Five years ago, urban chickens were something for explorers, pioneers, homesteaders (hippies). Backyard chickens were a novelty. Because even if they were a major household food source, they weren’t exactly necessary. The idea of having a personal stake in your private food chain was admirable, but seemed a bit hard.
Today chickens are a fairly average home accessory. So let us now praise famous hens, and the eggs that begat them (and they beget).
“Why do this now?” asked Hallie Lyninger when I showed up at her Louisville home to talk to her about her flock. “Aren’t urban chickens pretty much four years ago?”
When I put out a call on social media for urban chicken-keepers, I got too many responses than I could reasonably handle. I chose a handful of them and did a chickentour of Louisville one Saturday. I stayed mostly in the urban core, only venturing outside the Watterson Expressway once. I talked to people like Joe Franzen, a true urban homesteader who sees his chickens as livestock that feed him and fertilize his garden. I also talked to people like Hallie Lyninger and Cristal Fox, who just like having chickens for the eggs and entertainment.
It’s 2013. Urban chicken keepers aren’t odd, they’re your neighbors (if you live in Old Louisville, this is a true statement). And by 2017, I expect to be writing about the quotidian aspects of city goats.
Here are two slideshows, one audio, one the old-fashioned (but not that old-fashioned) kind. Enjoy.
This story is part of WFPL’s Food & Drink Week. We’ll be exploring dining and libations in the Louisville area ahead of Thanksgiving. You’ll find new stories here everyday through the holiday.