Judge John Hodgman Episode 68: The Cluck Stops Here


Lauren brings the case against her husband Jon. The couple just moved to the surburbs, and Lauren envisions the perfect addition to their new big backyard: chickens! She says she'll take care of them and they both will benefit from the fresh eggs and bug control. Jon worries that they'll become too much work. Is Lauren playing chicken? Only one man can decide.



From Lauren
"Attached are some pictures I would like to present as evidence for my case.
1. A picture of a Rhode Island Red hen, the kind of (adorable) chicken I would like to have.
2. A picture of a RIR rooster and hen wearing a bow tie and necklace. While I'm sure the bailiff and judge will appreciate this picture for how silly it is, I'm only using it to prove the good-natured dispositions of these birds. My own cat would not tolerate that kind of nonsense.
3. The last picture is of a back yard-sized chicken coop that is easily purchased, put together and will comfortably house 2-3 full sized chickens and not be an eye-sore in the yard."


OBJECTION: Cloaca Experience

Please forgive my weird compulsion to yell out a correction to a small, some might say insignificant, detail and treat it as wildly more important and worth notice than it actually is -But then again, this is the internet.

Lauren, claimed while under fake oath that she in fact had no "cloaca experience," being that her job as a zookeeper at the Philadelphia Zoo was primarily with mammals.

I cry foul. (no pun intended with the homophone)

Normally, there would be no problem with this statement, except that if she has worked at the nocturnal mammal house at the Philadelphia Zoo, I know for a fact she does in fact have experience with an animal possessing a cloaca, whether she is aware of it or not.

You see, the Philadelphia Zoo is one of only three zoos in the country I am aware of that has in its collection that lesser known egg laying mammal (or monotreme), the echidna. The zoo actually has two mammals with cloacas. I have traveled there, and can attest to their existence I could go on about the many details of the echidna other than its "one hole" (which the mammalian group is named for), but I'm being enough of a bore as it is.


I suspect that pun was very much intended.

Great episode

As a married zookeeper living in the suburbs and considering getting chickens, I found this episode very relevant and helpful. There needs to be a followup discussion about purchasing and using the apparatuses for properly and humanely murdering a chicken.

Fun episode!

I know have the hankering to husband my own chicks. My wife, and the city of Toronto, however, say different. I thought perhaps we could bring our chicken case up for Judge Hodgman's review, thereby transforming the show into a semi-regular The Chicken Ref segment. A niche if ever there was one.

Good show - excellent ruling

As a backyard chicken fancier, early in the show I was fearful that his eminence, the oft-squeamish Judge John Hodgman might err in his ruling. However, justice and wisdom prevailed, as it almost always does. I've had chickens in my urban (although Canadian, mid-sized city, so really practically suburban) backyard for about six months, so I feel quite full of myself and ready to give lots and lots of possibly unsound advice (isn't that what the internet is for?). However, I will limit myself to but five pronouncements:
1) Don't buy that coop, it's too small and too expensive. Make a box 4x4x4 foot with a heavy hinged lid and a door into the bigger, rectangular chicken wire frame you make for a run. It's easy and it will let your husband prove his manliness and his worth, and then you won't feel too bad on days that you don't let them free range.
2) Free range them in your yard, but close them in securely at night - that way they shouldn't die (unless they get sick). Also feed them fun things like worms, grubs, and for a thrill bacon - or turkey! Don't feed them chicken, encouraging cannibalism will make you feel dirty.
3) get a mix of chickens, it will be prettier, and you will be better able to judge who is laying and who isn't.
4) Don't get chicks, get 5-6 month olds - less waiting for eggs, less work. It will be more money, but don't fool yourself, any way you slice it, these will be the most expensive eggs of your life. The chickens will be less cuddly, and you'll have to let them establish their pecking order, but that won't be as much of an ordeal as his eminence suggested (as long as all the birds are approximately the same age - don't mix hens with un-mothered chicks).
5) Don't expect them to keep the insect down - if anything, there will be more flies than before, but it's not terrible as long as you are scooping the poop (compost it).
NB our active chicken care probably averages 20 minutes per day. Chicken watching for pure viewing pleasure can exceed that time estimate (especially if the children are doing it.)
Best wishes,


I know this won't get approved but please please please stop doing guy vs girl shows. you stopped doing them before when people got sick of them and the inevitable ruling every time, and not every case submitted will be a guy vs a girl so it's not like you have no choice. so please can we have a break from them again? I want to go back to enjoying the podcast again.


Sorry Someone, couples have lots of disputes. Your best bet for a week off is to bring your own case.