Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Be careful what you wish for

Locavores, hipsters and foodies are learning that raising backyard chickens isn't as fun as they thought it would be, and many chickens only lay eggs for a few years but stay alive for a decade. This is leading to flocks of chickens being abandoned at animal shelters.

It’s the same scenario at the Chicken Run Rescue in Minneapolis, Minn., where owner Mary Britton Clouse has tracked a steady climb in surrendered birds from fewer than 50 in 2001 to nearly 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.”  
 People entranced by a “misplaced rural nostalgia” are buying chickens from the same hatcheries that supply the nation's largest poultry producers and rearing them without proper space, food or veterinary care, she said.

Sorry kids, farming is hard work. Be careful what you wish for.


  1. I know I am probably missing something here, but, can't they (original hen owners) just butcher and eat the hens once they stop laying? The birds might not be as beefy as store bought, but they should still have meat on them, right?

  2. A couple of my chicken-owning friends talked about this the other day. One nearly swore off poultry for good after she tried to put her especially aggressive rooster in to a pot. The smell of chicken soup made her cry.

    The solution: chicken exchange. Nobody wants to eat a pet, but someone else's chicken is, well, dinner. Trading off prevents you from having to make soup out of your erstwhile friend.

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