Jul 12, 2013 8:00 PM by Danielle Lerner
TUCSON- The Humane Society of Southern Arizona is feeling the impact of a national problem. A spike in the number of chickens surrendered to the shelter. In the past year it's received 42 birds and just five of those were considered strays. The shelter does not want to discourage people from owning hens or roosters, it just wants to make sure they know what it requires.
"I think half of it is people that weren't prepared to welcome a chicken or two into their life," said Sara Gromley, public relations coordinator. "There's a lot of things to consider."
Caring for hens and roosters takes time and a good chunk of change. Most of the cost comes from building and keeping a safe, secure coop.
"I've had coyotes jump my fence to try and get chickens," said Gromley, who also owns several chickens, "so you really have to make sure that it's safe."
Potential chicken owners also need to consider the cost of vet care and be ready for a long-term commitment. Hens can have a 10-year lifespan, even though their egg laying season peaks at 18 months.
Faulty online chick sales are also to blame. When suppliers don't know the gender, some buyers end up with roosters instead of hens. Male birds are illegal in city limits.
Right now the Humane Society is housing eight chickens, which is not always easy.
"When we get a whole lot of chickens we want to make sure that we properly care for them by separating them with fences and making sure the big ones don't pick on the little ones," Gromley said.
It costs $5 to adopt a chicken and all potential adopters must go through a strict screening process.
For more information about chicken ownership, click here.