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The Backyard Chook: Australia’s Enduring Nest Egg



Demand for backyard chooks, as they are known in Australia, soared in New South Wales (NSW) during the COVID-19 pandemic. In times of crisis, Australians have repeatedly turned to backyard poultry in pursuit of food security. In turn, backyard poultry rearing preserves galline breed diversity and population health, as industrial chicken producers rely on a small number of hyperprolific bloodlines owned by multinational companies. This article examines backyard chicken keeping in NSW during the pandemic to argue that chooks provide companionship, an economical and nutritious protein source, and a sense of existential security in uncertain times.