Anna Franklin’s Love for Her Chickens

Anna Franklin, TABLE’s contributing editor, has always had a passion for food and art. It turns out she has an affinity for backyard chickens, too. Franklin attended culinary school and worked in restaurants for many years, always knowing she wanted to pursue food styling full-time. “Getting to express my creativity through food is such a dream!” she says. She’s been working with the magazine since 2021.

Franklin’s home life brings much joy these days as well. She and her husband RJ have one dog, three cats and — much to her delight — nine chickens. She’d always wanted a flock, but could never convince RJ to get on board. “Once everything happened with COVID,” she explains, “we had some extra time on our hands and finally built a coop! He now loves the chickens more than me,” she jokes.

A chicken stands on a wooden crate in front of a pink background.

Every time they get a new bird, they allow a family member or friend to name it. As of now, their brood consists of Blanche, Cruella, Jetta, Betsy, Laslo, Norah, Chicken Little, Stella, and Hattie B — named after their favorite fried chicken restaurant in Nashville.

The couple and their growing menagerie reside in Fox Chapel. Franklin assures that maintenance is minimal once the chickens are full grown. Daily tasks include changing out their water and food, as well as collecting their eggs. (Each bird typically lays one per day.) In addition, the coop gets a monthly deep clean.

A chicken leans forward as if about to jump off a wooden crate in front of a pink backdrop.

The best part of owning chickens? No doubt, the delectable fresh eggs they produce. “As well as getting to know each bird’s personality,” Franklin adds. Predators can be the most challenging aspect; it’s imperative to make sure the chickens are secure at night so nothing can break into the coop (like raccoons, foxes, or possums), or hawks during the daytime.

Not only do chickens eat ticks and mosquitoes, they also help reduce food waste by consuming “just about anything.” They tolerate kids very well, making them family-friendly. Franklin enthusiastically recommends backyard chickens to anyone, saying, “I absolutely plan to get more in the future.”

Story by Corinne Whiting / Photography by Laura Petrilla

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