Backyard chickens are growing problem (thanks hipsters)

Shine On

They’ve gone and done it again. Those darn hipsters.

There's been a significant rise of surrendered or abandoned hens showing up at animal shelters across North America in the past few years and critics are blaming ‘hipster farmers’ according to NBC News.

It’s a nice thought: waking up in the morning, strolling to your backyard, and collecting freshly laid eggs from your hens.

Until perhaps you’re late for work, can’t feed them, can’t clean the coop, and can’t afford the cost of care and upkeep.

Also see: Orthodox Jewish school in New York City bans hipster thick-framed glasses

“It’s the stupid foodies,” Mary Britton Clouse, owner of Chicken Run Rescue in Minneapolis, Minn., tells NBC News, “You’ve got this whole culture of people who don’t know what the hell they’re doing teaching every other idiot out there.”

Sayara Thurston of the Humane Society International Canada tells The Globe and Mail that chickens are being dropped off weekly.

Britton Clouse and Thurston say that people are unaware of how much work it actually takes to take care of hens. The lifespan of a hen is 10 or more years – but it’s common that hens will only lay eggs for the first couple years.

But quite honestly, Toronto, a major haven for hipsters, hasn’t been reflecting the same trend.

“We haven’t seen chickens dropped off since about 2011,” says Barbara Steinhoff, the executive director of the Toronto Humane Society. That could be due in part to the bylaw that the city has in effect which bans backyard chickens.

She also adds that it's more of a problem in areas like Miami, Fla. where the climates are a lot warmer and feral chickens are a bigger problem than feral cats.

Also see: The only 5 tools you need to start a garden

And a note to people with the smart idea to just eat the fowls: Since some people surrender cats and dogs at shelters, should we eat them too?

“It’s easy to become attached to any animal,” Steinhoff tells Yahoo! Shine, “You don’t necessarily see an egg laying chicken the same way you would see chicken in the supermarket.”

But fear not, all you urban farmer hopefuls and locavores, here’s an alternative:

You can try farming – without animals – it’s also known as gardening.

Also see: A dozen of the deadliest garden plants

Here are some tips from Young Urban Farmers:

  1. Sun conditions – you know, plants need sunshine to grow. YUF say plants need at least six hours of sunlight a day.
  2. Space for your garden – it’ll determine how much you can grow.
  3. Budget – Think about the initial purchases you’ll need to make and the maintenance of your garden.
  4. Time – YUF write, “You can’t just plan your garden and forget about it.” Enough said.

What are your thoughts on backyard chickens? Have you ever owned any?