Why A Chicken Coop at an OBGYN Office?
Some of you have correctly deduced that it was because it was vetoed in my backyard. Having one at our office, however, allows it to be a community effort, and we can even share it digitally with you through our website (smells better that way). I have found there are similar reasons people have a backyard coop:
- It’s fun to collect fresh eggs. A backyard chicken egg is lower in cholesterol and higher in omega-3 fatty acids. It looks, acts, and some say tastes, different.
- I agree with Tour d’Coop organizer, M’Liss Koopman, that it is rewarding sharing it with kids (see her essay here).
- There are some great looking chickens out there. Most breeds are rated as either good meat birds or good layers. Our birds are neither. They are of the fancy pants pretty varieties of Polish (top hat), Frizzle (looks like she just got out of the shower) and Silkies (fuzzy like rabbit fur). I first became interested in having some poultry after reading Barbara Kingsolver’s book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. In it, she describes a year long experiment of moving her family to the family farm and trying their best to eat local and in season. It’s hard to do, and a fun read. After that I read The Omnivore’s Dilemma, by Michael Pollan. This is a much larger tome and somewhat less engaging, but a very in depth interesting read suggesting that we really should think about what we eat and where it comes from. There is something wonderful about walking out to your chicken coop, collecting some eggs and eating them. You have a direct connection to your food source. Now, don’t get the idea that this is an inexpensive way to get eggs. I figure in about 20-30 years we’ll break even on our investment.
- I am fond of the term, locavore. That is what you are if you like the concept of farm to table. Think NC chefs Ashley Christensen and Vivian Howard. Eating local, and purchasing local, (our coop was built by the company of a long time patient at our practice, Ms Lynn Tucker) just feels good.
- Sustainability, self reliance and learning about animal husbandry are all part of this chicken experience. Dr Kamm grew up on a farm in Iowa and has taught me a lot about how to care for animals. I like that.
- Emotional ownership for a project has value. It’s fun for the doctors and the staff to be involved together on this project. We welcome you to follow our progress online through our “koop kams.” In the future I plan to reach out to people/entities in town that embody these principles and have some fun with it. We hope you will too!
— Dr. Mike Smith