Down on Their Cluck: Abandoned Farm Animals Fill Humane Societies

The growth in urban farming is sprouting some negative side effects, such as the influx of barnyard animals to humane societies across the country.

| May/June 2012

  • Chicken Coop
    A handful of humane societies take unwanted poultry and goats, but even they are stretched thin.

  • Chicken Coop

Hens pecking near privacy fences and milk goats bleating greetings to overflying airplanes are the hip urbanite’s bucolic dream, but the city homesteading movement has a dark side, reports E Magazine (January/February 2012), as rescue centers become overrun with abandoned livestock. From a homeless goat wandering a Brooklyn park to a container of chicks left by a trash bin with a note reading “Please love us,” farm animals are being forsaken by clueless city dwellers in record numbers, and animal humane societies do not have the facilities to house them. A handful of humane societies—such as New York’s 23-acre Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary and Oregon’s 54-acre Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary—take unwanted poultry and goats, but even they are stretched thin. Minnesota’s Chicken Run Rescue has experienced a 780 percent increase in rescue requests.

Metropolitan homesteaders are encouraged to think hard before they leap into livestock husbandry, and to consider adopting a rescue animal from a local shelter. It also seems high time for someone to develop a city-to-country program to funnel cosmopolitan livestock to rural poultry farms and working goat barns for their golden years.

4/26/2012 4:08:59 PM

Mary Britton Clouse and her husband Bert do great work at Chicken Run Rescue. There's a new book about them coming out called "City Chickens" with a website at

Mary Payton
4/20/2012 9:14:07 PM

I'm a transplant from the country to a mid-sized city and I would like to know how to find out if I can have my chickens, legally, where I live.

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