Pandemic-Chicken Craze Comes Home to Roost

Pandemic-Chicken Craze Comes Home to Roost

© Sarah Halliday | Unsplash

Pandemic-Chicken Craze Comes Home to Roost

Pandemic-Chicken Craze Comes Home to Roost

© Sarah Halliday | Unsplash

A steady supply of food

More than a year ago, many people decided to adopt backyard chickens for a spot of animal companionship and a steady supply of freshly laid eggs. “So many people were buying chickens at the beginning of the pandemic—in particular, they were purchasing chicks in the mail,” explained Kelcie Leach, programme and outreach director at Animal Place in California. 

However, it is very difficult to identify the sex of young chicks and many turned out to be roosters. Roosters, with their tendency to crow loudly, are banned in many cities and of course, they can‘t lay eggs. “The number of requests we get to take in unwanted roosters has nearly doubled, with some people trying to rehome four or five roosters,” Ariana Huemer, director of Hen Harbor, a non-profit animal sanctuary said. 

Emotional support

The practice of renting chickens for up to six months also took off in the United States, Canada and the U.K. during the pandemic. Fresh eggs aside, the backyard birds became popular as a source of company and entertainment for children stuck at home. Renting at least gave people the chance to practice their poultry-rearing skills before making a permanent commitment.

Now, sadly, many owners have decided their feathered friends aren‘t forever and animal advocacy groups are calling for help. "Right now, currently, we're closed for intake," Julia Magnus, an animal rights attorney and Chicago Roo Crew volunteer, said. "Because we have too many [birds] and our vet bills are tremendous." 

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