Banny and Shorty have developed a unique relationship during their time with Wildlife Haven Waterloo.

“We’ve been working with animals our whole lives and I’ve never seen this either,” said wildlife rehabilitator Joy Huggins. “So far so good.”

Despite their size difference, Shorty the chicken and Banny the cockatiel have become close friends while living under the same roof.

Banny can often be found either sitting on the feathered back of Shorty or helping pick dirt out of her feathers and beak.

“She lets me do her feathers, but even then it’s just tolerated,” said Huggins. “This she seems to enjoy.”

The two birds got to know each other at the dinner table of Huggins’ house. Shorty would sit with Huggins as she worked while Banny joined her daughter. Eventually they started interacting more and more.

Huggins says it’s bizarre that Shorty tolerates Banny, considering she’s often aggressive with other animals. During her grooming, the chicken’s eyes will often close in a peaceful state.

Shorty first found her way to Wildlife Haven Waterloo nearly four years ago as a baby. The humane society told Huggins that she and her sibling had been abused.

“So I thought, ‘I’ll take her in and find someone who is vegan or won’t eat her and give her a happy life,’” she said. “She ended up winning my heart in a couple of days.”

Shorty and Banny are just a few of the domesticated animals at Wildlife Haven Waterloo. They’re kept separate from the wildlife being rehabilitated, as well as the domestic cats.

“I would never leave a bird unattended with a cat loose,” said Huggins. “They know not to come and harass them because it’s not tolerated.”

Cockatiels can live up to 20 years, but for chickens it’s more difficult to determine. The animals are usually sent to slaughter at a certain age, but Huggins was told Shorty could live up to eight years.

Needless to say, she hopes it will be longer.