To Steal or Not to Steal… The Neighborhood Chicken

First, let me introduce you to the neighborhood chicken.

And no, the chicken in my lovely featured image is not the actual neighborhood chicken. But, I digress.

The chicken is a girl…and the girl has no name. (Forgive me; I am a die-hard Game of Thrones fan and simply could not resist.) Also, none of the neighbors know who really owns her. I will go ahead and admit to performing some subtle backyard spying, looking for a chicken coop, but to no avail. She likes to wander the neighborhood and divest the yards of their delicious (at least to a chicken) insect snacks.

Second, let me explain why I decided to blog about the potential theft of said chicken.

I am currently studying for a final exam in Media Ethics taught by the technology start-up loving Dr. Kathy Sohar at the University of Florida, and decided what better way to show the practical application of ethics, then by working through a difficult personal question using the 5WH model from class.

Should I steal the neighborhood chicken?

What’s Your Problem?

I kinda want to steal the chicken. No joke. Free range eggs are crazy expensive and delicious. Yep. That pretty much sums up my problem.

Why Not Follow the Rules?

The rule here is pretty cut and dried. Stealing is a crime. The why not’s are a little more varied.

Egg prices of cage free and pastured (is a yard considered a pasture? I’m going to say yes) chickens are exorbitant. Standard run of the mill non-organic caged commercially sold eggs are running about $2.09 a dozen at Publix. Organic, pastured eggs are coming in at a much higher $5 to $9 a dozen range.

Ok, we need to take a moment. $9 A DOZEN.

This matters because I am a frugal, full time working, full time schooling single mama who has a kid that loves eggs. I also love healthy, unprocessed foods. I feel that healthy unprocessed foods should be readily available to the public, and not at an inflated price point. I think it is ridiculous that reverting to “old-fashioned” methods of farming is now more expensive and restrictive than farming governed by the industrial model.

In short, if I stole the potentially owner-less chicken, I would have my own supply of free-range eggs as long as I can convince the chicken to hang out in the backyard of my condo.

Who Wins, Who Loses?

I would win. I would have my own little supply of free-range eggs somewhere in the backyard of my condo. I would then let my daughter pretend every day was Easter in search of these little ovals of goodness that are worth their weight in gold. Well, maybe not quite gold, but you catch my drift.

Who loses? The potential owner. Just because I and the neighbors I’ve discussed the chicken with do not know who owns her, does not mean that she actually doesn’t have one. If the owner values his or her chicken as much as I would, they would probably be pretty upset if she disappeared one afternoon. They would lose their glorious little collection of gold-priced cage free eggs. And who knows? Maybe they have chicken loving kids like I do? If my daughter owned a chicken and then had her pet chicken stolen, she would think the world was ending. (I was trying to find a chicken little sky is falling analogy here but couldn’t quite make it.)

The chicken itself could possibly lose also. I don’t have a chicken coop. I have a lawn chair, but I highly doubt she would consider that as comfy. I also have a retention pond which provides a haven for snakes. Without a coup, my egg supply may be cut off before it begins. I also didn’t budget for feed, so unless I have a very large number of creepy crawlies in my backyard, the chicken may find itself on a diet.

What’s It Worth?


On a side note, what is it not worth? Jail time, or fines. I can see it now. Filling out a job application “Have you ever been convicted of a crime…please explain.” “I stole a chicken.”

Who’s Whispering In Your Ear?

Since I am already bordering on verbose, I’ll narrow this one down to 2 types of ethical theories.

Consequentialism and Utility or the Teleological Approach: The end justifies the means.

Duty and Obligation or the Deontological Approach: The means justify the end.

According to Jay Black and Chris Roberts in Doing Ethics in Media: Theories and Practical Applications these are 2 models of ethical decision making.

When thinking teleologically, I’ll use the Hedonic Calculus method. Don’t worry I’m not going to explain it to you in detail. Basically, I’m going to weigh how this decision will affect my and affected others’ happiness and unhappiness.

When thinking deontologically, I’ll channel Immanuel Kant and determine what are the rules I need to follow when it comes to stealing or not stealing the neighborhood chicken. The whole “Do Not Steal” rule is kind of big for this guy.


How Does My Decision Look?

If a rational peer of mine looked at my decision, would they support it?

I could say yes, but those peers would probably fall short of the “rational” distinction. Even my anti-corporate greed colleagues would probably stop short of theft.

So… in conclusion.

I’m probably not going to steal the chicken.

Sigh… Guess I’m heading to the grocery store.

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.