.29 cents a pound at Giant Eagle. (course you have to spend $25 in groceries - easily done.) If these birds cost $4 a pound then a 20 lb. bird would cost $80. They probably are excellent eating and its awesome that they are treated humanely. But I don't know many people that would - or even could - spend $80 for a turkey. Just sayin.
way to go Pittsburgh!
I'm dismayed at the tone of the comments regarding Server's recent article on urban chickens. Server is writing a FOOD column--dogs, cats, guinea pigs are not food (in Pittsburgh)--of course she didn't compare the number of chickens given to shelters to the number of dogs. Perhaps her article was simply encouraging responsible, thoughtful and well-researched decisions. Anyone willing to raise a chicken in an unconventional setting is probably well-intentioned, and could benefit from this kind of information being made widely available in a column like this. Server is writing a 300 word piece, not a 3000 word piece. Some of the comments here are actually equal to or longer than the column itself. This is meant to be a snapshot, not the definitive text on urban chickens. I would hate to be stuck in a coop with some of the angry, angry readers here. *cluck-cluck*
Why not just eat the chickens that are not being cared for?
Were those 47 chickens the Animal Rescue League took in all backyard chickens? Or were they from an illegal slaughterhouse or cockfighting operation?
The very title of this article is misleading--what are the "unforeseen probelms"? Only one problem was identified--the appearance of about 30 additional chickens in one area shelter last year. Moreover, that single problem is highly foreseeable--when an animal becomes more popular and numerous in a given area, it is almost inevitable that more of those animals will end up in area shelters. While that is certainly lamentable, I too think that the number should have been compared to the numbers of dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, parakeets, etc. that show up in shelters each year, in order to put the issue into perspective. Chickens end up in shelters for essentially the same reason as any of these other pets do--either with good justifications or terrible ones or anything in between, their owners cannot or will not care for them anymore. The implication of the article is that urban chicken-keeping is the problem here. This is no more the problem than urban dog-keeping, guinea pig-keeping, or parakeet-keeping.
What would be *more* informative and interesting is if the author were to have spoken with the shelter staff about the circumstances under which the chickens came in. What was their origin (are we just *assuming* these were all urban hipster foodie cast-offs? Remember, correlation is not the same as causation...)? What was the reason given for their owners no longer being able to care for them? What constructive things (other than Barnard's suggestion to talk with the neighbors, which is a fine idea) could chicken owners or prospective chicken owners do to avoid having their birds end up in the shelter? At the very least, the research into chickens' lifespans, laying longevity, and the accuracy of sexing could have been given a little more care. Notably, there are several surefire ways to ensure you are getting a hen rather than a rooster, most chickens will die of natural causes long before 8-15 years, and hens will continue to lay eggs for many years past their peak, although their production will typically taper off over the years. In any event, neither chickens' 8-15 year possible lifespan nor their diminishing egg productivity over the course of multiple years could have much if anything to do with the very recent rise in urban chicken keeping (considering most people get day-old chicks or juvenile fowl, these new urban birds haven't started to face the perils of aging yet).
I was disgusted by the biased and poorly-researched coverage of the problems associated with urban chickens, as stated in your October 2 article. It was proof to me that objective journalism, which is supposed to be about information, is dead. If a simple story about urban and backyard chickens can’t be written with any amount of journalistic integrity, then journalism is indeed dead. In its place are reporters like you, who prefer to stir the pot for their own gain, play on fear and prejudice, and add sensationalism rather than context to make a piece more attractive to readers, even if it sacrificed accuracy.
I first heard about this story when you posted in the Pittsburgh chicken-related groups on facebook, trolling for tips and information to support a story you planned to write about how chickens were being dumped at area shelters. You felt the need to add in your post that you were “(pro-chicken, by the way).” At least one poster responded that this issue had been explored in the media before and was not found to be the crisis that was claimed. Others pointed out the chicken placement assistance given privately by area organizations. After publishing your piece, you removed the posting – maybe because you knew all along that your piece would be biased against raising chickens. Why else would you need to hide the fact that your research came from facebook posts that you solicited under false pretenses. That move shows some real integrity!
While you have mentioned some facts and sources, you didn’t bother to get the context right. While it is true that “Chickens can live between eight and 15 years,” most die of natural causes before they are five or six. While “Backyard Poultry magazine estimates that the accuracy of sexing chicks is 50-50,” professional sexers at hatcheries (where most urbanites get chicks from) average 90% accuracy in standard size chicks (bantams are not sexed). Purchasing pullets from a breeder increases those odds to 99%, since breeders are familiar with the breeds they raise and will not sell what the customer does not want. As to the “dramatic increase” in chickens being turned into shelters, you should have provided some context: How many are hens vs. how many are roosters? The majority of sheltered fowl are roosters, because they are not permitted by zoning and are not going to lay eggs. How many began their lives as “Easter chicks” unaffiliated with any “foodie” movement? Or cockfighting operations? How many came to area shelters from farm rescue operations? There were a number of birds brought into a Pittsburgh shelter from a farm in Ohio this year, so what part of your ‘dramatic increase’ in discarded chickens do they make up? How about the 52 chickens (and 10 other fowl) seized from a suspected slaughter operation in June of this year? Are they part of your “dramatic increase” too?
These were all things you could have mentioned. A responsible journalist would have made this piece about information, not sensation. She probably wouldn’t have done the majority of her research on facebook and in an issue of Backyard Poultry magazine. A responsible journalist would have informed the public about why the “dramatic increase” exists (if it actually does) and what can be done to avoid it. She would not have played on the prejudice that people have about urban chickens and the trendiness of the topic just to get a story out. There are ways to avoid getting roosters, ways to deal with old laying hens, ways to deal with birds that folks just don’t want anymore – ways that do not involve dumping at shelters. A responsible journalist could have tempered the sensation with information, and you, Ms. Server, did not do this. Maybe you are not familiar with saying that if something is worth doing, it's worth doing right.
People, as a general rule, are sh*tty, don't follow directions, don't like to be asked to think, and don't want to educate themselves when they do get an idea into their heads. Educating oneself about a life you're about to become responsible for is advice that many many people don't seem to heed no matter if that life is another person, a chicken, a cat, or a dog.
So there were 47 chicken turned in, that sucks, those people are sh*tty people and they (and those around them) have to live with that fact. That said how many dogs are surrendered per year in our area? Maybe that's not newsworthy (though having the number to put the number of chickens into context would be beneficial).
While chickens give you eggs, and if you're so inclined meat, dogs give you undying devotion and love asking for little in return (something you're not going to get from any bird) and I'm sure the number of sh*tty people that surrender dogs or just abandon them is much higher and it's probably the same with cats.
So these 47 chickens may be unlikely to find a good home (at least a good home that isn't also the home of a well loved roasting pan). These birds are still far far better off having been the failed experiment of some sh*tty hipster than if they'd been raised in a factory farm with their beaks cut off, standing in a space only slightly bigger than their bodies, being shat upon by those stacked above them, and shatting upon those below them.
Don't forget the vegetarian restaurant: the Tin Front Cafe in Homestead! It deserves our support! Not to mention numerous ethnic restaurants where vegetarians and vegan have a number of choices.
Read more about Jacob's first dinner at http://katherinesdaughter.com/2013/06/19/grace-at-the-source/.
What an incredible event! The chance to fine dine on the farm was a bucket list moment. The hors d' oevures were fresh and creative. We enjoyed meeting new friends while the musician played an acoustic guitar right in front of a corn field. The evening had already met expectations before we sat down and were amazed with 5 courses that pleased in its presentation and taste. The veal sausage and the blue corn polenta fries were my favorite, but I enjoyed each course. Talking with Chef Mains you can feel his passion for fresh organic food. He knew exactly where every item was sourced. Thank you for a wonderful evening.
Thanks for the great coverage! To join the support efforts, visit fb.me/saveinstanbulgrille
I would rather there be more free market competition than things being "fair." Competition drives up quality and drives down price, both better for the consumer. Complaining it's not fair is very one-sided, on the side of only one business. I've never heard of a food truck choosing to park right in front of a restaurant with the same cuisine. Straw man argument fail.
I don't live/work near the Strip, but I have definitely seen her there on the weekdays I've had meetings in the area, and Saturdays/Sundays seem to be a staple. I think the sandwiches are $6 (cash only) and the tofu ones are just as good as the grilled meat ones. <3 If you want updates, follow Bar Marco on Facebook, as they often tell you when she's around since she's set up right outside.
Saigon subs spreading around the world :)
When is she typically there?
Her sandwiches are sooo tasty! Very glad she has returned - I look forward to many banh mi's this summer!
I want this knowledge!
Great, Corey O'Connor has decided to carry on Bob "I know art when I see it" O'Connor's proud tradition of holding back novel business ideas in Pittsburgh.
come on. this can surely be worked out. no one is up in arms now that restaurants are launching their own food trucks. there are enough customers for everyone. give pittsburgh the chance the grown.
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