Ah, the backyard farm. The image is becoming increasingly common as urban farming methods are popularized, turnkey chicken coops are marketed and many romance eggs pulled from nests while they're still warm.
The problem is, chickens don't raise eggs forever, and there is a lot more to farming than prancing out to your back yard in a pretty hat with an egg basket before breakfast. NBC ran an interesting story yesterday addressing the issue and publishing the greatest headline I've seen in some time: Backyard chickens dumped at shelters when hipsters can't cope, critics say.
The word hipster is used throughout the article to describe these farmers, but a quote from Rob Ludlow, who runs a website for chicken-raising enthusiasts sums up the problem quite nicely. "Hundreds of thousands of people are realizing the wonderful benefits of raising a small flock of backyard chickens, the pets that make you breakfast," he said.
Who said anything about pets?
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Chickens raised for food are farm animals, not companions. And dropping them off at an animal shelter when they're no longer productive highlights that these new urban farmers are missing the point completely. There's only one place a nonproductive hen belongs -- in a stew pot. Buck up hipster farmers. Working the land isn't always pretty.