Tuesday, July 9, 2013

HOMELESS HENS AND UNWANTED CHICKENS


I read this somewhat disturbing article about 'city folk' that want chickens only to end up dropping them off at shelters in their towns. The numbers have been rapidly increasing in urban cities as those who get hens, change their minds.

Chickens in the yard, image courtesy of davesgarden.com

Apparently, they raise them with visions of baskets full of fresh eggs every day, only to quickly realize that they require more work than they imagined.  Feed, water, letting them free range for a bit, keeping them safe from predators, warm in Winter, dealing with their occasional health problems, cleaning out the coop, and then as they age and stop laying, they still live for years.

Then they just throw in the towel and drop off their hens at nearby shelters.  It's definitely a side of a popular trend that is often unreported.  I know that in our neighborhood in town, there have been people who have just let chickens go in the street when they tired of them and of course, then the birds have to get picked up by animal control.


Basket of eggs, image courtesy of backyardchickens.com

We definitely want hens at the farm, I'm even planning the area they'll be in and prepping for it, but we also understand the work involved, and that it's a commitment you just don't undo when you get bored with it.  So we'll wait until the time is right and we have everything in place.

Now in all fairness, the article does mention that hundreds of thousands of people are raising chickens in their backyards and loving every moment of it so it's just a small fraction of chicken owners that are causing issues.

Still, it's a fascinating read that makes you think.


CLICK HERE to read the full article.


A great resource for information on raising chickens is backyardchickens.com

25 comments:

jaz@octoberfarm said...

i really want chickens but not yet. i almost did it a couple years ago but i pushed myself to think of trekking through high snow in the winter to tend to them and thought...nope, not yet.

Lorilee said...

I have had a backyard coop for about 5 years now. It is definitely a commitment. Predators are an issue even in town. My backyard backs up to a brushy pasture. It is home to a variety of wildlife--rats, rabbits, raccoons, possums, deer, bobcats and snakes. I have had raccoons, possums, snakes in the run. I have since covered it to keep out raccoons and possums. The bobcat caught a chicken that was free ranging in our yard WHILE we were outside! I still find a rat snake every so often.
Blessings,
Lorilee

Annie*s Granny said...

Our next door neighbors had three hens that they just let run loose in their yard, protected only by a 3' high chain link fence, not even a coop for them. It didn't take a month for all three to be killed by (probably) neighborhood cats. One carcass was left in our back yard, and I later found her eggs in my flower bed. Sad.

Linda said...

I wish I could find unwanted ! I am down to one hen who is stressed and depressed because she witnessed her companion being massacred.

Linda said...

unwanted hens

Velva said...

The urban chicken was all the rage until the homeowners realized what is involved in caring for them. People should educate themselves more before they take on the responsibility.

Great post. A good reminder too.

Velva

Tonya @ My Cozy Little Farmhouse said...

Linda-Check your local shelter, free ads on CL and in the paper.

Tonya @ My Cozy Little Farmhouse said...

Honey--it isn't just chickens! Any time there are cute little baby animals people think they want one. Never considering the time and expense needed to properly care and house them. I am involved in animal rescue and it breaks my heart a hundred times a day :-(

Tonya @ My Cozy Little Farmhouse said...

FM-I read the same article. It makes me sad and angry. Animals require a lifetime commitment. If a person isn't willing to do that they need to let people who are serious about the animals do so. ugh!

John Gray said...

30 of my flock are unwanted hens
So far this years have accepted not only hens, but several cockerels, 4 ducks, and perhaps even a bulldog

Sandy said...

1st Man,

I have a problem understanding people who get animals and then toss them out on the streets or drop them at a shelter after. Animals are like kids, your responsible for them!!!! They require shelter, food, water, medical, love and attention. If you can't provide this then don't have or get them.

GrafixMuse said...

Raising backyard chickens is very "trendy" right now. I researched for several years before taking the plunge and started my first flock this year. It does take some effort to keep them safe and healthy.

George Booth said...

I plan to raise chickens, and once they are passed their egg-rearing years, they'll decorate my freezer. Why would people just throw away what could be their Sunday dinner? Just makes no sense at all.

Bee Girl said...

We went into keeping chickens after having several very intentional conversations about how it all would work. We agreed form the very beginning that we were going to keep chickens for egg production for us and maybe a few family members or friends. We also agreed that if one of our chicks grew up to be a rooster, we would cull it. The same goes for mean or too old to lay chickens. It's not an easy task, but the point was to feed ourselves and learn some long lost skills. People who don't think their decisions through drive me a little batty.

1st Man said...

We want them in the worst way but we just know we aren't ready yet. Sure we could probably get a coop, throw some fencing around it and do it but it's just not how we want to do it. We want to (at least try) to do right when we start. :-)

1st Man said...

Thank you for the insight, I never thought about the snakes out there...I'll have to ask 2nd Family how they deal with that issue on their chickens. No bobcats but definitely raccoons and possums. Thanks for the heads up. See, we have much to learn!

1st Man said...

Aww, that's sad. :-( I hope they didn't get more.

As a side note, it's neat to see cats and hens getting along. 2nd Family has 3 or 4 cats and a couple of big dogs and they've all grown up together and the chickens just peck around in the yard while the cats and dogs just lay there sleeping.

1st Man said...

Oh yeah, and also if you have a feed store or maybe even tractor type supply place, they may have bulletin boards you could post a 'wanted' notice for. I'm sorry about your hen, she definitely needs a friend. I hope you find one for her!

1st Man said...

Me and both of you too...I HATE even hearing about people who just dispose of their pets like they are just a rug that doesn't match or a toy that's outlived it's 'cuteness'. Ugh. Some humans can be such animals at times...

1st Man said...

Amen, couldn't have said it better!

1st Man said...

WOW! I knew you took in unwanted animals but I had no idea how many. You are a good man John (and Chris too of course).

1st Man said...

YES!!!! Perfect comment. Those stories upset me no end. Animals treat each other better than some people treat them. Thank you!!

1st Man said...

Yay for you! Well done. We're still in the research and learning phase. It'll be a couple years most likely but heck, learning is fun too. I've been reading some sections in books on chickens, but I'd like to find a good definitive book on hen raising (we wouldn't do the meat thing just eggs). :-)

1st Man said...

LOL! That is certainly a good way of looking at it, ha!

1st Man said...

And you all have done a great job dong it. Any good 'chicken bible' book you could recommend?

2nd Family has culled a couple of roosters in their flock. I've never witnessed it but one of these days, I'm guessing I'll have to assist.

We're definitely thinking and planning. I leaned my lesson with this season's garden. :-)