Abbi sent me this link today and I liked it so much, I wanted to write about it. The title is “You Should Absolutely Not Get Backyard Chickens,” and while I first read that as an admonishment because I do kind of want backyard chickens, as I read the article, I found myself nodding in agreement because the author is correct, and most people absolutely should not get backyard chickens.
I live in a neighborhood in the middle of a city containing, strictly, about 635,000 people. The entire metro area is about 3 million people, and although most of them don’t serve my purpose because they’re too far away for me to look into their yards, we now have an understanding that there are a lot of people here. In a city. A city without farms inside of it. Although the pox-like spreading of condos in any available space concerns me, my neighborhood does still have its fair share of yards, and in some of those yards (in a city), people are raising chickens.
I love chickens. I can’t help it. I know they’re seen as some urban hippie Pinterest fad and I’ve read the articles about the Humane Society experiencing an influx of chickens because some dumbasses keep on buying dogs, cats, ducks for Easter and what the fuck ever else before understanding that these are living creatures that require money and care. I realize that chickens are not particularly cuddly or interactive, and that there are equals parts revulsion and awe being applied when I look at them and think “DINOSAUR DESCENDENTS.”
With that said, I do kind of want chickens. But not now. Maybe not ever, because as a person who does understand what it means to take care of living creatures, I know that first I will need a place in which I plan to live for years and years, and that place must have a decent yard as well as a landlord who doesn’t mind fowl on the property. I know that any animal in my care has the potential to live for years, and that I have to be prepared for that when I say “Yes, this thing is mine now.”
I know these things, but as the articles points out, a hell of a lot of other people don’t. A lot of other people aren’t ready for the time, expense, and sometimes dissatisfaction of owning an animal, especially one who needs to reach maturity before they can achieve their purpose of producing stuff instead of one that gets right down to business and just licks their crotch all over your couch for the next fifteen years.
While walking through my neighborhood – and I absolutely take certain routes for the sole reason that I will encounter chickens and some friendly cats, how do the rest of you get around, anyway? – I wonder about how many of my neighbors realize what a responsibility these chickens are, and who will end up keeping them. The cutesy pre-fab coop havers? Probably they won’t, and probably they are, like the friend of the article’s author, going to inquire about some hippy dippy dumb-dumb “no kill” facility for chickens someday and be scandalized when they learn that one doesn’t exist (because chickens are food, idiots). The crazy-ass homemade coops surrounded by jungle-like backyard gardens growing everything from corn to figs to fucking amaranth grains? Probably those people will keep their chickens. They understand what it’s like to nurture something and make it a part of your little ecosystem.
For people who don’t understand this, or who think that sounds awfully hard, do what the article says and don’t get any fucking chickens.