Bogus trend of the week: raising backyard chickens.

Media criticism.
May 14 2009 6:24 PM

Bogus Trend of the Week: Raising Backyard Chickens

The press lays dozens and dozens of eggs.

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Don't raise chickens to save money, advises theDec. 15, 2008, Chicago Tribune story "Chickens Earn Keep in Chicago Backyards: More Urbanites Have the Critters for Eggs—and Companionship." One chicken-lover says the coop, chicken wire, and feeders set him back $500. A 50-pound bag of organic feed costs $22. You have to secure the coop to keep out raccoons, dogs, and cats. A hawk or a teenager with a Wrist Rocket can waste a free-ranging chicken in a flash. Generally speaking, urban veterinarians don't know how to treat sick chickens. Hens don't start dropping eggs until about 20 weeks, the Denver Post reports, on average three hens will produce two eggs a day, and the birds reach their peak production at two years. There's no way around shoveling the chicken shit, and who the hell likes eggs, anyway? Twitter sounds like something a mutant chicken would say, right? Send poultry recipes via e-mail to slate.pressbox@gmail.com. (E-mail may be quoted by name in "The Fray," Slate's readers' forum; in a future article; or elsewhere unless the writer stipulates otherwise. Permanent disclosure: Slate is owned by the Washington Post Co.)

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Jack Shafer was Slate's editor at large. You can follow him on Twitter or email him at Shafer.Reuters@gmail.com.