John’s Blog 3     Keep a Chicken and Save the World!    

 Doing good and being rewarded, right now, is rare, so read on!

 If you act locally, and you help your friend do the same, you can join a movement and change the world.

Right now there is a lot to complain about, especially about factory-farmed food, but there is also a groundswell of change.


And a lot of people are on your side, because keeping chickens actually matters a lot.

Uncle Sam gave the USA government’s famous call to duty “to keep chickens” 1917

Bill and Belinda Gates 2016

The Australian Governments, Federal, State and Local  “right now”

River Cottage’s Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall 2013


Keeping pet chickens makes you a change agent for better food

Pet chickens are on the front line of the current good food wars. Consider that pet laying hens provide the best home-grown food, recycle kitchen greens to reduce dump waste, and offer low food miles.


Pet chickens are a key to the growth of ethical treatment for food animals.

Keeping chicks in a non-caged environment underlines the ethical treatment of food animals. Every chicken you keep is one less industrially kept chicken.


Pet chickens are the immediate local step for global change right now.

It is a step you can fit into your life now, giving you healthier, happier, fresher eggs from healthier, happier hens.

Bill Gates is talking about it. In fact Bill and Belinda Gates donated 100 000 chickens to their “Coop Dreams, Can a Chicken Save the World?” project.



Bill Gates launched Coop Dreams  in  June 7, 2016

Keeping two chickens in your own backyard is an equally good place to start world change. A chicken is the world’s most populous bird at 19 billion (The Private Life of Chickens BBC Nature Documentary 2010.) Dream about a better world, but act locally, now. Our soils need recycled pasture manure, not chemical fertilizer, to replace the good minerals and vegetable matter routinely taken off the farm and out of backyards as timber, meat, grain, vegetables, and lawn clippings. Current research is just beginning to show what permaculturalists have long believed, chemical fertilizer degrades soil and plant biodiversity (BBC 1 May 2009).

If every backyard had a couple of chickens then the massive industrial agri-business food system would face a revolution from people that knew of, and demanded, a better way.

As ‘River Cottage’ guru Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall says ‘you take a step away from anonymous, soulless, mass-produced, poor quality food, and towards the satisfaction and fulfillment of a more self-reliant approach to feeding yourself and your family (River Cottage Handbook 11, Chicken and Eggs, 2013, Introduction).

Keeping Chickens Matters

The Australian Commonwealth Government fact sheet on keeping chickens wants you to keep backyard chickens. (Department of Industry, Innovation and Science accessed March 27, 2016)

Your local Australian Council is usually keen on a few chooks, with some rules and mostly no roosters. (Often worded as something like ‘roosters are all right, but only if no-one complains’, followed by a hyper-link to a noisy birds initial complaint form.)


The attraction of keeping chickens is overwhelming on so many fronts, in the areas of health, authenticity, ethics and food integrity, keeping chickens makes sense. But especially in the emotional dimension it just feels ‘right’ to a growing number of people.


The gentle cluck of hens is the soundtrack of the better garden, for companionship in gardening, and one more reason to be outside. Enjoy being in a garden where kitchen greens are deliciously recycled into fresh eggs. And the gift keeps giving, as great chicken manure compost assists your garden fruit and vegies grow.

And they are affectionate, entertaining and pretty pets. My story, where three of my four children keep chickens and who are now also engaging their friends into chicken friendly lives, can be your story too.