Chicken matchmaker finds eggs-cellent homes for hens

Liz Perry didn't intend to become a "go-to foster mother" for unwanted birds – but according to Meg Jones's profile of Perry in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, that's exactly what's happened.

Perry, who owns two Nutzy Mutz & Crazy Catz stores, started getting requests for chicken feed shortly after opening her first outpost. Seeing a retail opportunity, she began stocking the feed, but didn't realize just how common chicken ownership was within city limits; at the time, Madison, WI ordinances permitted residents as many as four hens per backyard. Then, another coincidence: during a trip to a local dump, Perry saw a chicken "running around the landfill." She adopted the bird, called her "Consuela," and went on to star in the documentary "Mad City Chickens" with her flightless pet.

Perry soon joined a network of current and hopeful chicken owners, and before long, people who could no longer keep their birds were contacting her for help with placements – some ordered four chicks but got more; others wound up with unexpected roosters, which the city doesn't allow. She also tends to neglected birds like Finch, whom Perry nursed back from frostbite and found a home at the Raptor Education Center in Antigo, WI. Perry doesn't advertise the service, but people find her via the "Mad City Chickens" website, and even animal shelters have contacted Perry for help with surrendered chickens.

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Perry estimates that she's rehomed about 250 chickens in the last few years – including one group of 80, referred to her by an organic chicken farmer in Jefferson, WI who had to find homes for the "girls" before they wound up on the dinner table. Perry placed them all, and makes a good case for how she does it: chickens make good pets, she says; they're not frail; and they earn their keep with daily eggs. A local woman who adopted a pair of chickens, Jen Lynch, notes that her feathered pets were very tame, climbing into her family's laps and even learning commands.

Perry, who doesn't eat poultry or eggs, ranges all around the area retrieving foster chickens, and thoroughly evaluates prospective adopters to make sure the birds won't end up in the oven. For more on Perry's work, and some of the folks who've adopted their flocks from her, check out the original article – and if you have a foster chicken yourself, we'd love to hear from you in the comments.

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