Ready to fly the coop
Dave Karraker / by Paul Rattay Photography
A plucky philosopher once exclaimed, “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!”
That philosopher was, of course, Chicken Little, foretelling of the End of Days, or at least the negative effects of global warming. Chicken Little’s musings fell on mostly deaf ears, as few around him believed the world was truly coming to an end. But, truthfully, instead of being worried about the impending Rapture, the local villagers should have been more concerned that a chicken had invaded their space… and that chicken was actually talking. That would be something I would personally find equally as disturbing.
What I consider to be the End of Days has come to peaceful, pristine, residential neighborhoods all over Sonoma County in the form of a mass migration, most fowl… yes, fowl. The hottest status symbol in the Valley isn’t a BMW, a vineyard or a Swedish nanny (excuse me, au pair). It is a chicken, and I don’t mean broiled, fried or fingered. I mean a living, breathing chicken.
Perfectly normal yuppies, whose only experience with chicks are the vibrant marshmallow Peeps bought at Rite-Aid each Easter to satiate Britney’s or Ashley’s sweet tooth, have taken to raising chickens in their backyards. They are building coops that rival any Frank Gehry creation, and are filling them with clucking, clacking and sometimes crowing chickens.
God help you if this avian invasion strikes your street. Your days of gossiping over the fence about the cat lady at the end of the block are over. All conversations will now revolve around intricate, environmentally friendly chicken coop heating systems, or how a raccoon (imagine that… a raccoon!) was in the yard trying to dine at the new neighborhood Chick-fil-A.
Now, these poultry propagators will tell you the genesis of their desire to raise chickens is because they simply love fresh eggs. Don’t fall for it. How many eggs does a family of three truthfully need? And weren’t these the same people who just last year were vegans because a sleeveless Michelle Obama was spotted in the White House vegetable garden with a hoe in hand?
Let’s call this what it is: the ultimate in neighborly one-upmanship. Anyone can add a rumpus room, an Olympic-sized pool with waterfall, or solar array that would rival the International Space Station. It takes real dedication to turn your 3/2 split-level ranch into Foster Farms.
The best way to battle this pullet plague is to simply ignore it. When your neighbor starts talking about the money they are saving on Egg McMuffins, simply shrug. When they go into detail about the difference between Delaware Blues and Rhode Island Whites, reply with a yawn. Once they realize there are truly no bragging rights to raising chickens in their backyard, they will move on to more sensible one-upmanship endeavors, like installing in-floor heating or building a safe room. Your life will return to normal, and they will be the ones with egg on their faces.
The Accidental Vinophile is Dave Karraker, a comedian and writer who splits his time between Sonoma, San Francisco, his two Rhodesian Ridgebacks and 61 Ford Thunderbirds. You can find more on Dave at www.davekarraker.com. Email email@example.com. Follow Dave on Twitter: @davekarraker.