Friday, November 9, 2012

Why Pampered Poultry?

The most common question I am asked is “Do chickens really wear diapers?” When I respond yes, the corresponding question is “Why?”

The obvious answer is to keep chicken poop off your clothes, carpet and car. However, the real answer is much more subtle.

When my daughter and I set out to design and sell chicken diapers, it was born not so much out of a need to literally pamper our poultry, but rather to share in the growing movement to bring chickens from an agriculture sphere and into the suburban/urban realm. We wanted to be part of the “Backyard Chicken” movement.

Our experience with chickens has led us down a path of small scale animal husbandry, adding pigs, goats, geese and emu’s to our collection of animals. Yet, chickens are still the most fascinating and practical members of our animal family.

All other farm additions have required significant investment in housing, fencing, land and time. On the other hand, chickens are affordable to purchase, house and feed, while requiring little time.

Yet, despite their economy, they offer fresh eggs, endless entertainment and built-in composting. Each bird has a distinct personality and each breed offers unique characteristics and colors, making them beautiful and intriguing yard ornaments, as well as practical food providers.

 As interest in chickens and fresh eggs continues to gain momentum, more and more towns and cities are allowing for a small number of hens to grace even a well-manicured suburban setting. These small zoning changes are in part because people are treating their small flocks, not as an agriculture endeavor, but rather an extension of their family and feel they should have the same rights as the family dog or cat.

That being the case, a chicken that is sick or the center of attention at a play date, is sure to make it inside the home on occasion.  In such events, certain needs must be addressed…hence the diapers.
Our chicken diapers are practical (or as practical as such an item can be) but more importantly they are a material example of the way in which chickens are entering into the suburban backyard. In a world where most people are completely removed from their food source, often feeling desperately out of touch with natural food production, the chicken offers a practicable connection to both, without evoking a huge commitment of either time or money.

Each morning as you feed the chickens the table scraps from the night before, and collect a couple of eggs for breakfast, if even for a small moment one can experience the joy of knowing your food. It is a small but meaningful way to stop the cycle of commercial food production, and it offers romantic appeal…a small window into the peace and satisfaction of an agrarian life.

Our chicken diapers are our way of embracing and celebrating what we believe is a powerful and important movement, Backyard Chickens. We want to be part of a society that values our food and how it is produced and cares about the lives of all animals. We want to be part of a world where chickens are pampered!