The News from Chicken Town

Every morning when I open up the window by the table where we eat, I hear the news from Chicken Town. It’s an all-day broadcast, and not unpleasant.

But let me give you a touch of background.

We had a controversy in the neighborhood, like those happening all over Victoria, where a developer wants to over-build and neighbors try to change the plan or stop it. There’s a massive housing crisis here, and it’s a complicated problem that I won’t go into, but one could say that the thing that happened on our block was a special case.

Our neighborhood is unique in the city, for its many old mansions and large houses that for many years have been divided up into rental apartments. A year or so ago, the owner of the property next to the building we live in wanted to build a huge number of new units, and there were legal issues, and a coalition of neighbors who protested, and all of that was not so unusual. But when the owner lost the battle, she decided instead to bring in some chickens.

There’s a quirk in the city’s chicken bylaw which, for some reason, allows people to keep as many chickens as it takes to lay two eggs per resident per day. The owner of that property has 50 residents in her building, so she brought in a hundred chickens—no small number for an urban area—and established what I like to call Chicken Town. From Chicken Town comes a lot of squawking. The neighbors are displeased, and the property owner seems to be having her revenge.

So, while somehow the city is allowing a hundred hens in a single urban yard, like similar municipal chicken bylaws, they don’t allow roosters. Lots of squawking, but no cock-a-doodle-do.

Curiously, the places in the city where roosters are allowed, are certain doctors’ offices, that offer special therapies, and sometimes dental offices. My information is purely anecdotal, I admit, but a number of times now I have happened upon some of these offices and I can’t help but notice the pattern: one youngish, attractive male doctor, who occasionally struts around, among a fleet of (mostly) younger, attractive females, who carry out most of the daily business. Have you ever been to an office like this? I shouldn’t be surprised. There must be millions.

I’ve been a patron to three such places in the last few years, and I have benefitted from their services, and I would not suspect anything nefarious or me-too-ish in any of them. Still and all, this phenomenon is a clear figment of the patriarchy. Justify it all you want, I bet you will never see an office with reverse dynamics: a lead female, with a fleet of young, attractive males (sometimes in matching uniforms) running most of the operations. I wonder if there is such a place anywhere in the world. If there is, I’d like to see it.

That would really be news.

Jenny Jaeckel is the author of House of Rougeaux, available in print, audio and ebook. Narrated by award-winning Bahni Turpin.

Publishers Weekly called House of Rougeaux a “rich tapestry of a novel” in their starred review.

Find out more on the publisher’s site.