Where do urban chickens go to retire?
Two Portland sanctuaries have become popular retirement spots for chickens past their egg-laying prime.
Wed, May 02, 2012 at 11:11 AM
Photo: David Gallagher/Flickr
According to the "Portlandia" TV show, the dreams of the 1990s are alive in Portland. Well, you know what else is thriving there? Homes for old chickens.
The New York Times has done a little scratching into Oregonian backyards and found a growing movement of urban chicken-keeping. The Times found that are now 525 Portland-area homeowners with permits to keep more than three chickens (the normal limit) in their backyard coops. Only about 20 houses had such permits in the year 2000.
But once these chickens reach a certain age and have laid their last eggs, they aren't always wanted. Some of these chickens end up in the kitchen, but many owners seek a comfortable place where their birds can "live out their sunset years."
Quite a few of these aged Andalusians find their final home with farmer Pete Porath, who tells the Times he helps "rehome" 1,000 to 2,000 chickens and other birds every year. Many of these birds came from backyard coops in Portland. Their owners come to Porath's establishment "because they have a fantasy of a farm," he said.
Another popular destination is Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary, which is also home to pigs, sheep, horses, turkeys and other birds. The sanctuary has weekly work parties, offers an adoption center, and advocates for ending horse slaughters. Over the past few months it has held events like a vegan New Year's Eve party and a Thanksgiving open house where kids could feed real, live turkeys.
Also on MNN: 8 awesome urban chicken coops