Friday, January 20, 2012

Of Chickens and City Folk

I grew up collecting eggs every day from our chickens.  During the day, they were 'free range'.  In other words, the chickens roamed the yard keeping the bug population under control.  On occasion, we would have one of those chickens for dinner.  In all those years, I never once thought about the noise that chickens make or the smell involved.  There has been a big debate in the city over allowing homeowners the right to keep a few chickens in their yard.  It seems that some neighbors do not want the noise or smell.  Really?  First of all, hens lay eggs, not roosters.  Roosters crow, not hens.  So, having a few hens to lay eggs for your breakfast table won't really add to your subdivisions noise pollution.  What does add to it?  Car radios so loud that your windows vibrate when they pass blaring from the house next door...dogs barking constantly because they are confined to a small back yard...I could go on and on.  Yet, you don't hear so much about that when someone is debating your right to keep chickens.
I think the real problem is that people don't want to know where their food comes from these days.  What we buy in the grocery store is so far removed from being a live animal that it blurs the line between real food and fake food.  We don't go to the store and buy a package of cow or pig.  We buy beef and pork and that's the first step in moving away from the live animal that our food was before the slaughter house.  That package of chicken tenders used to be a live, breathing being, but a lot of people don't want to think about that or whether or not it was treated with respect during its life.  If you don't think about it as a cute, feathered fowl, then it makes it easier to think of it as food.  How in the world did we manage to eat the animals we raised a generation ago and still look ourselves in the mirror?  Easy, we were hungry.  Maybe the problem isn't the noise.  Maybe the problem is that your next door neighbor doesn't want to explain to little Johnny the chicken nuggets on his plate were once like the chicken walking around on two legs in your back yard.  Johnny might never want to eat chicken again.  Or, your neighbor could use the moment to teach little Johnny about the food chain and how it really works.


KathyM said...

I too remember when chickens roamed our land. The roosters crowed and they didn't hurt a thing. I hate car mufflers and radios that rattle the windows of my house when they go by. They are the real noise pollution.

I think you are on to something when you say that people don't want to be reminded of where their food really comes from.

Much has changed this past 50 years of my life and I don't think it's all for the better. (But they call it progress ya know?)

Sunflower Sue said...

I have to agree. I would rather hear chickens and roosters, than the racket of souped up cars and trucks going by at 5am at my home.

When I was a kid, my neighbor had a white duck that roamed the where ever it wanted to go. I don't recall anyone wanting to vote for an ordinance to get rid of it.