I got a laugh out of this story:
A few choice quotes from the article:
While the rest of the nation spends $15 on an ordinary chicken at their local feed store, Silicon Valley residents might spend more than $350 for one heritage breed, a designation for rare, nonindustrial birds with genetic lines that can be traced back generations […] All of it happens in cutting-edge coops, with exorbitant veterinarian bills and a steady diet of organic salmon, watermelon and steak.
[…] At least one owner plans to transform his coop into an Airbnb for humans once the abode’s feathered inhabitants die, according to Scott Vanderlip, whose annual Silicon Valley tour — Tour de Coop — has drawn as many as 2,500 participants some years.
“My timber framed, Gingerbread coop is gorgeous: wired for electrical, plumbed for water, incorporating vintage windows and doors,” Laura Menard, a proud owner from an upscale Silicon Valley suburb, noted over email.
On the one hand, I think it is human nature to desire a connection to the natural world. Just walking outside in nature has been shown to reduce stress hormones like cortisol, and chickens really are pretty entertaining to watch.
The silly lengths the people in this article go to to one-up each other is also human nature, whether it is the kind of car you drive, how big your house is, or having your chickens’ meals catered. It must be stressful to have to be so competitive all the time, even in a simple hobby like chicken-keeping, but I guess these folks aren’t really hurting anyone, and it’s their money to spend, so we will leave them to it without any further tut-tutting.
But the quote from the article that really caught my attention was this one (highlighting mine);
“We’re obsessed with chickens and it’s embarrassing,” said Amina Azhar-Graham, a Costa County investigator who credits her family’s 10 birds with squelching her desire for more children with her husband, Justin, a software engineer. “We spend an insane amount of money. We thought we’d feed them leftovers, but our chickens end up eating grilled salmon, steak, fresh lettuce and organic watermelon.”
LOL, wut? Did she really just announce to the entire world that she doesn’t want to bear her husband’s children because… chickens?! I am no marriage relationship expert, but I would say if your wife basically says, “It’s not you, honey, it’s the chickens,” then you’ve got a more serious problem on your hands than just keeping up with the Joneses’ sustainably-sourced eco-friendly hi-tech coop.
Say, would you like to see the super-fancy sustainably-salvaged outdoor nesting box my husband is building for our various waterfowl? See, the lazy ducks have been just dropping their eggs any old place down by the pond, which makes it difficult to collect them efficiently. I thought if we had a sturdy outdoor nesting box down by the edge of the pond, they might be persuaded to lay them in there. Working with a budget of exactly 0 dollars, my husband made a stable base out of some scrap lumber that he got from his Aunt Gloria, who, despite being in her 80s, likes to spend her time salvaging discarded wood from the local lumberyard trash.
As for the nesting box itself…can you guess what he is using for that?
He may not be a Silicon Valley tech elite, but I am telling you, this man is a genius in my book.
I’m getting the press release ready…
Mrs. Thiry’s ducks spend their days dining on locally-sourced free-range escargot (well, snails from our pond anyway) and laying eggs in their hand-crafted art-deco-inspired steel nesting box.