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Homesteading and Livestock

Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.

Uncle Sam Wants You to Raise Chickens

… Or he did, back in 1918, as this poster illustrates.

WW I Chicken PosterFunny how things change, isn’t it? These days, people have to fight and petition and beg and plead in many municipalities to get their government to let them keep a few backyard hens. And even when city leaders permit it, they lay out complicated rules about how many, where and how the birds must be housed. And please! No roosters!

 As the poster so rightly points out, two hens per person will keep a family in eggs. The flock will take minimal effort, cost little and provide plenty of enjoyment, because chickens are fun to watch.

City life, with its sirens, alarms, cars with stereos blaring heart-stopping bass throbbing, could do with a little of the natural beauty of a rooster’s sunrise crowing. Suburbs could also benefit.

But a few hens don’t make much noise anyway. So I can’t understand the objections.

If this was sound advice from our national government in 1918, it’s surely good advice today.

This poster might be just the tool you need if you’re trying to persuade your local council or city leaders that you have the right to keep a few hens in your backyard.

Robin Mather is a senior associate editor at MOTHER EARTH NEWS and the author of The Feast Nearby, a collection of essays and recipes from her year of eating locally on $40 a week. In her spare time, she is a hand-spinner, knitter, weaver, homebrewer, cheese maker and avid cook who cures her own bacon. Find her on .

amber anderson
12/7/2011 3:17:27 PM

right click it and save as picture. :)

amber anderson
12/7/2011 3:16:56 PM

I love the poster too! You can right click it and save as a picture! :)

rc smith
11/22/2011 6:05:57 PM

I love it! Seems our government has taken on a different role than it had back in 1918. We are considering chickens for the first time. Seems to really make more and more sense to grow as much of our own food locally as is possible.

joseph pond
11/22/2011 1:22:39 AM

But where can I get copies of this poster?? I LOVE it and would love to spread it around!

julie adolf
11/21/2011 7:25:32 PM

Love this poster! We added six chickens to our suburban backyard, and I can't tell you how much our family enjoys them! When our animal-obsessed daughter begged for chickens, I was her partner in crime--but I warned her that she would be cleaning the coop, getting up early to care for them before school, and making the girls a priority. It has been a fabulous experience--our daughter is an awesome "chicken mama," and we get the benefits of free range, organic eggs!