The article “Backyard chickens in the United States: A survey of flock owners” by C. Elkhoraibi, R.A. Blatchford, M.E. Pitesky, and J.A. Mench (2014) found that “Respondents, who self-identified as the chickens’ primary caregiver in 86.5% of cases, indicated that flock caregivers were mainly married (80%) adult females (70.7%). They were well-educated, with 32.7% having a 4-yr college degree and an additional 34.3% having a graduate or professional degree.” Although the demographics in their survey greatly mirror the demographics of “the Master Gardeners [who] were responsible for most of the [recruitment] advertising” (Elkhorabi et al., 2014), it’s encouraging news to me. I don’t feel so demographically alone in my chicken-keeping adventures.
Thank goodness for blogs written by fellow chicken-keepers! I enjoy reading them and they make me feel like I’m not socially alone. Sometimes it feels like I’m the only one and I know they must feel the same on occasion too.
I cannot leave BackyardChickens.com out! I don’t know how many thousands of people are registered on that site, but it’s definitely a site with a strong sense of community. In addition, the course I’m taking on Coursera, “Chicken Behaviour and Welfare,” has over 9,000 people registered from all over the world. It began April 3, 2015, and runs through May 14, 2015. The lecture videos have only been around 30 minutes each week (no single video over 5 minutes so far), so catching up wouldn’t take long at all. There isn’t any required reading, but the recommended text is “Poultry Behaviour and Welfare” (M.C. Appleby, J.A. Mench, and B.O. Hughes, CABI 2004). It’s an excellent text and I’m so glad I bought it.
How should I apply the knowledge I’ve acquired since falling in love with the chickens I didn’t want?