In a strange case of today’s headlines being ripped from old Seinfeld episodes, it seems that the surprisingly popular trend of keeping chickens as pets in order to cultivate “home grown” food has grown… wait for it… fowl. Animal shelters across the United States are reporting increases in the number of chickens being dropped off or abandoned, and the culprits being blamed for this feathery influx are hipsters who once considered themselves urban farmers.
According to NBC News, these hipsters are beginning to realize that, at best, most hens will only produce eggs for two years, and after that they just serve as stinky, noisy, needy little roommates. And while some people find chickens to be fun pets even after they’ve stopped producing breakfast, way too many others are just releasing their hens and even roosters into the streets.
It’s the same scenario at the Chicken Run Rescue in Minneapolis, Minn., where owner Mary Britton Clouse has tracked a steady climb in surrendered birds from fewer than 50 in 2001 to nearly 500 in 2012.
She traces that rise to the so-called “locavore” movement, which spiked in popularity in 2008 as advocates urged people to eat more food grown and processed close to home.
“It’s the stupid foodies,” said Britton Clouse, 60, who admits she speaks frankly. “We’re just sick to death of it.”
People entranced by a “misplaced rural nostalgia” are buying chickens from the same hatcheries that supply the nation’s largest poultry producers and rearing them without proper space, food or veterinary care, she said.
Even worse, Clouse says that these people are so clueless in their chicken-purchasing habits that they don’t even know the gender of the cluckers when they originally get them. Only after they’ve grown into roosters do the hipsters know their mistakes.
Enthusiasts who start out with good intentions frequently wind up posting messages like this one delivered to Britton-Clouse 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,” Britton Clouse 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.”
It’s like they don’t even know how to properly determine a chicken’s gender…
(Hipster chicken banner via)