TUCSON, Ariz. — Feed stores in our area are having trouble keeping up with the demand for chickens. One business owner says since the outbreak of the coronavirus more people are buying up the egg laying birds.
Spring is always the busy season for those selling baby chicks. But old town horse and pet has never had a season like this one.
“I’ve been in the feed business for 30 years and i’ve never seen this. we were probably getting 10 to 15 calls per day for baby chicks or older birds if possible.
Old Town Horse and Pet Owner Brad Ferris says the demand for pullets or female chicks that will eventually lay eggs has doubled. More than he can sell.
“I didn’t order as many birds this year so i had about 1000 to 1200 on order and they went in a few weeks, but we weren’t able to re-order because everyone else had already had their birds in stock and ordered from the hatchery,” said Ferris.
While he is happy for the increase in business he says there are some things people with birds on the brain should keep in mind.
“Everyone is in a big hurry this I hope will go away soon. Take your time get the birds you need and baby chicks don’t produce eggs until they are about 6 months old.”
Ferris says to make sure you are buying from a reputable feed store or dealer. You don’t want to get stuck with a bunch of males that won’t lay you any eggs and might get you in trouble with local ordinances or HOAs. And you want to pick a breed of bird that does well in our climate.
“Americanas do really well, reds, rhode island reds, they do well. Some of the bigger birds stay away from because they can’t take the heat.”
Ferris says a hen could produce about an egg a day from the age of six months to 2 years.
“I think it’s a great thing for young people to know where their food comes from.”
He says to just make sure you’ll have the time to care for them when stay at home orders are finally lifted.