The Return of the Chicken Coop
Chicken coops in back yards were a common sight until the 1980’s. Convenience was fast becoming the order of the day and chicken keeping looked set to die out. But something changed in the noughties. Chickens were making a comeback and it is a trend that has continued. So what sparked the triumphal return of chicken coops ?
Chicken Coops - From Loadsmoney to No Money
By the time that Harry Enfield was regaling us all with "Loadsamoney", Britain was in the grip of a social revolution. We had become increasingly materialistic and image conscious. Convenience was key and the yuppie generation certainly didn’t want to get their hands dirty. The Good Life was a forgotten sitcom not an aspiration. Fast-forward twenty years and the nation was having a major rethink. had quickly become no money when the financial crisis took hold. Our excesses were being put firmly under the microscope and many people looked to the past for a way forward. Chicken coops were the new BMW’s!
Profit or Pleasure?
The recession and rising food prices were seriously impacting lifestyles. Self-sufficiency suddenly seemed like a pretty cool idea. More and more people started growing their own vegetables and the next step was keeping chickens. In truth there never has been much to gain financially from keeping chickens but it transpired that for many it was a pleasure. Chickens may not have been saving anyone a fortune but they enjoyed having them around and loved the taste of the fresh eggs.
Catching the Bug
The self-sufficiency bug hasn’t infected everyone yet but its spread has been
aided in recent years by a series of food scandals. Not to mention several revelations about the unedifying practices of the big supermarkets and food producers. We have discovered that we really don’t know what is in our food and that mountains of vegetables are being thrown away because they are the wrong size or shape. We were especially horrified by the plight of battery hens. No wonder then, that a little DIY has started to look appealing.
There is no way of knowing how many of our gardens now feature chicken coops. If you keep less than 50 chickens and are not a commercial farmer you don’t need to register your livestock so there are no accurate statistics available. However, it is possible that there are now as many as 750,000 homes in the UK which have chickens in their gardens.
Far from losing momentum, chicken keeping is a trend that continues to gather
pace. We are now valuing quality over convenience and seeing the wisdom of the old ways. Chickens are just a part of a major move towards doing more ourselves rather than taking the easy route.
Not that keeping chickens is difficult. Most people have no trouble with maintaining chicken coops with a few birds in their back yard. It isn’t for everyone but if you have the time and space then it can be a very rewarding aspect of your life.