Uncle Sam Wants YOU to Raise Chickens!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Or at least he did during WWI.

That’s right folks; the government encouraged every American to keep chickens for eggs and meat. Backyard chicken raising was touted as a patriotic duty as well as a business venture that would help bring back high quality small flocks.

In the early part of the last century poultry magazines were as popular as today’s tabloid trash. Our population was closer to its agricultural roots than they are today and poultry magazines offered readers an array of photos, stories, how-to and ads geared for the large poultry raising audience.

The premise was…

Two backyard hens per person will keep a family in fresh eggs.

Even the smallest yard has room for a flock large enough to supply the kitchen with fresh eggs. The cost of maintaining such a flock is small. Table and kitchen waste provide much of the feed for the hens. They require little attention, only a few minutes a day.

An interested child, old enough to take a little responsibility, can care for a few fowls as well as a grown person.

Every back yard in the United States should contribute its share to a bumper crop of poultry and eggs in 1918.

The USDA’s views on raising poultry were…

In Time of Peace a Profitable Recreation

In Time of War a Patriotic Duty

In the September 1917 issue of Everybodys Poultry Magazine, the editors made these statements about backyard poultry.

“… to increase the production of poultry and eggs, to increase the general interest and especially to, in some way, bring back the thousands upon thousands of small and backyard breeders who flourished years ago, who kept high grade standard-bred stock, and were in part at least, producers as well as consumers.”

“There are great questions requiring consideration and united action, but this one of the backyard breeder in city and village alike is foremost of all.

This year thousands have come back, necessity has best illustrated their worth to themselves but we want more, all should return and thousands more, there is room for all and if fifty percent of the families kept from 15 to 25 fowls each it would total half a billion dollars in value to our national resources and a billion dollars more to the value of the food supply.

What a shame that our government doesn’t encourage this same relationship with our food supply, but rather discourages even the smallest agricultural endeavor with overbearing rules and regulations.

Why do we have to fight and petition and beg and plead our cities to allow us a few lowly hens?

How can city governments prefer the unsettling noise of sirens, alarms, cars with blaring stereos and the incessant barking dog to the natural beauty of a cackling hen announcing the arrival of an egg?

If our government found the call to raising chickens sound advice in during WWI, than why isn’t it sound advice today? We may not be in a world war, but the continued economic slump and rampant unemployment gives 2011 its own kind of war.

I for one will continue to keep my backyard birds and hope that you will too.

2 Responses to “Uncle Sam Wants YOU to Raise Chickens!”

  1. ollie stone says:

    hello I would like information on raising chickens for the government who do I contact

  2. jenn says:

    I am not aware of any govt program for raising chickens. I do know that some people raise quail and other birds to re-establish flocks in depleted areas. A call to the Dept of Fish and Wildlife may be a good place to start.

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