From the TV show, Portlandia:
“…As early as February, the city, having halted prosecutions of the urban chicken movement, will study small no-roosters urban coops. My favourite city councillor, the sainted Mary-Margaret McMahon (Ward 32, Beaches-East York), is thrilled. “It’ll be people who are into urban agriculture and food security and growing vegetables in their yard.” She dismisses worries about smells and noise.
I do not. I have enough trouble with the smells and noise of humans without coping with their poultry.
Urban hen ownership is no joke. Consider predators, mass death, the astounding expense of building a coop with insulation, ventilation, an exercise yard and entrance for you and your fowl, the drooping and wilting that makes you send sewage samples to vets for advice, manky eggs, ammonia buildup, cecal droppings and disease (metabolic, infectious, parasitic and behavioural). I will mention only in passing the “blood-tinged nostril discharge” of avian flu.
I like chickens in paintings and photos. Art hens. I hate them in real life, “with their blank beady eyes and the silly way they keep shaking their scrawny little heads,” as the essayist Jean Kerr once wrote.
Eggs are best left to experts, the hot sexy Ontario farmers who populate the new 2012 Faces of Farming calendar, the month of May’s Darryl being my current favourite. Note: He raises hens not in Riverdale but in Hastings County, as God surely intended.
The poultry mania is part of what I call Portlandia Syndrome. Named after the coolest show on television, Portlandia resides on the Independent Film Channel, part of its coolness being the fact that you can’t see it. I bought it on DVD (Amazon.ca, and well worth it).
Portlandia is a satire of urban hipsters living in the Oregon city “where young people go to retire.” SNL’s Fred Armisen and rock-comedian Carrie Brownstein recreate the slacker ’90s in the new Seattle, where people grow beets in their driveway, entitled cyclists ride through stores (“I’m on a bike!”) and organic locavore diners interrogate the waitress about the provenance of their chicken….”