Friday, June 12, 2009

Raising Chickens - Trend or Stupidity?

Here is an article I read on Reuters today -

Despite Jack Shafer's recent complaints, newspapers continue to report on the "trend" of people raising chickens in their back yards.

The latest: The Dubuque, Iowa, Telegraph-Herald, which has taken it even further than a trend—according to that newspaper (whose article was picked up by the Chicago Tribune), it's a "movement": "Whether they are owned as pets or food sources, chickens have become the animals du jour, the darlings of the growing 'backyard flock' movement," the paper reports.
Of course, there is nothing to support the idea that such a "movement" actually exists; the article is built on nothing but anecdotes. The only trend here is of newspaper reporters insisting that there is a trend.

It may well be true that more people are raising their own chickens. But these stories offer no real data to indicate that it is so.

The Telegraph Herald attributes the "trend" to "a recession and rising food costs or ... food safety and animal welfare concerns." But as Shafer, Slate's media critic, noted a couple of weeks ago when he recounted several similarly flimsy articles, "keeping chickens is a filthy, time-consuming, and expensive way to keep the pantry filled with eggs."If the recession or safety are the primary motivations for raising chickens, the chicken-raisers aren't very smart. A part-time job at Popeye's would be a far more effective way to offset the effects of the recession than would building and maintaining a backyard coop."

Seriously, this person doesn't know the first thing about raising chickens. It is painfully obvious this person enjoys the confines of a second-rate fast food restaurant, e-coli and endless teasing to raising chickens, working the land, producing food, controling pests and having a constant supply of humor and entertainment.

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