I recently spoke with an editor about people having backyard chickens. I was trying to pitch a local story for a magazine.
“Chickens,” she asked me, “aren’t people over that?”
I wasn’t quite sure what to say to her, the person who was implying that my flock and those of others’ was nothing more than a trend, an impetuous whim.
In a recent article by written by Joe Kasier for JAVMA News, he writes:
“Backyard chickens are found in urban as well as suburban neighborhoods. Some owners sell the eggs directly for the public, whereas others keep tier chickens for a family egg supply – or have them foremost as pets.
“A Department of Agriculture study of urban chicken ownerships earlier this year examined four major U.S. cities – Denver, Miami, Los Angeles, and New York City – and found that at least 3 percent of households with more than 1 acre of property owned chickens. LA had the most, with 5.5 percent of such households owning chickens.”
That’s a lot of chicken owners (and they weren’t even talking about rural flock owners.) And while I’m sure that there are people out there who got chickens because it was a “cool thing to do” (and who are now dropping those chickens off at rescue centers because they don’t want to take care of a coop in the winter), there are many, many of us who have discovered that chickens are so much more than a trend.
Chickens are a way to connect our children directly with their food source, a way to communicate with animals, and insurance, that at the very least, *our* eggs and meat that we eat and feed our families are clean and under our control.
Oh sure, there are some who have tried their hand at backyard chicken simply due to the exciting news and wonderful stories coming from people who own flocks, that fact, can’t be denied.
But for those of us who have started backyard flocks and who plan to continue having chickens as an integral part of our lives, I’m here to say that we are hardly “over it.”