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.

Fifth graders at The Soulard School take turns feeding and caring for chickens in the school's yard.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On a recent sunny-side-up morning, Seth Jansen delivered two lively hens and a rental coop to Anne Miller’s home in Olivette.

Miller smiled nervously as Jansen showed her how to hold a chicken.

“Hi, little friend,’’ Miller cheerfully told her new backyard guest. “We’re going to have to get to know each other. And then we’ll come up with a name, because I can’t just call you Chicken One and Chicken Two.”

(Wake Forest University)

If there’s one thing I hate to do as a writer is repeat myself. I don’t like to say the same thing over and over again.

But sometimes, stories are so compelling and just don’t seem to die. So, I find that I have to retread familiar ground just a little bit.

This time, it’s women in corporate America.

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

For those who have forgotten our high school French, that handy phrase translates to: "The more things change, the more they stay the same."

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.