Chickens.  Who knew that being a redneck who has kept chickens for years would become a status symbol?  According to a new piece in the Washington Post, people in Silicon Valley are keeping chickens…  but not to produce inexpensive eggs.

In true Silicon Valley fashion, chicken owners approach their birds as any savvy venture capitalist might: By throwing lots of money at a promising flock (spending as much as $20,000 for high-tech coops). By charting their productivity (number and color of eggs). And by finding new ways to optimize their birds’ happiness — as well as their own.

Like any successful start-up, broods aren’t built so much as reverse engineered. Decisions about breed selection are resolved by using engineering matrices and spreadsheets that capture “YoY growth.” Some chicken owners talk about their increasingly extravagant birds like software updates, referring to them as “Gen 1,” “Gen 2,” “Gen 3” and so on. They keep the chicken brokers of the region busy finding ever more novel birds.

I get it.  I have a flock of chickens here at my northern California ranch, and I love the fresh eggs.  But these Silicon Valley chickens eat better than human beings:

While the rest of the nation spends $15 on an ordinary chicken at their local feed store, Silicon Valley residents might spend more than $350 for one heritage breed, a designation for rare, nonindustrial birds with genetic lines that can be traced back generations. They are selecting for desirable personality traits (such as being affectionate and calm — the lap chickens that are gentle enough for a child to cuddle), rarity, beauty and the ability to produce highly coveted, colored eggs.

All of it happens in cutting-edge coops, with exorbitant veterinarian bills and a steady diet of organic salmon, watermelon and steak.

Also, they live better than most humans.  Some of the Silicon Valley chicken owners create coops that actually match the style and construction of their homes — some are wired for electricity and have pipes for water. They install video cameras so the owners can watch their chickens when they’re not outside, and they have apps and solar panels to control the details of the coop.

Okay, but here’s the kicker:

It’s not uncommon here to see chickens roaming in their owners’ homes or even roosting in bedrooms, often with diapers on, according to Leslie Citroen, 54, one of the Bay Area’s most sought after “chicken whisperers,” who does everything from selling upscale chickens and building coops to providing consultation to backyard bird owners. Her services cost $225 an hour. Want a coop and walk-in pen (known as a run)? You can expect to pay $4,000 to $5,000 for a standard setup.

“Diapers” for chickens? Now that’s messed up.  Really messed up.

Here’s the question: now that chickens are the ultimate lefty status symbol, do I have to give up my flock?

Image Credit: PX Here

About The Author

Mark Meckler

Mark was a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, and served as the national coordinator. He left the organization to work more broadly on expanding the self-governance movement beyond the partisan divide. Mark appears regularly on television in outlets as diverse as MSNBC, ABC, NBC, Fox News, CNN, Bloomberg, Fox Business and the BBC. He’s highly sought after for the tea party perspective from print and electronic media outlets, from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, L.A. Times, Washington Examiner, Politico and the The Hill. Mark blogs at MarkMeckler.com, and his opinion editorials regularly run in many of the leading political newspapers both on and offline. Mark has a BA in English from San Diego State University and graduated with honors from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1988. He practiced real estate and business law for almost a decade. For the last eleven years of his legal career he specialized in Internet advertising law. When not fighting for the future of our nation, Mark is an avid horseman, and lives in rural northern California with his wife Patty and two children.