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.