Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Return of the Backyard Chicken

by Scott Hall

"When times are tough, people want chickens." - Bud Wood, President of McMurray Hatchery, an Iowa company that is the largest rare-breed poultry hatchery in the world.

On the local food beat, Maggie Montgomery and I have been covering stories about raising chickens here in northern Minnesota. It's more accurate to say we've been following the movement to bring back raising chickens within the city limits of Bemidji and Grand Rapids. People in rural areas like ours have always raised chickens, lots of them. Indeed over the last four years "Dan the Egg Man" from Deer River and Jane at WillowSedge Farm near Palisade have kept us in fresh eggs here at KAXE. I just learned (am I the last?) that raising chickens is becoming a national past time, even a fad to some conspicuous consumers.

The title of this posting is the the subtitle of Susan Orlean's article in the September 28 edition of the New Yorker. She covers a little history of raising chickens in American history. That alone is worth the read. She also reviews the rising tide of chicken rearing in the U.S., and her experience keeping chickens.

1 comment:

Matt Rezac said...

A lot of people who ask me about wanting chickens are surprised to hear that I like them, in the way some people like cats or cookbooks or drag racing. They'll say, "so are you gonna eat them or is it for the eggs?", and I'll say, "well...we'll use the eggs but mostly I just enjoy chickens." It's sort of like seeing a person running and asking, "is there a bear chasing you?"