Sacramento animal shelter overwhelmed as many try offloading adopted chickens

A rooster and ducks perch on a cage at a market in Jakarta, Indonesia, Monday, Oct. 16, 2006. A 67-year-old woman died overnight of bird flu, the second death in as many days, taking Indonesia's human toll from the disease to 54, Health Ministry and hospital officials said. (AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim) AP Photo/Achmad Ibrahim

GRASS VALLEY, CALIF.- The popularity of backyard chickens is becoming a real problem, and people are finding out that the work for those eggs isn't all it's cracked up to be, CBS Sacramento reports.

It's already a full house at the Sacramento, Calif., animal shelter Grass Valley's Animal Place, and frantic people are calling every day, desperate for help with a chicken they've adopted.

Animal Place Educational Director Marji Beach suddenly has more beaks in her care than she can handle.

"People are suddenly interested in having backyard chickens for egg production," she said.

A surge in new neighborhood ordinances allowing chicken coops in backwards is beginning to backfire.

Sacramento allowed backyard hen keeping inside city limits for the first time in 2011.

Beach says people often order them online and they arrive in the mail, but sometimes the chickens don't lay eggs.

"They end up most of the time with roosters," she said. Roosters aren't allowed in most city ordinances and it turns out hen's can be hard work.

"A lot of people don't realize the care chickens need. You can't just throw them into the backyard," said Beach.

Owners become overwhelmed with special dietary issues and illness, among other problems.

"People are at a complete loss for how to handle their unwanted chickens," said Beach.

So, they turn to illegal ways of getting rid of them.

"Some people just dump the chickens at parks or out loose in the neighborhood, and sometimes people kill them," said Beach.

At Animal Place the calls keep coming in with a lack of resources to help.

"We can't take in every single rooster or hen we get a call about," said Beach.

Animal Place says adopting a chick should be just like adopting a dog or cat.

Spend time researching and make sure it works for you so more chicks don't end up back at a shelter.

Currently, there are more than 1,000 chickens at Animal Place, and there's not enough space to take in anymore.

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