[Durham INC] more chicken thoughts
randy at 27beverly.com
Tue Jan 13 14:42:54 EST 2009
I was merely relating a conversation with an old-time chicken farmer as to
what he said. It had nothing to do with my personal opinion. I had not
even considered rats and chickens in the same thought process. Those words
of wisdom come from someone who knows. But feeding chickens on a daily
basis is a lot different than the single ear of dried corn hanging in a
tree for the squirrels, the seeds in my bird feeder that's five feet off
the ground, or my compost pile that is better suited to hogs and not
And reading about how the billboard industry was the major contributor to
the Meals Tax faux pas, could they also be behind chickens in Durham? You
just have to wonder how it's all connected... I pose these questions
because they have yet to be addressed. Is anyone else even thinking about
this issue? Does anyone support this idea of chickens in our
neighborhoods? If so, perhaps you can address these questions.
I contacted 2 local chain grocery stores today about their eggs and how
far away these eggs come from. I ended up contacting their corporate
offices because the local stores couldn't give me an accurate answer.
Turns out that some of the eggs sold in these Durham stores come from
Durham as well as Wake, Orange, Johnston, Franklin and Person Counties. So
if buying local is a thought for needing chickens, the stores are already
doing this. The eggs are just aggregated under a brand name and come from
local farmers. One chain had a rule that they try to stay within 2 hours
of their distribution center. If it's cheaper for them, they pass the
savings along to the consumer. They said hauling eggs from Indiana (that
was the state I used) was out of the question as transportation costs
added to the eggs would more than triple their costs. And from that far
away, some eggs wouldn't even make it to market (see photo of overturned
tractor trailer on front page of today's Herald Sun).
If you figure what keeping chickens will cost, it makes no sense
economically since they are being allowed for eggs and not slaughter. Say
a 10x10 coop figured at $50/square foot. That alone is a whole bunch of
eggs! That's more eggs that any family would eat in ten years. Add in food
bills, taxes for having them, permitting for having them, vet bills and
their tags (I assume they will be tagged like our dogs and cats), that's a
whole bunch of years before it begins to come close to breaking even. Will
chickens next door depreciate the value of a neighbors home? Will chickens
next door become the new "barking dog problem" in neighborhoods if they
are allowed? Will the UCC (Un-coop Chicken Coalition) become a new
organization that advocates for free range chickens? There seems to be a
lot of unknowns in this foul equation... What if some chickens get out and
try to cross the road, and there is a car accident because of them, who
bears the responsibility for the damages? What if, in that accident,
someone dies? Are chickens really worth it?
I'm not one to put bandaids on fingers before they are cut, but there has
to be some answers to some of these questions I pose before I'll feel
comfortable about having this issue go to the birds.
> Come on Randy. Rats will eat anything--the food we put out for dogs and
> cats. The food we put out for birds. Those little corn cobs people put
> out for squirrels. The food waste we throw into our compost heaps. The
> acorns we leave on the ground under our oak trees. Surely you're not
> going to push your argument and propose we ban dogs, cats, composting,
> and oak trees. . . .
> RW Pickle wrote:
>> I had the opportunity to talk to an "old chicken farmer" today about
>> upcoming issue for our City. I first ask him what he thought about
>> chickens in town (he lives in Durham City now). He said he didn't care
>> long as it wasn't next door to him. When he said that, my next question
>> was, why? What he said next is something that I doubt anyone will ever
>> know until they have chickens; he said rats. Yep, rats. He said that
>> liked the same food chickens like and would show up shortly after the
>> chickens arrived. So not only will those feathery foul be an addition to
>> yard, they will attract their 4-legged furry buddies, the rats. He said
>> anyone who would wanted chickens because eggs were too expensive had
>> bigger financial problems...
>> Then he started in on predators that like chickens for dinner. Foxes (we
>> have a couple over here so I assume they are across our City), hawks (I
>> see them regularly over here) and raccoons (and we have a bunch of them
>> over here) were mentioned. He told me of the time when a raccoon grabbed
>> one of his chickens through the wire fence of the coop, tried to pull
>> chicken through the fence (it was much too large for that) and
>> settled for just eating the chickens legs off. Needless to say that
>> chicken was dinner... So, in addition to the eggs, it looks like
>> will get to see first hand the food chain in action.
>> When we got this far in the conversation, it turned to milk because he
>> thought milk was much more expensive and consumed more than eggs. He's
>> right, milk does cost more and they always seem to have a bunch of it at
>> the grocery store when I go. So maybe we do use more milk than eggs. At
>> least that's the case at my house. So does that mean cows will be
>> at some point as well? Some of my neighbors have 3-5 acres over here, so
>> there's plenty of room for grazing...
>> And what about those pot-bellied pigs the City said we couldn't have (a
>> few years back). Does that mean we can have them as long as they'll be
>> and bacon? Most of these were pets I guess, but I'm sure these chickens
>> will have names if folks are allowed to keep them. I'm sure some will
>> consider them pets.
>> The Herald Sun came out yesterday with an editorial supporting chickens.
>> Their case for chickens was weak at best. But one thing they said struck
>> chord with me that really didn't sound like a positive thing when you
>> consider the consequences. Fertilizer, that was a positive thing to
>> Well, if they had a clue that water runs down hill and ultimately ends
>> in the drinking water supplies we are trying to clean up, then adding
>> fertilizer to the mix is exactly opposite of the direction we need to be
>> going. The major problems with our drinking water supplies is nitrogen
>> loading (as in fertilizer...). So adding more fertilizer to the mix via
>> chickens can't be a good thing as they suggest.
>> Or maybe you read the article in the Durham edition of the N&O this
>> weekend. It's the free paper they throw out every weekend over here. It
>> had an article written by one of my neighbors who wants chickens. He
>> on about how excited his neighbors were about the idea. I can tell you,
>> the feeling is not embraced by very many over here. He went on talking
>> about the beautiful colors of the various types of chicken eggs laid by
>> various kinds of chickens. What has that to do with anything? I thought
>> the purpose was to eat the eggs. And every egg, no mater what color the
>> shell seemed to be, when I cracked it open and dumped it in a bowl,
>> whipped it with a fork and then poured it in the frying pan, turned out
>> be a shade of yellow. Those green eggs of Dr. Seuss... I've never seen
>> You keep hearing that Charlotte, Asheville and other NC cities have
>> chickens. Those same cities have those new flashing billboards as well.
>> have to think that what may good for some places in NC, just may not be
>> good for the Bull City...
>> 27 Beverly
>> Durham INC Mailing List
>> list at durham-inc.org
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