The chickens are coming: a peck inside the growing urban movement

The chickens are coming: a peck inside the growing urban movement
No longer are chickens and their fresh-laid eggs fit only for farmers in the countryside. More and more city-folk are raising their own chickens in home-made backyard coops. These rebels are part of a growing movement of Americans taking chickens and eggs into their own hands. 

In 2002, urban chickens started to gain national attention with stories on ABC News online, and local venues like the Mobile Register. Since then the movement has grown. Texas journalist Spike Gillespie wrote a story about having chosen the chicken lifestyle not long after she turned 40. In 2005, a few San Diego chicken keepers started a Yahoo Group online that now has over 180 members. There has never been more encouragement and for the chicken-curious to give in to that rustic impulse.

So why keep chickens in the city? For a lot of reasons. The main one is the eggs, of course. The urban chicken article at the green-living website pathtofreedom.com talks about how useful chickens can be in the garden, weeding and eating nasty insects, but they also make great pets. Apparently, they love to be held and come when called if you raise them from chicks. If they only knew what we do with their less fortunate bretheren.

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intouchoz on Feb 11, 2008:

Eating commercial eggs and chickens is a no, no.

 Have you heard recently how egg and chicken producers don't give their hens and chickens growth, hormones, steroids, etc. Of course they don't, it comes already prepared in the food by Monsanto and the like.

 The latest thing in the commercial chicken world is to only used genetically produced (modified if you like) a super chicken that grows fast. Staff are employed to keep them awake...yes, awake forever so that they eat more and get to the slaughterhouse quicker. Make you feel good when you are eating your next chicken roast...I don't think so.

Besides the long term health issues here, one must consider that the old tried and produced hen is disappearing because they are not longer wanted. This creates a massive health issue as these genetically modified chickens are more susceptible to bird flu and other health issues.

The new urban movement as a result has added benefits to mankind in preserving a stronger gene pool and producing an organic product. Just think of all the trans fats, steroids, growth hormones and drugs you will be missing out on if you have your own chickens. 

mypetchicken on Feb 28, 2007:

You're right - keeping chickens in urban and suburban America is in many places still a "rebel" act! 100 years ago almost everyone had a small backyard flock, but today it has all sorts of undeserved negative associations. I recently started a company aimed at helping and empowering people in cities & suburbs to keep chickens. We can be found at www.mypetchicken.com. In addition to selling everything needed to get started (baby chicks in quantities of 3 or more, chicken coops, supplies etc.), we also a tool that helps newcomers select the best breed or breed for them (http://www.mypetchicken.com/breedquestions.aspx) and a free chicken care e-book (http://www.mypetchicken.com/ebook.aspx).
Chickens make wonderful pets; their fresh eggs are unbeatable; they eat garden pests and leave behind the perfect fertilizer -- what more could you ask for in a pet? Keep up the good work covering this important topic!

benmoore on Dec 07, 2006:

hilarious.  especially the last pic -- maybe Curbly will start catering (pun intended) to the DIY-food crowd!

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