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Creature Feature: Coming Home to Roost

The practices of big agribusiness—and some irresponsible locals—may bring chickens into your shelter

The practices of big agribusiness—and some irresponsible locals—may bring chickens into your shelter

The trend away from factory-farmed eggs is a good one, as long as locavores who decide to raise chickens meet their physical and social needs.
MIKE WARREN/FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS
Going against well-known advice, Mary Britton Clouse started counting her chickens before they hatched.

“We saw the chicken boom coming,” she says ruefully.

A few years back, a local community education center added courses on urban agriculture, and one of them focused on raising chickens in order to get their eggs.

“Half the curriculum was egg recipes,” Clouse says.

She’s not sure what the rest of the curriculum covered. If it was how to care for the birds, she thinks most of the class should have received Fs. “You wouldn’t believe the conditions that people who’ve taken this class are keeping their birds in,” she says.

Clouse and her husband head up Chicken Run Rescue, a group in Minneapolis that takes in and places neglected, abused, and abandoned poultry. Many of the birds come to them via Minneapolis Animal Control (MAC), whose officers pick up stray chickens in many areas of the city, says MAC animal control officer Nancy Johnson.

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