Posted in: Animal News

Chickens Increasingly Abandoned At Animal Shelters By Hipster Farmers

Urban Farmers

The number of chickens abandoned at animal shelters by urban farmers is growing at an alarming rate.

Although some folks were initially thrilled with the idea of raising their own chickens, a large number of people quickly became disillusioned. The amount of upkeep required to keep the animals healthy and happy was apparently too much for them to handle.

As a result, a large number of backyard chickens are abandoned at animal shelters by urban farmers who don’t want to keep up with their end of the bargain. Instead of learning to care for the animals, many fair-weather owners have decided to kick the chickens to the curb.

Humane Society spokesman Paul Shapiro told NBC News that hundreds of chickens are dropped off at shelters every year. Sometimes people will drop off around a dozen at a time. Unfortunately, this number is only getting bigger as more hipster farmers decide to abandoned their plans.

“Many areas with legalized hen-keeping are experiencing more and more of these birds coming in when they’re no longer wanted. You get some chicks and they’re very cute, but it’s not as though you can throw them out in the yard and not care for them,” Shapiro explained.

According to Cinema Blend, the number of chickens abandoned at animal shelters has grown to record numbers. Chicken Run Rescue in Minneapolis explained that only 50 chickens were dropped off in 2001. By the time 2012 rolled around, over 500 chickens were being abandoned every year.

Chicken Run Rescue owner Mary Britton Clouse said it comes down to people not wanting to invest the time or the energy required to raise the chickens. When urban farmers realize the amount of work needed to keep them healthy, they often take the animals to the nearest shelter.

“People don’t know what they’re doing. 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,” she explained.

MSN reported last month that Seattle resident Tiffany Young transformed her yard into a makeshift sanctuary for chickens and ducks dumped by urban farmers. Young said most people decide to get rid of these animals within five weeks of buying them.

What do you think about the growing number of chickens being abandoned at animal shelters by hipster farmers? Are these individuals giving other backyard chicken owners a bad name?

[Image via Wikimedia Commons]

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Comments

54 Responses to “Chickens Increasingly Abandoned At Animal Shelters By Hipster Farmers”

  1. Erin Urbanus

    Idiots… Chickens aren't even that hard to care for. You give them shelter, you feed them, give them clean water, collect their eggs, and make sure they are locked up at night. Maybe give them a diatomaceous earth dusting spot to keep away mites and lice. They eat pests, give you natural fertilizer, eggs, even meat if you feel like killing and cleaning a chicken. More than once I've used chickens to dispose of black widows as well, once they catch sight of that big juicy spider its gone down the hatch in 2 seconds. If you raise them right and pick the right breed they can even make good lap pets.

  2. Cynthia Carter

    All I can think is, most people grow up in the 'burbs and city these days, and so they are so removed from actual animals and their actual needs, that they don't comprehend how much effort is required to keep them (grow up on a farm of any size and you'll already know). Chickens aren't the hardest thing to take care of, but you don't get days off from them any more than you get days off from little kids. If your desired lifestyle doesn't lend itself to being present EVERY day, a few times a day, treating boo-boos and sickness when it pops up, and dealing with the social quirks of your critters, you have NO business getting chickens–or ducks, or rabbits, or pigs, or goats, or probably even a dog!

  3. Lana Neufeld

    I'd love to take them all I have a few relatives who have farms…. free eggs :D

  4. Rebecca Wheeler

    Why don't they just eat the chickens >:E Even older chickens are good for stewing.

  5. Quincy Markowitz

    Though I get pissed off at anyone who takes an animal and leaves it at any point at a shelter- it seems like the reason more chickens are abandoned is because more people are keeping chickens. It seems that the two would correlate no matter what and I still think it's a good sign that people are keeping birds in a more humane fashion than how they usually get their eggs and chicken meat.

  6. Jenny Smacker Macke

    Thanks Quincy for the bright side of this article! Yay for humane chicken keeping! And when you don't want to deal with the keeping, EAT IT.

  7. Jenny Smacker Macke

    (Unless you love it too much, in which case you should put on your big boy pants (skinny jeans?), keep it, not eat it, and not give it up.)

  8. Jessica Zarin Ross

    When people decide to have backyard chickens, the question that they should ask themselves, or rather the question the people who are selling the chickens should ask them is; when the time comes that you no longer want or are unable to take care of the chicken, are you able to kill it? For anyone who has lived on some kind of farm, knows that at one point or another, you are going to have to kill the animal, either for food, or old age or sickness. Because that is part of being a responsible caregiver of chickens. If you can not bring yourself to do that, then you should not own a chicken.

  9. Stephanie Turner

    I imagine that many people who have cared for an animal would have a hard time killing it. Bringing it to a shelter when they are no longer willing or able to care for it makes a lot of sense to me.

  10. Dottie Clouse Clark

    .I been wondering what happens to animals when a farm goes bankrupt? This goes for all the animals even chickens! I know I divorced my ex back in 02 and he got most of the animals, he had taken the chickens to a place that slays the chickens for those who don't want to do it themselves lol.

  11. Jeff Grimmace Spangler

    I think that the main problem lately is all these books that profess that you can have chickens on '10 minutes of work a day.' My set up is pretty simple, and if I am moving fast and taking care of the bare minimum, it takes about half an hour just for the morning work. If you are trying to do that while getting ready for a regular job, I can see where the time commitment might make someone change their mind.

    My confusion is, when I overbreed and have to unload chickens, I hit the internet classifieds. Normally, everyone gets $20 per laying hen. I put them up for $10 and my ad usually isn't up longer than a day or two. I cannot imagine why you would go and give them to some animal control group, or why the animal control groups would be complaining…. "Who keeps leaving this stack of twenty dollar bills here for me to clean up?"

  12. Jeff Grimmace Spangler

    I think that the main problem lately is all these books that profess that you can have chickens on '10 minutes of work a day.' My set up is pretty simple, and if I am moving fast and taking care of the bare minimum, it takes about half an hour just for the morning work. If you are trying to do that while getting ready for a regular job, I can see where the time commitment might make someone change their mind.

    My confusion is, when I overbreed and have to unload chickens, I hit the internet classifieds. Normally, everyone gets $20 per laying hen. I put them up for $10 and my ad usually isn't up longer than a day or two. I cannot imagine why you would go and give them to some animal control group, or why the animal control groups would be complaining…. "Who keeps leaving this stack of twenty dollar bills here for me to clean up?"

  13. Jefferson Coulter

    Hipster Farmers? Did the reporter determine whether that was the primary source of drop off chickens? Someone may want to go back to journalism school…

  14. Catherine Caruso

    I'm sorry – sheltering 500 chickens is beyond absurd. Someone just needs to explain to these chicken owners that they have two choices, eat the chickens, or donate them to someone who will eat them for you. Options include Craigslist and their local zoo. And agreed – not sure why a chicken would be different than any other household pet. They're about as much "work" as a hamster.

  15. Michael Paul

    Hipster Farmers? YOU ARE AN ASS HOLE! Farmers don't do this, discobitches do! Actually the spawn of the "urban poultry" movement.

  16. Calin Riffle

    terrible …just terrible! (in Indian accent)

  17. Brian Breithaupt

    Not even fair to call those people farmers.

  18. Mike Christianson

    It's good to see a different opinion than the constant overly positive spin on things. Realism needs to be injected.

  19. Mike Christianson

    It's good to see a different opinion than the constant overly positive spin on things. Realism needs to be injected.

  20. Lisa Kongsvik Keith

    I may be missing something here, but my take on the backyard chicken keepeers and their motives for undertaking this little farming adventure is quite different from those talking about eating the old ones, and those talking about eating them at all. Many backyard chicken keepers are motivated mainly by the desire to raise the chickens and collect fresh eggs for their own use. There are some who take it a bit further and sell their extra eggs in a neighborhood business. Others keep the chickens along with guinea hens as pest control. Others are breeders and sell their birds. Finally some keep chickens as pets. I am sure there are a few hobby farmersthat plan to slaughter the chickens and eeat them but I think it is a small group. SO when you mention things like killing and eating the chickens when the are old, I picture a different scenario, one that more closely resembers the way we test our companion animals. When they get sick, take them to the vet. When they are old, let them live out their retirement in peace. And when they are terminally ill, put them to sleep humanely and either bury in the backyard or have creamated.

  21. Angie Canavan

    Well the article says that most people who do this get rid of their chickens within five weeks so they're not laying hens by that point (assuming these people bought them as chicks and the hens are around 7 or 8 weeks at that point), as far as the chicken dumpers not selling them on CL, I mean. As for the animal control groups, they probably DO adopt for a fee (i.e. sell) the chickens, in the same way they sell cats and dogs.

  22. Angie Canavan

    You know, I read an article yesterday about CNN using the term "paranoid" ten times in one article to describe anyone who might be stocking up/prepping, etc. They also used a handful of other words (to include 'idiot' – the rest escape me at the moment)… the theory of the article about the CNN article being that its mass media trying to debunk any value in prepping, etc. So saying "hipster farmers" *could* be an attempt at discouraging urban chicken raising in general (through mocking).

  23. Angie Canavan

    Well the article pointed out that the chickens are dropped off after only 5 weeks of having them at home, so these don't sound like old chickens, they sound like pullets.

  24. Anonymous

    Yes, but… they poop all over the place and I have to actually clean it up! Then, they make noises! And, they peck at you when you try to take them for a walk!

    This is yet another sign of stupidity gone wild. I agree, calling them 'farmers' is an insult to the real profession of farming. These people are just stupid children who heard it was 'cool' to be more 'green' and ran out so they could be like the Joneses, and gave no thought to the actual work involved, or the impact of having these animals around. Pathetic really…

  25. Chris Negretti

    Why is this a problem? Oh right… hipster like urban kids are fucking stupid and pussies. Too many chickens? Slaughter them (the right way) feather and butcher them. Put the meat in your freezer. Can be easily done in an afternoon. My dad has a small coop/setup with about 6 hens, no rooster. Just harvest the eggs and feed em. Not really very hard, but some people consider working for more then 30 minutes "hard work". Fucking morons, god I hate "hipsters".

  26. Brandon Schlichter

    I've only done it once, but the whole butchering process took maybe 20 minutes from start to finish? The result was overly delicious meat. Who wouldn't want delicious meat? Obviously these hipsters have mental defects.

  27. Jason Harrison

    Hipster is a term used by other hipsters to make themselves feel better. Do the world a favor and quit trying to write articles.

  28. Colin Breiwick

    i don't even know what a hipster is anymore but everyone in Seattle still dresses like they're artisanal butchers

  29. Jake Stratton

    Some people can't take care of their toys, therefore, nobody gets any toys! Way to be progressive, people! Fuck you, marvel at my chickens!

  30. Lee Cizek

    I dunno man, it seems like squares are using it a lot more these days just to mean "young people I don't understand" or "white people living in cities". Whatever the reason, fuck people who decide to get an animal without thinking on the commitment.

  31. Nicholas Jarvelin

    What's the big deal? Feed the homeless with them.

  32. Justin Indigo

    There's no proof that it is hipsters doing this.

  33. Misanthropic Zak

    the chickens all had fixed-gear bicycles, were wearing buddy holly glasses, and reeked of pabst…so yes it was determined that they came from hipster farmers.

  34. Kam Khazai

    Cut these farmers some slack. Everyone knows its really hard to tend to chickens wearing skinny jeans. It's hard to wake up early to farm when your hungover after a late of drinking PBR at a former Jazz Club watching "Live Blog Poetry".

  35. Audrey Muzingo

    Substitute the word 'dog' for 'chicken' and see how heinous you sound. I'm sure some people do kill their unwanted chickens, but for others the idea is a nightmare and that's why they give them to the same place they would an unwanted dog.

  36. Callie Jaye Radnovich

    Huh. In seven years of chicken keeping, none of my family has ever needed to kill one.

  37. Callie Jaye Radnovich

    You keep using that word…..
    I do not think it means what you think it means.

  38. Jena Seiler

    I have put my dog down when the time came and I don't consider it heinous. I have also been in a family that has raised chickens for over 30 years and we have needed to kill them before; food or animal attacks.

  39. Keith Amberg

    Yes, I'm sure that there are a ton of unwanted chickens dropped off by farmers that make a living from breeding chickens. Sorry, if you bring a chicken to a shelter for any reason you are NOT a farmer. Maybe you're not a hipster, but you are definitely not a farmer. Good article, kudos to the journalist.