no” for an answer.

“This is an amazing organization with what they do for animals, and this is just my way of giving back,” Chandler said.

Ellie Laks, founder of The Gentle Barn, explains the chicken coop’s need for a renovation with boy scout Chandler Reeves. Austin Dave/The Signal

Ellie Laks, the founder of The Gentle Barn, said without the generosity of people like Chandler, The Gentle Barn wouldn’t be possible.

Laks believes that there is no one way to treat animals because there is not one type of animal or one type of injury. She has found a way to bring life back to these abused animals, who were typically destined for slaughter, by integrating many treatment options that no one before would’ve thought to use on animals, including things like super foods, acupuncture and chiropractic, which has allowed these farm animals to live years over their natural life expectancy.

Chandler is leaving his mark at the barn, and Laks says he’ll be always remembered and play a part in the chicken’s lives for years to come.

“This is everything I’ve been waiting for for my whole boy scout career,” he said, adding he plans to have many animals of his own when he gets older.

Laks hopes that she can further expand The Gentle Barn’s reach throughout the country and wants to help show the world the intelligence, affection and magic of farm animals.  

For more information about this local sanctuary, visit www.gentlebarn.org/. If you’d like the chance to see the new chicken room and meet some of the animals, The Gentle Barn is open to the public on Sunday’s.

UPDATE: Three months later, the chicken coop renovation is complete! Courtesy of Amy Reeves
UPDATE: Three months later, the chicken coop renovation is complete! Courtesy of Amy Reeves

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