Well here we are my friends, the conclusion of chicken week.  You decided to take the plunge and get some chickens.  You got your brooder all setup.  You have a better looking coop in the yard than I do.  You know how to feed them food that they will love, and that’s nutritious for them.  You either have chickens on your acreage in the country, or you have joined the growing urban and suburban revitalization of our communities.  You are either fortunate enough to live where its legal, you fought against the codes in your town, or you are keeping them hidden from the busy bodies in your area.  Good for you.  I am proud of you, and happy for you.

I have had so much fun spreading the chicken week message over the last 6 days, and the feedback from all of you on our Facebook community has been phenomenal.  Yet it made me so sad to here from some of you, with variations on “I would love to keep chickens, but my community won’t let me”.  How did we get to this point?  When did it become OK to have a perfectly manicured lawn that you hose down with toxins and petroleum, polluting the ground water, but not OK to have some fresh eggs?  A chicken isn’t any bigger or noisier than a small dog, but those are ok.  Dog waste is a toxic substance to be hauled away, chicken waste is fertilizer.  Shouldn’t every town in America encourage chicken ownership?

It wasn’t too long ago that they did.  I happen to be a huge fan of old propaganda posters and old ads (as if those aren’t the same thing).  These ones are pretty common, but if you haven’t seen them.  Check em out.

Keeping hens poster

This one was put out by the USDA in 1918, encouraging everyone in America to raise chickens to help feed the nation.  Yes, this was because a large portion of our food was being shipped over to Europe for the soldiers, but the government and the people still knew that the best way to feed its citizens was to have them raise food themselves.

As a side note, that’s like a 5 year old kid fixing a roof.  When the hell did we lose that?  Most adults I know can’t do a wood roof like that.

Goose Newyork 1928

This came across my Facebook feed yesterday from @Fortheloveofchickens.  If you don’t Like them already, you should.  This is a woman walking a goose in New York in 1928.  Now she might have been a 1928 hipster just trying to make a splash, but that harness looks bird specific, so I am guessing it was a thing.

wartime farm hen

Lastly, we have this World War 2 poster, also encouraging chicken owning.  Now this one is from the UK, but that’s because none of the Victory Garden posters I saw from the US had chickens on them.  Even conceding that maybe the USDA was no longer pushing chickens, they were still pushing gardening.

Then after that, nothing.  As near as I can tell, all young people in the 50s and 60s just said, screw it.  I have a car, I can go down to the store and get eggs rather than walking out to my backyard.  In just 60ish years, we have completely turned our back on our cultural legacy, and are just now rediscovering where the best food comes from.  Not from cellophane and Styrofoam.  Not from a chicken barn with no vents, but from a small coop in a backyard.  Kept by people that want to care for themselves, and for others.

I don’t have some grandiose point to make here.  This isn’t a rant on the food supply or a condemnation of our government.

This is me saying thank you for reading chicken week, and I admire what you are doing.  It takes great courage to be willing to not only step beyond cultural norms, but also to look at the cracks in the world, and fill them.  You are taking control of your own destiny, and making a difference in the world.  That is a trait to be admired.  You are looking at our last 60 years and saying, no, that was wrong.  This is better.

I am starting to feel that chickens are the gateway drug of homesteading.  It’s impossible to own one, and not want to get even more involved with the movement that’s out there.  Some of the friendliest and most helpful people I have met are chicken owners.  A chicken owner is almost always willing to help you out, and show hows its done.  I have gotten so much great feedback and advice, I can only hope that this week, I have been able to provide that advice for someone else.  Thank you for reading chicken week, and I hope you continue to read far into the future.

You are doing great things, and what you do matters.  Keep it up.