NEWS OF THE WEIRD

Backyard Barnyard

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The Department of Agriculture reported recently that in four of America's largest cities — New York, Miami, Los Angeles and Denver — nearly one home out of 100 keeps chickens either for a fresh egg supply or as pets, giving rise to chicken services such as Backyard Poultry magazine, MyPetChicken.com and Julie Baker's Pampered Poultry store. Among the most popular products are strap-on cloth diapers for times when owners bring their darlings indoors, i.e., cuddle their "lap chickens." Also popular are "saddles" for roosters, to spare hens mating injuries — owing to roosters' brutal horniness, sometimes costing hens most or all of their back feathers from a single encounter.

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