While you were cleaning up poop, chickens became a status symbol of the elite.

Gone are the days of the elite dining at fancy restaurants with menus in languages you can’t understand, being driven by chauffeurs in lengthy black cars, planning their next jet-setting world trips to the finest and most luxurious resorts. Well maybe those days aren’t totally gone, but in the recent months, we have identified a trend that represents an extremely ironic twist in the taste of the wealthy.

Look, I don’t know how to say this, so I’m just going to come right out and let you know –

Chickens have become a status symbol of the wealthy and elite.

That’s right.  You – the humble and diligent backyard hobbyist and small-scale sustainable farmer are so far ahead of the trendiness curve that Silicon Valley millionaires and New York City’s gilded socialites are now looking to you for inspiration on how to live environmentally friendly and fulfilling lives with their endless wealth.  It is all about having the most amazing chickens money can buy now!


You see it all comes down to the nature of work in the highest paid roles and job functions in the US.  The vocations of high finance and software engineering have become so abstract, that those dominating these hyper-competitive and ultra highly paid professions are seeking a break from the numbers, stress, and intangible nature of their jobs.  Enter the chicken.  With a very observable and natural lifecycle, the hands-on work experience in caring for and raising poultry, and the obvious productive output of eggs, the elite are now using chickens as the ultimate hobby.

Per The Washington Post – 

Johan Land, who is married with three children and a fourth on the way, says a glass of wine and chicken care help him unwind from his hi-tech job at Google directing its self-driving car project.

In addition to 13 chickens, Land has three sheep.

“It’s a fascinating thing to sit and watch the animals because instead of looking at a screen, you’re looking at the life cycle,” Land said. “It’s very different from the abstract work that I do.”

Lifestyles of the rich and famous! Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

This newfound demand of the elite is spurring innovation.

With the resources and the focus of some of the country’s elite, we are seeing new innovations in high tech ways to care for the low tech chicken.  A standard backyard chicken coop may cost $4k-$5k, and running as high as $20,000 for palaces made out of recycled redwood, outfitted in the most eco-friendly and hyper-functional methods.  The coops have solar powered lighting, plumbing, and ventilation, and automated doors that open and close based on the outdoor light.  The high-end home retailer Williams Sonoma now carries a line of chicken products including some of the expensive (and tasteful) coops and poultry supplies you’ve ever seen.

In all fairness, the “solar powered lighting” functionality for the coop can be had for about $15.

It’s all about the Benjamins…and the breeds.

So what breeds are these new found poultry enthusiasts selecting?  If you read the articles across the web, they’ll explain how the breeds raised by backyard chicken owners are a tremendous source of pride.  They are not the hybridized breeds meant sheerly for economic production.  Rather, as the Washington Post explains –

“New owners might start off with a standard breed like a Leghorn, a Barred Rock or Rhode Island Red before upgrading to something more exotic and ornamental like a Silkie, a Jersey Giant, golden laced bearded Polish chicken or a Dorking, an endangered British breed with a sweet disposition and roots that stretch back to the Roman empire.”

Basically, the ultra high-end heritage status symbol breeds of the elite are the same breeds you’ve been raising all along.  Pat yourself on the back, trendsetter!

Backyard Chickens in Silicon Valley are a form of humblebrag about owning real estate.

While there are certainly positive notions about having backyard chickens regarding the environmentally friendliness, raising animals ethically and humanely, reducing one’s carbon footprint, and a myriad of other benefits, backyard chickens are a bit of a humblebrag in certain cities.  You see, having backyard chickens means that you have a yard, which means that you likely own property, which means that you are very well off.  Thus, backyard chickens are almost a newer version of the Tesla – it is a means of telling an astute individual that you are rich while you are explaining your environmentally friendly ways.  This is all great though, if you got it, flaunt it!  Humblebrag away!

Probably driving to the local feed mill… Photo by Roberto Nickson (@g) on Unsplash

Who knew you were so cool?

What do you make of this trend?  While backyard chickens are nothing new, the ascension into the status symbol of the elite certainly is.  Do you think this is here to stay, or just another green-washed environmental flavor of the month?  Let us know in the comments!



11 thoughts on “While you were cleaning up poop, chickens became a status symbol of the elite.

  1. Acky says:

    And if you wanted backyard chickens would you move into a subdivision with CCR’s that clearly stated “no poultry” or would you find an area where you could enjoy your hobby?

  2. Amy says:

    I am certainly not an “elite” but I am a suburbanite with a comfortable income and a large piece of property. For me, raising chickens in my backyard is a way of reconnecting with my roots. I come from a long line of what we would now call “gentleman farmers.” The ability to raise food to feed their large family and to sell to others (as well as their deep distrust of banks) is what allowed my mother’s father’s family to thrive during the Great Depression. That Yankee Depression-era thrift is in my DNA. I also like knowing where my food comes from, and as I learn more and more about how animals are raised for food on large-scale farms, I want no part of it. Where I live, it is a luxury to be able to grow a large garden and keep chickens. Land is expensive, and I am privileged to have both time and energy to devote to a hobby that is productive and that helps me to feel grounded. I enjoy the company of all my animals, and there is nothing sweeter than the sound of snoozing hens first thing in the morning. The fact that they literally help to feed me and my friends and neighbors is just a bonus.

  3. Frankie says:

    It’s fun to watch them running around the field foraging for food. Such a relaxing hobby. The joy of giving eggs to those less fortunate Beings so much more to life!

    • Austin Johnson says:

      Totally agree. Some people call this “Chicken Television”. Something about watching the world of chickens is therapeutic and almost meditative.

  4. Frankie says:

    I’ve been cool for the past 3 years! I enjoy my chickens to the fullest. I am greeted by them as soon as I drive in the gate daily.

  5. Lisa Steele says:

    Chickens are a great way to unwind and de-stress after a hard day and I’m so happy to see that backyard chicken keeping knows no boundaries as far as urban vs. rural or different economic backgrounds. We can all agree that it’s a satisfying, practical “hobby” regardless of how or where we each live.

  6. Ann Onymous says:

    In the interest of accuracy: The chickens raised commercially are not ‘hybridized breeds’, but are hybrids created by crossing different breeds. (The definition of a hybrid is an organism that is the result of crossing genetically distinct lines. The cross (designated by the cross ‘X’ symbol) can be between two different breeds, two different species as when an ass/ burro/donkey is crossed with a horse) – or by crossing genetically distinct lines within a single breed.

    ‘Hybrid vigor’ is said the result from the crossing of genetically distinct lines. However, the offspring of these crosses will not ‘breed true’. This is why we don’t save seeds from hybrid vegetables, and raising chicks from production hybrid poultry is seldom worth the effort.

    Many production hybrid chickens are sex-linked in color, but if they mate and produce chicks, the sex of the chicks will not be obvious from their down color, (though they could be sexed by looking at the vent, this is a nearly lost art, and is more time consuming on a large scale; not to mention that a skilled person has to do the job).

    The ‘Washington Post’ article also misuses the term ‘standard breed’. What they meant to say was a common or ordinary breed.

    A standard breed is any breed of animal bred to conform to a standard. The Standardbred* breed of horse was based on a performance standard: being able to trot or pace a mile under a certain time limit. In the case of poultry in the USA, the standards for each recognized breed is published in a book, the ‘Standard of Perfection’, along with beautiful color images of the ideal for each breed, color, and pattern. The beauty and variety is amazing!

    In poultry, the term ‘standard’ also refers to the original full-sized breed, not the ornamental miniature ‘bantam’ version that has been developed for nearly every breed; though there are a few breeds that were developed as bantams. If you want to see an amazingly beautiful bird, look up the Seabright. It comes in either ‘golden’ (tannish brown) or ‘silver’ (white) varieties, with each feather lying close to the body, giving the bird a sleek look. Each feather is outlined, or ‘laced’, in black. Arguably more beautiful than most parrots, and no as loud!

    *Conventionally, breed names are not capitalized unless the breed is named after a place (Arabian horse), or a person (Doberman, Seabright). However, we feel that capitalizing breed names makes sense, and so we do.

  7. Laura says:

    Wow I’m finally cool and don’t really care!! I enjoy my chickens and ducks and love sharing their eggs and listening to the crowing and clucking and quacking! Such fun to collect their eggs and see all the pretty shades of brown and an occasional blue egg!

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