Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Scarce Chicks?

Until Mary Cate blogged about it, I hadn't realized that hatcheries have been selling out of chicks this year. She wrote,

"Poultry chicks of all kinds are selling like hotcakes with the economy screwed up like it is. All the hatcheries aren't taking personal orders till May, and the ones arriving at the McMinnville store are being snatched up the day they come in."

I checked my hatchery's website, and sure enough they don't seem to have any chicks available through online ordering. We ordered this year's pullets last summer instead of waiting until spring, a decision we've been happy with so far. Now I'm really glad we did it that way, so that we weren't competing with all the people trying to buy chicks this spring. I had planned to order another batch of Rhode Island Reds this summer, but if the frenzy keeps up I'll just breed my own replacement layers. They'll be mixed breed, and I'll no longer be able to tell the age of the chickens by their color, but at least they'll be layers. I'll probably put leg bands on them instead, if it comes to that. I guess it's time to set up some breeding pens.


Tracy said...

Yep - I thought about blogging about this very thing earlier too. Most hatcheries have back-orders.

We hatch our own chicks from our hens, but Steven had ordered a handful of new chicks of a more rare breed he hopes to cross ours with -- and I hope we got out order in early enough.

Right now we have duck eggs in the incubator as well.

The feed store where we get feed was selling "poultry starter kits" (all the equipment you need to get started) and they said they are selling them faster than they can get them in. There is a rush to get back to growing your own food to be recession proof, I guess.

I even know one lady locally who just collect "hatching" eggs from local hobby chicken farmers, and incubates them and sells the chicks (basically running her own small hatchery. There is such demand.

Mel, Foxtail Farm said...

Well, I noticed an ad on the local craigslist a few weeks ago where a guy was selling straight run Rhode Island Red chicks for $2 each. I had no clue about the chicken shortage so I thought that was a pretty high price. Even counting shipping, my normal hatchery costs a bit less than that for sexed pullets. Hopefully the demand will die down a bit by July.

I'll be incubating some duck eggs, too, once I get an egg turner for the incubator. I had planned to buy female runner ducks this year, since last year's straight run batch turned out to all be male, but wow are they expensive. My hatchery is selling them for $7.10 each, and the minimum order is 10. I think I won't be buying female runners this year.