I don't know what the deal is, but I swear to you that chickens are the new status symbol out here. The big thing is to have enough money to own enough land that you can build a chicken coup. That way, you can have your own chickens and they can lay eggs for your family's consumption.
Most of the chicken owners will tell you that they feel good about this because they know their chickens are treated humanely, not fed antibiotics, are free range, etc. They will tell you this, straight faced, while eating their beef tenderloin.
It's a strange, strange world and it sure is entertaining.