Reports of higher numbers of chickens in animal shelters have followed on the tails of the rising popularity of backyard henhouses and urban coops, but it's not because the animals are too much work for their owners.
NPR's Michaeleen Doucleff reports that roosters--but not hens--are winding up in shelters because many cities don't permit the noisy males:
"When urban farmers order hens online, as is popular, suppliers can't tell 100 percent if they're sending a lady or a gentleman.
And that means many city dwellers end up getting roosters, when they really wanted hens. Once the poor fellows start crowing, their fate is sealed: It's either the frying pan or the local humane society."
It's an unintended consequence of hen-only zoning laws. If roosters aren't permitted in your area, one animal shelter worker recommends adopting an adult chicken, rather than chicks, to avoid getting a male. Also be sure to check the zoning ordinances in your area. The site BackyardChickens.com has a pretty extensive list of chicken laws organized by state.