Backyard poultry is every paper’s favorite bogus trend

Tossing some rotten eggs: Media critic Jack Shafer calls bullshit on the nation’s press for its recent rash of articles insisting that more and more urban Americans are choosing to keep chickens to harvest the eggs. “It’s a trend, the press claims.…[one] for which there are no numbers,” Shafer says. We think it’s nothing to flap your fathers over. (Slate Magazine)

7 Responsesto “Backyard poultry is every paper’s favorite bogus trend”

  1. Ed Bruske says:

    Jack is just the resident curmudgeon. He wouldn’t know the working end of a hen from his New York Times subscription. If there’s a popular story circuating, he’ll find a reason to hate it. He probably missed his morning omelet and arrived at the office hungry and in a bad mood.

  2. Ed Bruske says:

    Poor, Jack. He’s just the resident curmudgeon. He wouldn’t know the working end of a hen from his Columbia Journalism Review subscription. Jack never saw a popular story in the press he couldn’t hate. He probably missed his morning omelet and arrived at the office hungry and grumpy.

  3. Eric Reuter says:

    I can’t comment nationally, but here in mid-Missouri the Columbia (pop. 100,000) health department is currently taking resident feedback on potential changes to current bans on backyard poultry. No idea how it will pan out, but it’s very definitely on the table.

  4. Lora says:

    I live smack in the middle of one of the most urban neighborhoods in L.A. I have chickens and I know of at least 10 other households within walking distance that have chickens. I just met yet another neighbor with chickens the other day when I strolled past her house and commented on her collard greens. I think if people in a city known as a land of plastic surgery and endless freeways are embracing chickens then it is a sign of something bigger.

  5. This is an example of why the USDA is so off the mark with NAIS ( for those who missed it). The USDA claims there are only 1.4 million premises. They also say that any location with any livestock animals, even a single chicken, is a premise. I would put the number of premises at more like 6 to maybe even 10 million. They will never succeed at getting 100% compliance with a mandatory NAIS. Thus they must design the system to work with partial compliance. Ergo mandatory is not necessary. NAIS is for the benefit of the big producers, primarily for those who want to export. If they want such a system, let them create a private funded voluntary tracking program. That is Constitutional and good basic capitalism.

  6. Rob Northrup says:

    All Things Considered on NPR just did a story on May 21, “Backyard Coops Make Chicks Chic.” 
    “The backyard chicken movement is catching on….”  To support the claim, they said that “chickens are so popular, there’s a shortage. According to some hatcheries and feed stores, orders for chicks take four to six weeks.” I suppose there are other factors that could account for shortages.

  7. Annie Kay says:

    Hi guys – Love your work.  I am a dietitian and writer, and reported on your/Slates story on my blog (link above) and got an outpouring of response from urban chicken owners. So, while when I first read your piece I though ah-hah! I thought that might be a myth, there’s is definitely something scratchin’ around. Maybe it’s a matter of degrees (and urban chicken farmers, from my comments, are tres discreet).
    Annie K