Hipsters and Old Chickens

By Mark T. Mitchell for FRONT PORCH REPUBLIC

Here’s a piece describing how some backyard chicken owners are sending their birds to the animal shelter.

Despite visions of quaint coops, happy birds and cheap eggs, the growing trend of raising backyard chickens in urban settings is backfiring, critics say, as disillusioned city dwellers dump unwanted fowl on animal shelters and sanctuaries.

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 assessment of an animal shelter worker:

“It’s the stupid foodies,” said Britton Clouse, 60, who admits she speaks frankly. “We’re just sick to death of it.”

The obvious answer is to slaughter the old hens and eat them. Same with the roosters (if your chicks weren’t sexed). It’s this bloody side of animal husbandry that many find repugnant. But to pretend that the meat we eat was never a living, breathing, bleeding creature is a falsehood that many seem eager to embrace. Perhaps its a good thing to be forced to recognize that when we eat meat or poultry we are eating something more than a steak or a drumstick.

Our 25 chickens weren’t sexed and we’ve got eleven roosters right now. In a month or so, ten will be in the freezer. We’ll see if the boys enjoy the process. I’m already fairly certain my wife will find something else to do….

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