Chickens | St. Louis Public Radio

Chickens

St. Louis resident Erica Camp and her spent hen, Jo, at the Autism Behavioral Spectrum School in Ballwin, Missouri in August 2019.
Eli Chen | St. Louis Public Radio

At the Autism and Behavioral Spectrum School in Ballwin, Missouri, a woman with purple-streaked black hair walked in with a stroller containing a plump, white chicken. 

Erica Camp brought Jo the chicken to meet a few dozen children, who petted and held Jo in their laps. The visit is part of Camp’s efforts to spread word about her organization, Second Hen’d, which helps people adopt older chickens from commercial farms that don’t want them anymore. 

Jo, a spent hen from a commercial egg producer, is one of 180 hens that Camp has saved since starting Second Hen’d last year. Owning hens can be therapeutic, she said.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 11, 2013 - Twenty-two years ago, when Merryl Winstein began raising chickens in her own Webster Groves backyard, the practice brought up certain words for some people -- like low-class.

“Now, there are other words,” says Winstein, “like sustainability, low-carbon footprint and green living.”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Twenty-two years ago, when Merryl Winstein began raising chickens in her own Webster Groves backyard, the practice brought up certain words for some people -- like low-class.

“Now, there are other words,” says Winstein, “like sustainability, low-carbon footprint and green living.”

In the more than two decades since her first chickens began laying their first eggs, a lot has changed. Raising backyard chickens is seen, by many, as sustainable and a way to have some control over their food source.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Aug. 14, 2012 - Carlos Villarreal is a photo lab manager, and his wife, Jeri, is an IT worker. Each morning before heading to their day jobs, and again in late afternoon, they take on the roles of urban farmers, cultivating and harvesting vegetables grown on a lot that they own in the 4500 block of Delmar Boulevard.