chickens as status symbol

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!

Ummm….why?

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 Comments

  1. Laura April 7, 2018
    • Austin Johnson April 9, 2018
  2. Ann Onymous April 8, 2018
    • Austin Johnson April 9, 2018
  3. Lisa Steele April 14, 2018
    • Austin Johnson April 26, 2018
  4. Frankie April 14, 2018
  5. Frankie April 14, 2018
    • Austin Johnson April 26, 2018
  6. Amy April 30, 2018
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