Backyard Chickens Are Not The Answer

Unknown“To go back in time sounds wonderful, but there is not enough land on this earth to sustain the amount of meat, dairy and milk that people want.”          

-Susie Coston, national shelter director at the Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, New York

The growing trend of raising backyard chickens for eggs in urban settings is not all it’s cracked up to be. Although the intentions of those who wish to raise their own small flock are often good, it was reported in a recent NBC news article that hundreds of chickens, sometimes dozens at a time, are being abandoned each year at the nation’s shelters and sanctuaries from California to New York. They are even put on Craigslist when they don’t lay any more.

Apparently, many urban farmers are unable to care for their hens when they stop laying eggs. Hens lay eggs for two years, and can live for a good decade longer after that. Raising the birds can be noisy, messy, labor-intensive and expensive. “You get some chicks and they’re very cute, but it’s not as though you can throw them out in the yard and not care for them,” said Paul Shapiro, spokesman for the Humane Society of the United States.

Although people think that having backyard chickens is a better choice for obtaining their eggs, the fact remains that these backyard chickens are being purchased from the same hatcheries that supply the nation’s largest poultry producers. They are being reared without proper space, food or veterinary care.

The most commonly available hens have been bred to be good egg layers. However, backyard farmers often use enhanced feed, light or other tools to prompt hens to lay constantly. After keeping up that pace for 18 months to two years, hens often develop reproductive problems that can kill them.

So as you can see, having backyard chickens to supply you with eggs for your morning breakfast may not be the answer. This issue was hotly debated a few months ago when Ellen Degeneres discussed eating eggs from “happy” backyard chickens on her show with guest Ellen Pompeo.

Click here to see my post about Ellen Degeneres discussing backyard chickens with Ellen Pompeo.

Click here for my scrambled tofu recipe.

Click here for Laura Theodore’s recipe for Rocky Mountain Toast.








  1. Are there any commercial eggs from chickens that are raised humanely? I miss eggs.

    • The truth is that I have no idea. If you miss eggs, I can only suggest seeking out some videos to watch concerning the cruelty involved in raising chickens for eggs. There are many, and they will break your heart. It may take away your egg cravings. Just a suggestion.

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