Hundreds of Unwanted Backyard Chickens Are Ending Up at Animal Shelters

An interesting article about the increase of backyard chickens being housed at animal shelters and rescue groups.  Its a good idea to have a plan in place and the community connections to help manage your flock for both the short term and long term aspects of raising chickens. Do you know what you will do with your chickens once they stop laying?

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

I'm not sure on a relative basis how big a problem this is; there isn't much data in the article.
I recently got 8 cockerals from somebody who didn't realize they had bought straight run chicks that would not all grow up to be hens.  I'll keep the best one for breeding and put the others in the freezer, so none are going to waste.   

I'd say, if you have hens, be prepared to deal with processing them if necessary.  Many backyard chicken owners either don't know how or can't bring themselves to consider this.  Someone in my family buried a rooster rather than processing it.  (I offered my freezer, but the whole situation was too traumatic for them to consider.)  It brings up the issue of where the line is between "pets" and "food source."
I'd encourage anyone who doesn't feel they could process an unwanted bird to at least have a backup plan with a friend or neighbor or local farmer who could.

If you read the article you can't slaughter(eat) the feathered friend. It's funny how the rules vary. Industrial chicken farming has nothing to do with pet care. But an individual is accountable to the chicken as a pet til he dies …11-14 years. Double standards. Go figure !

There is no question in my mind that CAFO treatment of hens falls under "extreme abuse."  But pledging to provide an individual hen with lifelong retirement care, well, that is the other extreme.I wonder where those hen shelters get their resources?  I also wonder if they have many adopters.
A friend with a similarly soft heart has a flock of geriatric sheep.  But at least they keep her grass mowed, which is something.  I suppose aging hens could be advertised as investments in small-scale manure manufacture…