Michael S. Almony Comments on Speculation of Raising Hens at White House

A recent report reveals that while raising backyard chickens may prove beneficial, one White House staff member believes it to be an unlikely development. Michael S. Almony, avid hen raiser, comments on this inquiry.

A recent article from the Mother Nature Network begs the question, "Will the White House embrace backyard chickens?" While Michelle Obama has remained adamant about health and the nutritional benefits of developing gardens, White House Executive Pastry Chef Bill Yosses doubts the possibility that chickens will be seen around the historic property's exterior. The article reports that members of the Association of Food Journalists recently took a tour of the White House's vegetable gardens, during which Yosses was asked about the possibility of backyard chickens. Although chicken coops remain to be seen at the White House for a variety of reasons, backyard chicken expert Michael S. Almony is encouraged by the attention such a question draws.

Michael S. Almony, author of Hen Houses, explains, "The gardens at the White House have proven to boost national awareness of health and the benefits associated with natural practices. If chickens were allowed to roost at the White House, I imagine a larger percent of the population would become interested in the practice."

The article explains some of the benefits of raising hens, many of which Yosses has considered. It states, "Benefits of keeping the birds extend beyond their eggs. Not only do the birds devour kitchen scraps and produce useful manure - but they're also skilled at reducing garden pests that might otherwise be treated with chemicals." Yosses comments, "I would love it. But there's so much scrutiny in the White House, it has to be something (unprovocative), like a garden. It's jaw-dropping isn't it? We live in a warped world."

While the article does address some concerns from animal rights activists, Michael S. Almony notes that the practice is one that improves health and benefits families. He states, "While there are activists who believe raising hens is inhumane, the practice is one that offers a myriad of benefits for both the owner and the chicken. When it comes down to it, raising backyard chickens for eggs is right on par with organic gardening and cruelty-free farming trends; you know where your eggs are coming from, and you know how your chickens are treated."

The article explains that in the unlikely event that the White House were to welcome hens, "staff will also have to comply with D.C. backyard chicken rules, which require residents to apply for a permit (including gaining neighbors' approval), as well as pass an inspection." In response, Michael S. Almony notes that any individuals considering the practice of raising hens should first consult their local regulations and follow proper steps to maintain the health and safety of both residents and animals.


Michael S. Almony is the author of Hen Houses, a book on how to properly care for backyard chickens. Almony has raised backyard chickens since he was eight and coached other individuals on how to legally raise their own hens. Almony is a New York Times best-selling author and a culinary expert.


Categories: Animal Rights

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