It's been a few years since many cities enacted laws allowing urban "farmers" to have chickens in their backyards. It seemed like a good enough idea at the time, but a mere two to three years later, animal shelters and chicken rescues say people are abandoning their chickens when they stop laying eggs or just don't want to care for them anymore.
"It's the stupid foodies," one critic told MSN News. "We're just sick to death of it . . . People don't know what they're doing."
According to Chicken Run Rescue, a Minneapolis urban chicken rescue, more than 500 chickens were dropped off at animal shelters across the United States. Other chicken rescue groups say they also receive 400 to 500 chickens a year.
These critics say that many people don't realize how much work chickens can be. The birds live eight to 10 years, but some lay eggs for only two of those years. Many "urban farmers" aren't up to such a long-term commitment once the chickens become pets rather than egg producers.
Of course, home chicken advocates say there are more issues with improperly cared for cats and dogs than chickens.
It's hard to argue, though, that there aren't a lot of people who don't know what they're getting themselves into. Chicken Run Rescue owner Mary Britton Clouse told MSN she recieved this message last month:
"One of our hens grew up into a rooster and our neighbors are starting to complain. Do you know someone who might take him?"
"People don't know what they're doing," she said. "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."