Undoubtedly we are amidst a chicken craze. Between questionable food supply during the COVID-19 pandemic and the insane egg prices seen earlier this year, many folks are beginning to develop their backyard flocks, and understandably so. Chickens are a relatively easy-to-maintain protein producer,  require minimal equipment and space, and are a considerably smaller investment. Adding a few layers or some broilers to the backyard made sense for folks looking to become more self-sufficient.   This isn’t the first time folks have turned to chickens, and certainly not the first for the settlement school. Check out this article from the Pine Cone in 1943.


“With meat rationing and rising prices on eggs, Pine Mountain is going to purchase five hundred baby chicks. 

The school is getting ready to make room for five hundred baby chicks which will be bought [as] soon as their new house has been constructed.  Blue-prints have already been drawn for the brooder house which will be twelve by fourteen feet. 

It will be located on the north side of the road [the road to Line Fork] near where the other chicken house used to be.

In another five to ten weeks, a larger house will be built to make more room for them as they grow larger.  In the meantime, the students should not grow impatient, for it is just a streak of luck to have chickens again. In the three preceding years it was impossible to have them because of a disease which kills them, and which remains in the soil for several years afterward. “


Today, we are modeling small-scale poultry production on a mountain farm with layers and broilers. We will demonstrate both enterprises in our upcoming farm tour on June 8th and during Fair Day on September 23rd. Returning to our roots and showing our neighbors production practices that can put food on their table and fill their freezers is the heart of Grow Appalachia and the heart of our Agriculture and Sustainable Food System work at Pine Mountain Settlement School.