Chickens: The Sustainable City Dwellers

Growing up in rural Vermont my family had a small flock of chickens that stumbled around our backyard, consistently pecking at the grassy lawn. I remember the satisfaction of trudging out into the cold morning air to the pen and finding a warm green tinted egg hidden beneath a speckled chicken annoyed that I was bothering her nesting.  While my mother has an unhealthy relationship with our chickens and treats them more as beloved pets than a food source, they offer us a healthier, more sustainable source of eggs. chicken

The majority of eggs sold in the US come from large factory farms that keep hens boosted with hormones in cages so small they often cannot move their legs or wings, and their only purpose on earth is to lay eggs for consumer America. Studies have shown that pasture raised eggs are far more nutritious than industry-sourced eggs with more than twice the amount of omega-3 fatty acids and a third the cholesterol.

For my small town that had more cows than people and was privileged in its expansive farmland chickens were not an abnormal animal for a family to own. However, the American housing model and urban landscape does not accommodate for backyard chickens. As Americans begin to worry more about sustainable eating, where their food comes from and the quality of their food I expect this to become a more important aspect of neighborhood and urban design with chickens popping up in the backyards of people all over the country.