If I had $1 for every smug asshole who posted one of those articles about hipster “farmers” abandoning their chickens (this one or this one), I’d have enough money to finance a week-long heroin binge in a fancy Paris hotel room, which honestly would be pretty awesome right now because I am fried (and recovering from 24 hours without internet access at home, which, let me tell you, was a horrifying gaze into the innermost depths of human nature). I found it almost shocking to witness the glee with which people smugly disdain hipster foodie assholes and their chickens, which I guess I just don’t understand. It could be that I’m a defensive hipster foodie asshole. Although what does this even mean? You have tattoos and a nose ring and listen to Okkervil River while enjoying a breakfast of fresh eggs with organic cheese and chives grown in your garden that you harvested with your child who is named after an existential philosopher? If so, guilty as charged although full disclosure our chickens are still too young to produce eggs so for now all we do is enjoy their radiant personalities and I shit you not they do have radiant personalities and in all seriousness you know how they say aquariums are relaxing? Chickens are even more relaxing. They’re like novocaine for the soul, in a good way as opposed to a way that would make you drool and feel that you are unable to eat a sandwich.
Today, the other (pro-hipsters-with-chickens) side volleyed back with this article, which you should look at because the first picture absolutely slays me with cuteness, which says that what’s really happening is people accidentally get roosters, can’t have them because of local ordinances, and have to figure out what to do with them.
I was absolutely terrified of getting a rooster, because you get these tiny little baby birds, give them a home, care for them, get all attached, and then possibly end up with one (or more) you can’t keep because it’s not legal and it’s not exactly like you can hide the fact that you have a rooster the same way you can hide the fact that you have more animals than allowed by local ordinance (oops). Fortunately, we did not end up with a rooster. I credit this to (1) luck and (2) the fact that we got our chickens locally (well, in Fort Collins, which in Chicago would be considered a suburb) and they were 1-2 weeks old. (Many people order tiny baby newly hatched chickies on the internet. I do not object to this and I believe that no method of obtaining chickens is without problems, but was not really on board with it mainly due to the risk of death in transit.)
The good news is there’s a rooster sanctuary in Colorado, so if you do end up with a rooster, there’s a safe happy place you can take him (assuming, of course, that they have room, which is not a safe assumption). (I’m surprised to see there have been only 96 chicken permits issued in Denver so far this year. We’re one of them! I’m not always the most rule-followy person, but I thought it was really important to get a chicken permit what with this being a new thing for the city and all.)
What really bothers me about the anti-hipster-chicken brigade is that they’re saying we’re stupid. Like oh, look at all the hipsters dumping their chickens because they’re too much work and they didn’t know what they’re getting into.
I highly doubt anyone gets chickens without knowing what to expect. Here’s a thing that happens: Chickens lay eggs for 2 (maybe 3) years. They live for, on average, 7 or 8 years. That means there’s a lot of chicken years that don’t involve egg production. So when you get chickens, you have to figure out how you’re going to handle that. You can eat them (although allegedly at this point they’re really only good for stew or soup) (boo and do people still eat stew — it seems outdated like faxing) or give them to a raptor sanctuary (^_^) or leave the coop gate open so some type of animal such as a dog or a coyote can eat them (asshole) or you know just keep them because they’re chickens and they’re fucking awesome and they’re your pets just as much as your dogs and your cats are (clearly you can see which option we’ve chosen). This chicken retirement and rotation option is why Denver allows you to have as many as 8 chickens — so you can, for example, start with 3 and then add a couple every few years, so you have some retired ladies wearing purple hats and playing bridge and some new girls laying eggs and they’re a big happy chicken family because you designed and built a coop and predator-proof run that has plenty of room for all of them.
Chickens are awesome and haters are gonna hate but they’re not coming to my house for omelets and Bon Iver so whatever.