04 May 2010
Posted by Paul Anater at 6:45 AM
My urban chicken blog post is the gift that keeps on giving. It's been busily collecting comments in the weeks since it since appeared and last night a self-proclaimed eco-narcissist named Jerry tried to take me to task, point by point. Indeed.
Jerry, it's my blog and I can write about anything I bloody well please. But clearly, Jerry thinks I'm a heartless prick. Someday Jerry, we'll have a chat about hyperbole. In the meantime though, Jerry has a lot to say and I'm afraid that Jerry's important points would be missed if they remained buried at the end of a three-week-old blog post. He seems to need an audience so I'm going to give it to him.
Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to Jerry the eco-narcissist. His words appear intact, I have changed nothing.
Paul, I (obviously) count myself amongst those ideological eco-narcissists that advocate urban poultry, and I feel compelled to respond to your rant against birds that (unless you have forsaken eggs and chicken from the grocery store are now both passively and actively abusing. Passively by supporting the agri-business practices of commercial egg farms, and actively with your comments here.
First as has been pointed out roosters are not required for eggs, and no one I know of is advocating for roosters in an urban setting. Bringing up roosters is just silly, so let;s talk about HENS.
For starters I have a licensed flock of 5 hens from which we average 4 eggs per day. "Do we need eggs?" is now a joke when we pass them in the grocery store. And as to quality Mother Earth News (I know, eco-narcissists, right?) commissioned a study and found that pastured eggs like the ones from my back yard contain more Omega-3s and other good stuff, and less cholesterol and other bad stuff. And they do taste better. The ones from the grocery store? They taste like the grocery store. If you've ever grown a tomato and bought one in the store and tasted the difference you know what I am talking about.
Loud? Compared to a dog barking all night, I'll take some daytime clucking any day. Besides, they do sleep at night, and so do I.
Smelly? If hens, their coop or run smell bad it is from serious neglect. A modicum of effort (1 minute/day) can keep that under control. Again easier to clean up after than a dog. I NEVER have to walk around the neighborhood with a little bag of chicken poop!
KFC? You mean Kentucky Fried Cruelty? If you had any idea how THOSE chickens lived you would think twice about allowing that in your city.
Salmonella? Again you are confusing us with those nasty factory farms. The conditions of even the most casual coop are far too clean to allow salmonella or the more serious threat of e.Coli0157 to be an issue. Thank you for not mentioning bird flu. That would have been really silly!
As to you and your brother being attacked by chickens as children I will only say that if I were repeatedly outsmarted by a bunch of birds with brains the size of peas I would not be bragging about it. You had food. They wanted food. You couldn't figure that out?
As to your photo of the butchering table, I assume that is there for shock value. I am one of the few hen keepers who keeps them strictly as a source of protein. When they have lived their productive life and stop laying all of my girls will end up in the stew pot. Yes, that is a happy day. When we had Shaniqua and dumplings we celebrated the fact that she lived a good life, died a painless death, and provided for our family with her eggs, poop and her very flesh. Yes, I still eat chicken from the store too, but I won't eat battery birds because THAT is cruel.
As to my experience I've been keeping chickens in an urban, not suburban, setting for 5 years and my friends are all getting their own when and where they can. Yes there is a learning curve and mistakes were made. But I still think that keeping the farm out of the suburbs is the wrong direction. How about keeping the suburbs out of the farms?
And really, if you are going to single out chickens (which is a funny thing to do) tell me how they are better than dogs?
My chickens don't threaten dogs, but dogs can threaten my hens (if they get in the yard)
Hen poop becomes organic fertilizer for those aforementioned tomatoes. Dog poop gets left all over the place where I step in it, it pollutes our rivers, and smells like, umm, poo.
My hens never attack anyone smarter than they are. (Nothing personal meant by that :-) I can't say that about the pit bulls around here.
And there you have it, the eco-narcissist speaks. I don't know about you guys, but I'm hankering for a big 'ol bucket of KFC.