June 9, 2016

Billionaire advises poor people to raise chickens.

Bill Gates writes "Why I Would Raise Chickens."

"would" = if he were "living on $2 a day."

80 comments:

M Jordan said...

I didn't read the piece but, sorry, Bill, you lost me about 20 years ago. Go save the world but please don't moralize to me while you're doing it.

Darrell said...

I can believe that Bill Gates chokes the chicken.

Henry said...

Heifer International seems to be a really well-designed charity. I've made it one of our prime donation targets the last few years. The kids get to choose the animals.

n.n said...

The incredible, edible egg.

traditionalguy said...

Eat Mor Chikkin.

coupe said...

If you like barking dogs all day and all night, you will love chickens...

rhhardin said...

I had 8 roosters that some egg hobby guy secretly dropped off one night, that lived on for a few years. They wandered around. There were no ticks, was the chief effect for me.

Fights broke out for no reason from time to time.

The dog learned not to chase them and peace otherwise reigned.

Nonapod said...

Clearly more moral superiority and unsolicited advice from billionaires is just what the poor of the world need. Billionaires know best.

Not sure if it's feasible in many situations that a poor person may find themselves in, but I'm not opposed to the idea of raising your own chickens.


Ron Winkleheimer said...

I have a relative that has a couple of grandkids that did 4H projects involving chickens. You buy the chicks (20 if I recall correctly) from the 4H raise them for a few months and then bring 6 back to sell at an auction.

From what I observed, Bill is underestimating the difficulty/expense of raising the chicks.

The chicks had to be kept under a heat lamp at first and you had to include a bunch of medicine in their food (chicks need to be fed special food) to keep them from getting a variety of diseases.

Once the got old enough they went free range with a coop to go into at night, and would eat practically anything, bugs, leftovers, etc. But the first few weeks strike me as a pretty expensive.

But poor people have and do raise chickens, so I'm guessing they are using a hardier breed.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

If you like barking dogs all day and all night, you will love chickens...

The problem my relative ran into was teaching the dogs to not chase and attempt to eat the chickens.

FullMoon said...

Follow the link, read the thing, and Gates will give a flock of chickens to poor Africans. Seems like a no-brainer to me.

Bruce Hayden said...

I think that it was that heifer group that we contributed to a couple years ago. Brother and sister-in-law have essentially eschewed Christmas presents for awhile now, and instead ask us to pick one of their charities to contribute to. This was the most innocuous one. For example, the environmental one had strong ties to the AGW movement, and one of the last places I wanted to send my money was to support the AGW hoaxers (enough of my tax money is going there already).

The problem with this in this country though is that we have food stamps, school lunches, etc, which tend to provide far more than that $2 a day to its intended recipients. The problem here, for the most part is that our poor are obese, and not starving. They have the money from us to eat decently, just not the knowledge and self discipline to do so.

madAsHell said...

Before he wandered off to Lakeside, he attended View Ridge elementary. He would re-shelve books in the library during recess because he got tired of picking wedgies out of his ass. Listen to him today, and you can understand why he was picked on.

Quaestor said...

The problem here, for the most part is that our poor are obese, and not starving.

Doubt this? Visit your local Walmart.

Fernandinande said...

At $2/day, Gates has enough money to live for about 54 million years.

dreams said...

To which I say chicken shit.

Fernandinande said...

Bruce Hayden said...
The problem here, for the most part is that our poor are obese, and not starving. They have the money from us to eat decently, just not the knowledge and self discipline to do so.


Not just the US, but also Mexico (more-so, IIRC) and much of the developing world.

sapinker -> "Ingenious study uses lottery winners to see whether wealth causes health or vice-versa. Probably mostly vice-versa http://goo.gl/zmSlnD"

MadisonMan said...

Follow the link, read the thing, and Gates will give a flock of chickens to poor Africans. Seems like a no-brainer to me.

You also have to sign up, or log in, or something, which means giving them your email, which means an avalanche of emails will follow.

No thanks.

Rae said...

Our church has sponsored a "sister parish" in Uganda for over 20 years. Over the years our contributions have helped to build an infirmary, a piggery and a new church. You can get a lot of charity "bang for your buck" in Africa.

Meanwhile a town 10 miles from me prohibits raising chickens in city limits.

dreams said...

Raising urban chickens has become a fad creating problems for city councils.

Chuck said...

If Scott Adams (a multi-millionaire) had written this instead of Bill Gates (a billionaire), would Althouse have thought it witty, clever and interesting?

Roy Lofquist said...

You're a real prince, Bill. A shining beacon to the oppressed. A billionaire with a heart of gold.

Of course he spent five time as much on the press conference as he did on the chickens.

dreams said...

"The problem here, for the most part is that our poor are obese, and not starving."

Obese but still malnourished.

Darrell said...

Tomorrow's Guardian headline--Billionaire Bill Gates To Poor--Let Them Eat Cock.

traditionalguy said...

Gates is out of his depth. I bet he also thinks Chickens can fly.

Chris N said...

Chickens may just have their reasons, Hardin.

Maybe if we do some data analysis, we can find out how long it might take to a mod urban trend like spreading goat feces on your garden to possibly become received wisdom at the Gates foundation.

If the trend has some validity and survives further analysis, of course.

Nonapod said...

Raising your own chickens allows you to avoid some of the ethical and nutritional qualms you may have with factory farming. You know exactly where you're getting your food from and whats going into it, if you care about that sort of thing.

In my experience though, these are the concerns of the affluent. Most poorer people in this country (and the rest of the developed world) probably aren't interested in going through all sorts of extra effort to acquire their food when it's far easier to just use some food stamps at the grocery store.

As many people have already pointed out, globally we already produce more than enough food for everybody, so any real starvation that still happens in the world is a political problem rather than a food scarcity problem. The larger issue these days is the overall nutritional value of the food that the poor do regularly eat. Obesity is now becoming a huge problem in places like rural China. Whether it's a matter of education or convenience, many poor people of the world eat mostly lots of high carb food of dubious nutritional value.

Roughcoat said...

Clearly more moral superiority and unsolicited advice from billionaires is just what the poor of the world need. Billionaires know best.

Celebrities, especially actors, are also important sources for moral instruction, politics, science, and how to live our lives.

dreams said...

I can remember my mother ordering baby chicks via the US mail and my brother told me that people still can order them that way.

iowan2 said...

Bill Gates is rich. But not because he is smart.
The idea is fine but the poor are poor because they can't plan ahead and they don't understand delayed gratification. The poor are not poor because of circumstances but because of bad choices. This explains why the New Deal and the Great Society never worked. You can't fix stupid.

Bob Boyd said...

A friend of mine, was raising chickens for a while. He had 25 to 30 birds at times, collecting the eggs and periodically slaughtering them for meat.
Plucking was the worst part, so he ordered a set of plans for a mechanical chicken plucker and asked me to help him build it. It was called the Whiz Bang Plucker. We built it from scratch using mostly salvaged materials, all except for the rubber fingers which he bought from Whiz Bang.
The darn thing worked pretty good. You could throw in two birds at once. If you'd scalded them properly the feathers would almost all be off in less than a minute.
The sound it made as the feathers came off was gruesome.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

From what I observed, Bill is underestimating the difficulty/expense of raising the chicks

Plus he discounts the multitudes of rules and regulations that will not allow you to raise chickens if you live in any type of city or suburb. Heck, you can't even have a vegetable garden on your property in some areas, much less a bunch of cackling crowing chickens.

We are fortunate to not live in those constipated city environs. No one cares if you raise chickens, graze goats, raise rabbits, have some cows or sheep on your property. I would love to raise chickens but I don't have chickens now, mainly because of the predators (foxes, raccoons, mountain lions, coyotes) that they attract and the huge amount of work to keep them healthy, safe and disease free. To build an adequate chicken coop that would be predator proof at night is VERRRY expensive.

I let other people in our area do this. We buy fresh eggs weekly from a neighbor. Poop still on the eggs! $2 a dozen. A bargain for us because they are $4 a doz at the little local grocery.

Chuck said...

I am asking for a friend...

Was there a single word of "moralizing" in Gates' blog post? I ask because Gates is being accused of pretending to "moral superiority" in some of the comments above.

Is there anything substantively wrong with Gates' suggestions? That is, something along the line of technical poultry-raising techniques.

Finally, a personal question for the proprietor(s) of the Althouse blog; how did you happen onto this story? Was it posted elsewhere by a politically-oriented blogger or commenter or aggregator, with the transparent intent of suggesting Haha, get this; billionaire Bill Gates tells poor people to raise chickens... ?

PB said...

Before Bill makes this kind of suggestion, he should have already raised some chickens himself and slaughtered a few to make his favorite chicken Alfredo. Until then, he should just STFU.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

To build an adequate chicken coop that would be predator proof at night is VERRRY expensive.

If I recall correctly the coop that my relatives built cost at least a couple of hundred dollars for materials and I don't think it is all the predator proof.

coupe said...

The problem is that most poor and rural people have no access to fresh healthy food.

If you've ever gone into a 7-11 and seen the high prices and low quality, you get to see what poor people have access to within walking distance.

No Walmart, no Piggly Wiggly, no fresh fruit and vegetables.

All they get is carbs and processed animal fat, and little protein, so they get fat and die of diabetes or strokes from high blood pressure.

Nonapod said...

iowan2 said... the poor are poor because they can't plan ahead and they don't understand delayed gratification. The poor are not poor because of circumstances but because of bad choices.

I agree. But to expand on this a bit, the poor also continue to make bad choices when they actually know better. The reasons for this says a lot about human nature.

For example, the percentage of smokers is much higher among those below the poverty line. Despite what some people may tell you, the reason for this isn't because poor people are unaware that smoking is unhealthy. It has much more to with the way people behave when they are constantly stressed and unhappy. Choosing to delay the small gratification of smoking is much more difficult under such circumstances.

You can extend this to food. When people are stressed and unhappy they're much more likely to choose delicious high carb low cost "comfort food" over healthier options. It becomes difficult to choose a salad over pizza if you've had a bad day, or bad week, or bad year.


Michael K said...

"Most poorer people in this country (and the rest of the developed world) probably aren't interested in going through all sorts of extra effort to acquire their food when it's far easier to just use some food stamps at the grocery store. "

When I was about 10 I was given 10 chicks and 2 ducks for an Easter present. That was not unusual then. My father rigged up a chicken house from an old doghouse and we raised the chickens and ducks. When summer came and the roosters were starting to crow and the hens to lay pullet eggs, I was sent off to a relatives summer hime in Wisconsin (We lived in Chicago).

When I got home two weeks later, the chickens and ducks were gone and I was told they had been sent down to the family farm, which belonged to my grandparents.

We had fried chicken a couple of times that week and it was years before I suspected anything.

cubanbob said...

"The larger issue these days is the overall nutritional value of the food that the poor do regularly eat. Obesity is now becoming a huge problem in places like rural China. Whether it's a matter of education or convenience, many poor people of the world eat mostly lots of high carb food of dubious nutritional value."

The poor are not that irrational. Those foods are the cheapest foods available. Rice is cheaper (and easier to store and keep) than fresh vegetables and fresh vegetables are cheaper than meats. In 1962 a year of communist famine there were very few fat people in rural China so it is an improvement.

Gates should just stick to his medical research foundation and keep his mouth shut.

Michael K said...

"The problem is that most poor and rural people have no access to fresh healthy food."

I doubt this about rural but I have lived in poor neighborhoods as a student and the issue there was theft.

Any business in a poor city neighborhood is subject to constant risk of theft, usually shoplifting but there is also the risk of violent robbery.

The cost of doing business is taken out of the quality and price of the products offered.

Plus, from time to time, the neighborhood is burned down. After the 1965 Watts Riot in Los Angeles, the area did not recover for 50 years.

In 1965, as Watts erupted in violent unrest, Tony Welton and his teenage friends walked by a market on Avalon Boulevard and Imperial Highway. They cursed it for the way it sold spoiled meat and rotten fruit to customers without the money or means to shop elsewhere.

The thought crossed their minds that they should burn it down.

They didn't have to light a match. The market was one of the first businesses destroyed as bands of rioters took control of the streets, attacking white motorists and torching buildings while snipers shot at firefighters who tried to tamp down the flames.

As he sat pushing knights and pawns across a chessboard two weeks ago at the Lancaster Senior Center, Welton, 68, reflected on how the events 50 years ago this week shifted and failed to shift the racial power equation in America.


They never figured it out and today blacks are still doing it.

Henry said...

Uh, folks, you do realize that Gates is talking about international poverty -- people living on less than $2 a day. And his foundation is focusing this effort on sub-Saharan Africa.

bagoh20 said...

My neighbor has chickens. They run around loose in his yard. A coyote ate one yesterday. They saw him running away with it, but he left the head behind, which I think was just rude. Coyotes don't have the same morals they used to.

Freeman Hunt said...

"Follow the link, read the thing, and Gates will give a flock of chickens to poor Africans. Seems like a no-brainer to me."

He is perfectly capable of giving the chickens without making the rest of us read his statements.

tim in vermont said...

Chickens are fun. Neighbor's dogs the big problem, shooting them causes rancor.

David said...

"He is perfectly capable of giving the chickens without making the rest of us read his statements."

Amen. Double Amen.

John said...

Otoh, the science wad settled ad all scientists believed that a malaria vaccine was impossible.

Gates called bs on the settled science and funded research.

We now have a malaria vaccine in large scale productio.

I will forgive Gates anything even windows, for thay

SOJO said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
DanTheMan said...

Get your chickens from Bill Gates. If they get sick, you just turn them off, and then back on again.

Fernandinande said...

coupe said...
The problem is that most poor and rural people have no access to fresh healthy food.


No, the problem is they prefer "junk" food:
Giving the Poor Easy Access to Healthy Food Doesn’t Mean They’ll Buy It
"In 2011, a 17,000-square-foot supermarket opened, aided by city money that paid some 40 percent of the costs of its construction. The neighborhood welcomed the addition, and perceived access to healthy food improved. But the diets of the neighborhood’s residents did not."

The USDA (or whatever) declared Boulder CO, a "food desert". What a joke.

Fernandinande said...

DanTheMan said...
Get your chickens from Bill Gates. If they get sick, you just turn them off, and then back on again.


The Blue Chicken of Death!

Jane the Actuary said...

Before I went to the link, I was all set to be outraged: "the $2-a-day poor live doubled-up in apartments. They don't have room to raise chickens!" But he's talking about the developing world. Still likely not as easy as he makes it out to be, but a different story. (We donated to Heifer a couple times; then I got tired of their endless glossy brochures.)

Here's my chicken story:

A while back, we were looking at my dad's old photo album. There he is, next to a dead dog. We ask him about that? Was it a family pet? He didn't look distressed at the loss of the animal.

Turns out, well, his family lived on a small farm just outside Denver in the 40s and 50s. Not much money. (Another story he tells starts with the fact that, since the bedrooms were unheated, when a kid got sick, they were allowed to sleep in the living room.) His mom raised chickens and counted on the egg money, but one day the neighbor's dog got in and killed all the chickens, so teenage or preteen Dad shot the dog with the rifle.

And that's before backyard chickens were hip.

tim in vermont said...

Chickens can be expensive, or not. You can buy some and let them hatch out a clutch now and then to replenish your flock, you can feed them a lot less bought food by letting them forage. I noticed that the eggs got smaller once they were not getting all the bugs once the fall came, and so I increased the food, but lots of stuff works to feed chickens.

I would advise getting a couple of geese to defend the flock from intruders, if you can stand the noise. None of that stuff works too well for city folks, and raising chickens in the city is expensive.

grackle said...

“Let them eat cake.” Modern version.

Alexander said...

Since kicking the British out of Nigeria, the population has increased four times over while food production has fallen by around 80%.

I'd try and give similar statistics about Nigeria, but then/now food productivity basically involves dividing by zero, so it's a little difficult.

Long story short: the non PC answer is that if you really want to feed people - if that is unambiguously your number one concern, then a better way than shipping chickens to Africa is begging Europeans to recolonize Africa and chipping in to pay for the costs of doing so.

Personally, I oppose such a measure, but not for reasons that would be applauded by progressives.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

I mean, I'm a pretty cynical person...but I guess I don't see what the problem with Gates' article (or position) is. It sounds like decent advice, overall.
Raising chickens isn't a panacea for poverty, but it might help some very poor people have easier lives, and charitable organizations that promote chicken-raising may be doing quite a lot of good.
What is the problem, here? The unfairness of Gates getting the platform to push this idea/his agenda? I don't get it--seems pretty OK to me.
(I 2nd the comments supporting Heifer International, they seem like a good organization and the kind of charity conservative-minded and/or religious-minded people of all stripes can get behind.)

HoodlumDoodlum said...

tim in vermont said...I would advise getting a couple of geese to defend the flock from intruders, if you can stand the noise.

And a couple of ducks to defend the geese, and a couple of emu to defend the ducks, and a couple of ostriches to defend the emu, and a couple of cassowary to defend them all/kill everything...where does it end, tim??

Wilbur said...

When they moved to the country (Westchester County, presumably), the Ricardo's and the Mertz's decided to raise chickens.

Hilarity ensued.

harrogate said...

Your headline is a lot better than his.

Birches said...

Gosh this comment section is in a bad mood today...

Wilbur said...

When I moved to Miami in 1986, I promptly noticed chickens and roosters in the neighborhood of the criminal courthouse, walking around freely.

It was explained to me that the environs were populated by newly-arrived Central and South Americans, and the city was too cash-strapped to do any code enforcement in residential areas.

Rockport Conservative said...

There are chickens in my upper middle class neighborhood. But not many of the poor, especially in cities, have space or time to raise chickens. In a great many neighborhoods it is also against the law. Gates lives in a bubble, surely he does not realize how big his bubble is.

Michael K said...

"if that is unambiguously your number one concern, then a better way than shipping chickens to Africa is begging Europeans to recolonize Africa and chipping in to pay for the costs of doing so."

I read a piece about someone in Zimbabwe recently. They stopped fr gas or something and a beggar came up to them. He asked for money. He told them there were not jobs. White men left.

tim in vermont said...

where does it end, tim?

The geese can defend themselves, or at least raise a big enough ruckus to bring you out with your shotgun.

tim in vermont said...

There are chickens wandering all over Key West. I don't think they cost anybody anything for years.

LCB said...

iowan2 said... the poor are poor because they can't plan ahead and they don't understand delayed gratification. The poor are not poor because of circumstances but because of bad choices.

That can be argued in many cases in the USA. But in much of Africa, where Bill Gates is trying to help, there just isn't all that much opportunity. Even if only 2 out of 10 people learn to manage a flock after they receive chicks or eggs, then improve their life, this will be a worthy effort.

And I don't care for Bill Gates! But I have to give credit where its due.

LCB said...

There are chickens wandering all over Key West. I don't think they cost anybody anything for years.

Chickens run wild in most or all of the Caribbean and, as someone pointed out, Miami. First time I visited the Bahamas I wondered why it smelled vaguely like a chicken coup when I got off of the plan. After a day, I knew. :-)

Fred Drinkwater said...

I nominate Bob's post about the Whiz Bang Chicken Plucker as the Intertube Post Of The Day.
And seriously, folks, where else but here can you read this quality stuff?
[ (pace Dave Barry), wouldn't that be a good name for a band? ]

Comanche Voter said...

New Hampshire Reds are pretty tasty. They are (or in the mid 50's when my brother and I had them) a roasting chicken breed. We were 12 and 13 years old The family lived on a 2 acre property in the San Diego suburbs. We bought 100 baby chicks and raised them until they were about 8 pounds or so. We then slaughtered them, plucked them, and got them ready for the freezer/meat locker. We ate a lot of chicken that year.

Am 8 pound chicken on the hoof as it were translates into about a five and half pound chicken cleaned and ready to cook. Back in those days most of the chickens you could buy in the supermarket weighed three or maybe four pounds. Which is why you still see cookbook recipes calling for a three to three and a half pound chicken. Which is unobtainiuim these days--those supermarket whole bodied fryers all go five pounds or more. That's progress I suppose.

But my brother and I certainly learned where meat comes from. (Earlier we had lived in a small town in Washington state, and Dad bought three young steers we raised in a rented pasture---until the steers made that trip to the meat locker. We ate a lot of beef that
year.)

Roy Lofquist said...

Freeman Hunt said

"He is perfectly capable of giving the chickens without making the rest of us read his statements."

Here's what he means:

http://espn.go.com/golf/columns/story?id=2756572&columnist=verdi_bob

Gordon said...

If I recall correctly, Gates grew up in a household that raised animals for food. His comment was, 'The lamb's name was always Lambchop so we would remember."

Nancy Reyes said...

Let me give you some background. 40 years ago, I worked in rural Africa as a doc, and we had a nutrition village to feed up malnourished kids and teach moms to supplement their diets. Part of the outreach was selling baby chicks...
Local chickens were mean, laid eggs in the bushes, and had few eggs. We imported hybrid chickens, to be kept in a cage so the eggs didn't get broken by predators. One egg a day would keep the 3 year old from dying of kwashiorkor. And we gave classes how to do this.
We got our funds from Oxfam.
He is funding something that will help, as long as the money goes to organizations that already do this work.
One problem: In Asia, backyard chickens have been banned due to Birdflu.
Other "backyard" protein sources include rabbits (which we also used) or Cuys, aka guinea pigs, which a Colombian charity is promoting in the Congo. These are raised indoors as a protein source in the Andes.

tim in vermont said...

I have been thinking about meat rabbits, I built my coop from a plan for rabbits. I might do it while my daughter is away. We have so many cottontails I have been thinking of setting snares.

I think what Gates is doing is good.

tim in vermont said...

Conrad Dobler! I used to manage a restaurant and he complained to me that one of my staff had a bad attitude! When I told the kid he was so proud. He was a huge fan. He was probably trying to impress Dobler.

Bob Boyd said...

Thank you, Fred.
Often times a comment is like a message in a bottle. You never know if anyone read it.

Rhythm and Balls said...

The most important foundations for a good life, no matter how wealthy you are, are good nutrition and good education.

Being able to sustain oneself, especially while stewarding the land, is noble.

We can survive without skyscrapers and multinational banks. We can't survive without food.

iowan2 said...

Several comments have pointed out that this is in Africa, not the US. True, but the same anylisis of Gates applies.

The world has enough food. One would think one of the richest men on the planet would know that. So, providing food is not the solution.

Government is the problem. Funny that. But money cant fix government. Govt says that's the solution but it never is.(see Venezuela)

Freedom and liberty is the answer, but governments abhor allowing the people to make the laws they live under.

jr565 said...

I was looking for houses in the poconos about a year ago, and a lot of the houses had chicken coups. Really nice houses upscale homes had a chicken coup in the back. It was really weird and not what I expected. Maybe some people who have a little money raise chickens just in case the world is going to end.

But, raising chickens requires enough land to put a coup on. Wha about all the city dwellers who live in tiny apartments? They're probably the one who would most need to live on two dollars a day and also the ones least likely to have place for a chicken coup. So, while good advice, is it practical advice?

Henry said...

@iowan2: One way to think of Heifer, the charity the Bill Gates is supporting, is that it gives poor people their own property.

mikee said...

Why raise just chickens when guinea hens and peacocks and cassowaries exist?

Gahrie said...

Maybe some people who have a little money raise chickens just in case the world is going to end.

Or prefer fresh eggs. By the way, it is "coop" not "coup". (sorry, I am a teacher)