“Backyard chickens dumped at shelters when hipsters can‘t cope, critics say.“
While this headline and the story that accompanies it may sound like an article out of the satirical newspaper “The Onion,” they are in fact from the NBC News site and writer JoNel Aleccia.
“Hundreds of chickens, sometimes dozens at a time, are being abandoned each year at the nation‘s shelters from California to New York as some hipster farmers discover that hens lay eggs for two years, but can live for a good decade longer, and that actually raising the birds can be noisy, messy, labor-intensive and expensive.“*
The story goes on to cite a Humane Society spokesperson and a number of no-kill rescue facilities, which have seen a huge increase in abandoned backyard chickens over the last five years. The two no-kill rescue facilities quoted saw nearly 1000 chickens dropped on their doorsteps in 2012 alone!
Mary Britton Clouse (owner of Chicken Run Rescue) saw her rescues rise from 20 in 2001 to almost 500 in 2012.
“She traces that rise to the so-called ‘locavore‘ movement, which spiked in popularity in 2008 as advocates urged people to eat more food grown and processed close to home.
‘It‘s the stupid foodies,‘ said Britton Clouse, 60, who admits she speaks frankly. ‘We‘re just sick to death of it.‘“
Naturally, to keep the piece balanced, Rob Ludlow, an author and backyard chicken enthusiast, is quoted in the middle of the piece about how wonderful it is to keep “pets that make you breakfast” and how abused and abandoned chickens are rare. He also says that many people love their chickens so much that instead of killing them after they stop laying, even though they had planned to, they end up keeping them as pets… Thankfully Aleccia doesn’t let the piece end there.
*Although Aleccia states that chickens only lay eggs for two years, there are differing opinions on this subject. Some chickens will continue to lay eggs until late in their lives, although the number of eggs can declines after their second molt.