Nation of Chicken-Farming Yokels

Dangerous trend leads city-dwellers down the path to agrarian squalor

By Sara K. Smith
|  Tuesday, Jun 16, 2009  |  Updated 10:59 PM CDT
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Great Foods You Aren't Eating

There is no creature on earth more stupid than the chicken ... except, perhaps, for the urban chicken farmer.

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Blame our trend-setting first lady, who, no sooner than she moved into the White House began digging up the lawn to plant filthy organic vegetables. Suddenly everybody had to have their own dumb tomato patch out in their front yard, to prove to their neighbors how little they cared about the appearance of their lawn. And now the good citizens of the United States are attempting to do Michelle Obama one better: not only do they continue to rip up perfectly nice patches of grass and seed them with hideous squashes, many are now even growing chickens.

Chickens are a lot like vegetables, in terms of intelligence, but as an added "bonus" they generate copious amounts of waste material and they constantly make terrible sounds, reserving their most raucous emissions for those dawn hours when humans like to sleep.

The terrible scourge of the "Urban Chicken" is spreading faster than their eponymous pox, and this diaspora shows no sign of stopping.

Growing interest in backyard chickens has fans rallying for change in dozens of cities, although the movement leaves some people squawking.

[...] Chick hatcheries say they can't keep up with urban orders. Murray McMurray Hatchery, the world's largest supplier of rare-breed chicks, has sold out of its "Meat and Egg Combo" collection of meat birds and laying hens. Customers hungry for a standard hen must wait: There's a six-week backlog on orders.

Seed suppliers tell a similar story. There's no way to keep pace with suddenly skyrocketing demand from consumers who can barely keep "alive" the artificial ficus in their office, but who fantasize they'll be able to grow black-eyed peas and exotic vegetables on the 10 tragic square feet of dirt between their front stoop and the sidewalk:

[Barbara Melera, owner of the D. Landreth Seed Co.] said she's talked to beginners who thought you could grow vegetables indoors (you can't) and a customer who wanted to know how many plants he would get per seed (uh, one). She predicted as many as half the new gardeners will give up this summer. "I think we may have one more year, but I'll be surprised if by 2011 we will be seeing the same level of activity we are now," she said.

The only reason anybody should personally own a chicken is so that, on nights when they're feeling bored, they can dress the chicken up in a sailor suit and take it bar-hopping. And there is no excuse whatsoever for growing a vegetable garden and taking business away from our nation's beleaguered factory farms.

Most of all, people need to stop imitating Michelle Obama all the time, since the woman can't even dress herself.

Sara K. Smith buys her vegetables at the grocery store, thank you very much. She writes for NBC and Wonkette.

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