Term of the Week: Plymouth Barred Rock

Who you callin’ chicken? It’s a Plymouth Barred Rock chicken, that’s who. I recently went to a great outdoor seminar at Soil Born Farms (3000 Hurley Way) on “Backyard Chicken Husbandry.” Does it sound like a matchmaking class? Perhaps. I’m hoping to make a match between my backyard and some egg-laying hens very soon. The guy who led the class recommended the Plymouth Barred Rocks as a good breed as far as temperament and egg production.

Plymouth Rock chickens were developed in New England in the 19th century. They come in different varieties, “barred” indicating the bi-color feather arrangement. Their eggs are pinkish to light brown, and they’re described as “infrequent brooders; good mothers.” I wish I could say the same of myself sometimes! Actually, a “brooding” chicken is one who stops laying, but this can be helpful if you just want a hen to raise chicks. They’re considered easy to handle and may even sit in your lap.

The dilemma, of course, is Sacramento’s unfortunate law against keeping backyard chickens. However, on September 21st at 3 p.m., the City Council will take a vote on legalizing these concealed weapons of insect terror. Go down to City Hall that day to speak out for our right to own chickens. What with the recent egg recall due to salmonella and the terrible conditions that most egg-layers endure, keeping a couple of hens is good for your health–and theirs.

Our unfeathered friends at CLUCK (Campaign for Legalizing Urban Chicken Keeping) have been encouraging citizens to call their City Council member, write a letter to the newspaper, and attend a hearing. Now’s your chance. If you’re going to eat eggs (and chicken meat), what better way to eat locally than to get them from your own yard? Just make sure to keep those noisy roosters out of the neighborhoods.

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