Duluth chickens don’t live on bandwagonsBeverly Godfrey column: For years I thought about getting chickens, and this spring I finally did. They’re not laying eggs yet, but that’s hardly the point.
By: Beverly Godfrey, Duluth News Tribune
For years I thought about getting chickens, and this spring I finally did.
They’re funny to watch. The white one is bossy; the black one grabs food first; the brown one is the loner. I wasn’t expecting this kind of personality.
They’re not laying eggs yet, but that’s hardly the point. There’s no way we’ll get our money back on eggs. They’re pets, and they’ll be with us for 10 years or so, unless a bear eats them — and I have told the kids, this might literally happen, so, please, be prepared.
Since I have been enjoying their company so much, I was surprised to find an article written in July on nbcnews.com that reports the backyard chicken movement is waning, and “hundreds of chickens” are being dumped nationwide at animal shelters by “hipster farmers” who can’t cope.
“It’s the stupid foodies,” one woman said.
This got my attention. I don’t think I’m a hipster foodie ne’er-do-well, but maybe I should check.
I called Animal Allies and the Duluth Animal Shelter, and the answer was the same: Duluth is not experiencing this problem.
Animal Allies executive director Rick Sailstad said they haven’t had anyone try to surrender chickens to them, which is good, because they are not equipped to take them. Duluth animal control officer Carrie Lane recalled “one stray chicken” two or three years ago.
“We’re not running into any problems with it,” she said.
Both said that in Duluth, chicken people seem to help each other out.
That’s right. I’m not an urban hipster foodie; I’m “chicken people.”
Of all the labels I’ve acquired in life, this is one of my favorite. I look forward to meeting other chicken people. I joined the Facebook group Duluth Chicken Club and paid my $10 license fee to the city.
Hopefully, my girls — and yes, I call them that — will actually all be girls and live here, bear-free, into old age. They can lay eggs or not, no pressure to earn their keep.
But if any of our chickens turns out to be a rooster, the city ordinance says we can’t keep it. I know someone who probably would take it and eat it, and I’m OK with that. I said they’re pets, but you can’t really call them that without specifying the “chickens” part.
Maybe what leads to problems in other cities is that people will eat chicken, but not their chickens. Maybe it’s that lack of connection to our food you read about. But in Duluth, you barely turn your head when you see a deer in the back of a hunter’s truck. A kid’s first fish is one of those moments right up there with his first steps. In Duluth, we know where meat comes from, and it doesn’t start off under plastic wrap.
That nbcnews.com story referred to “urban farmers,” and maybe that’s the difference. No matter where you live in Duluth, you’re just not that urban.
Beverly Godfrey is a copy editor for the News Tribune. You can reach her at email@example.com.