Hipster Farmers Are Abandoning Their Chickens, Flooding Animal Shelters

Categories: Wake Up Call

urban-chicken.jpg
Creative Commons
Urban chickens become animal shelter refugees when their owners get tired of taking care of them.
It's been a few years since many cities enacted laws allowing urban "farmers" to have chickens in their backyards. It seemed like a good enough idea at the time, but a mere two to three years later, animal shelters and chicken rescues say people are abandoning their chickens when they stop laying eggs or just don't want to care for them anymore.

"It's the stupid foodies," one critic told MSN News. "We're just sick to death of it . . . People don't know what they're doing."

See also:
- Processing Chickens in Arcadia with Caroline Van Slyke
- Virginia Homeowner Faces Criminal Charges for Keeping Chickens in Her Backyard

According to Chicken Run Rescue, a Minneapolis urban chicken rescue, more than 500 chickens were dropped off at animal shelters across the United States. Other chicken rescue groups say they also receive 400 to 500 chickens a year.

These critics say that many people don't realize how much work chickens can be. The birds live eight to 10 years, but some lay eggs for only two of those years. Many "urban farmers" aren't up to such a long-term commitment once the chickens become pets rather than egg producers.

Of course, home chicken advocates say there are more issues with improperly cared for cats and dogs than chickens.

It's hard to argue, though, that there aren't a lot of people who don't know what they're getting themselves into. Chicken Run Rescue owner Mary Britton Clouse told MSN she recieved this message last month:

"One of our hens grew up into a rooster and our neighbors are starting to complain. Do you know someone who might take him?"

"People don't know what they're doing," she said. "And you've got this whole culture of people who don't know what the hell they're doing teaching every other idiot out there."

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10 comments
Brad Wayne
Brad Wayne

Way to go New Times! 500 chickens dropped off at shelters in ALL OF AMERICA? Shit, this is a real fucking epidemic! Thank god New Times is here to save us!

Chris Farrar
Chris Farrar

Really? Either eat them or keep them as pets. How hard is that?

maebenever
maebenever

Maybe there should be a requirement that all suburbanites who want to raise chickens must first demonstrate their ability to kill and pluck a chicken!  All joking aside, perhaps those abandoned chickens could be processed and donated to food banks?

Marco Cruz
Marco Cruz

Yet another reason to hate trendy hipsters.

Brett Solesky
Brett Solesky

If you're pissed off that they're not producing eggs anymore and don't want to care for them then the next logical step is to eat them.

Chris Eacker
Chris Eacker

um, real tough problem. give it to somebody to eat.

Justin J. Stewart
Justin J. Stewart

I can't believe you guys picked up this flawed story...especially leaving out some of the important numbers...This is why I hate hipster bashing, and this is why I hate misleading articles. Here are the true stats, with the stats that the article gave and my quick analysis: If you look at the numbers back yard chickens grew from 50 to 200,000 users...that is a a 4000X of increase of possible backyard chickeners...if you look at the rise of abandoned chickens the number raised from 50 to about 500 that is about a 10x increase. The amount of dumped chickens is not keeping up with the increase of chickeners, it would actually decrease of per capita of chickens dumped... orinigal article: http://www.nbcnews.com/health/backyard-chickens-dumped-shelters-when-hipsters-cant-cope-critics-say-6C10533508

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