Today’s food and farming system is distinctly segregated.  Following the local food tsunami, however, urban and back yard poultry rearing are on the upswing.  City poultry ordinances are popping up everywhere, a welcome sign toward self-reliance and better food.

Perhaps no one has done more to advance the integrated chicken agenda than Pat Foreman, self-acclaimed chicken whisperer and author of “City Chicks.”  She addresses all the naysayer concerns and shows the positive results of home-based flocks.  She does the math to show that if many households kept a handful of chickens, the entire despicable industrial poultry industry would be unnecessary.

I find it fascinating that most of the anti-factory chicken farming activists do not understand that the most efficient way to advance their agenda is to create an alternative production model.  Except for those who are actually anti-domestic animal folks, most of these efforts would accomplish more faster by freeing in-home or near-home poultry legalization than fighting against industrial-scale production.

It’s the fundamental difference between freedom and tyranny.  Which gets us where we want to go faster: additional governmental regulations or liberty toward self-reliance, self-determination, and what the Declaration of Independence called “the pursuit of happiness?”  Usually things that have grown too big or too powerful or too despicable have done so in a vacuum of entrepreneurial innovative competition–in this case, the vibrant
and common home-scale flock . . . criminalized.

If the animal rights folks who have leveled their guns on factory farms had spent the same effort on liberating families from self-reliance criminalization, their path would be a higher moral road and certainly far more enjoyable in the marketplace.  Sugar always attracts more flies than vinegar.  Freedom from the bottom up is also a lot
easier to govern than adding regulations.

Home-based poultry can be quiet, sanitary, and wonderful.  In her delightful book, Pat points out that one average pet dog poops more than 11 chickens.  For the record, dog poop is far nastier than chicken poop.  I’ve ceased being amazed by the fears conjured up by the ignorant.

How many people eat industrial factory eggs dipped in chlorine to kill pathogens and then say that home-based chickens pose a health risk?  As if the other type of chicken poses no risk.  Charges of pathogenicity, vermin, and noise round out the charges. They are also spurious.

Interacting with Chickens can help build immunity.  The concern in the medical community that our children no longer interact with things that challenge their immune system is real and growing.  A few pecks and scratches, perhaps even nibbling on some manure as a child, can exercise the immune system.

Proliferating auto-immune disorders, according to the historical record compiled by Diamond, could be a direct result of hyper-cleanliness and failure to touch and handle domestic livestock.  That insurance underwriters now question whether farm visitors should be allowed to touch animals is germane to this discussion.  Our fearful
and timid, disconnected and dependent society is gradually trying to cut the final tie to our ecological umbilical.

We do so at our own peril, sacrificing our children’s immune system on the altar of a segregated, paranoid food system.  I say the way to build immunity, food integrity, and independence is to re-create the highly integrated and participatory food system of our forebears.  When you order your chicks and they arrive in the mail, you are
bringing into your family a fundamentally life-affirming and healing project.

Yes, they’re cute.  Yes, they’ll lay great tasting eggs.  But even more importantly, they’ll build your children’s immune systems, teach them chore ethics, and give them a visceral look into our awesome creation.  Why would anyone deny, or want to deny someone else’s children, that opportunity?

A home-based chicken flock may be one of the most profound freedom-actions anyone can do.  Extricating ourselves from pharmacies, from industrial food, and from ignorance is a striking advance toward liberty.  And you thought raising a few chickens would just be cool.  It is, but it’s a lot more.

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6 Responses to INTEGRATED SYSTEMS by Joel Salatin

  1. Chris says:

    My backyard chickens got me started, Joel Salatin’s books got me thinking and now 4 years later I have a hobby farm which provides my family with fresh food!
    Thanks to Mr. Salatin and my understanding and supportive wife!

  2. Debbie says:

    I just want to thank you Mr Saladin for taking a stand! Please keep it up and getting the word out that we should all get back to REAL!! I’m very much a purist when it comes to my food. We are not great gardeners, but we try and do organic. We have our own chickens, and for the first time this year had our own meat chickens, Freedom rangers. Just trying to eat the way the Good Lord intended! Keep up the good work!

  3. shannon says:

    Ive just started reading some of your articles and i am impressed. Thank you McMurray for putting this on your website! Weekends spent with my grandmother built a deep bonding with chickens and farmlife. Keep up the good work and ill keep reading!

  4. pblee says:

    Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts. “Backyard” chickens are the perfect introduction for many people to the pleasures of greater self- sufficiency, the world of nature and all it can teach, real responsibility for kids, and just plain fun. (I actually think my stress level went down when I got back to my roots and started keeping a mini flock of leghorns and barred rocks. They are so excited to see me every evening- or it may be the pail of vegetable scraps…who knows…)

    Looking forward to the next post!

  5. Carmie says:

    THANK YOU MM for hosting these blogs. And THANK YOU Mr. Salatin for taking time out of your very busy schedule to write for the benefit of all of us! You always makes such good sense. I have learned so much from your writings and videos. It has given us the courage to step out and get some chicks for our small urban yard that we garden organically and to start dreaming and planning for our own small farm soon. We know you must be under attack from so many directions. We pray for you, your family, your farm and businesses.

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