Hundreds of baby chicks arrived in Gambrills on Friday, ready for customers looking to raise fresh eggs in their own backyards.
More than 300 chicks are now on sale at the Gambrills General Store. They come in 10 varieties, and have become a popular item in recent years.
Store co-owner Janet Garmen said the chicks were shipped overnight from Hoover's Hatchery in Iowa. She expects the chicks will be sold quickly; last year, the store sold more than 2,000 chicks.
Eventually, the chicks will grow and lay eggs, which have become popular among families looking for something free, free and local.
If you are considering buying some chicks but aren't sure what you need, Garmen offers the following pieces of advice.
- Chickens don't make great indoor pets. Give them a space to roam and live outside, where it's OK for them to make a mess.
- Consider building a fenced-in area. While some owners allow their chicken to roam free, this makes them vulnerable to local predators.
- In the beginning, chicks require a heat lamp inside. They will be ready to go outside once they are fully feathered and the nighttime temperature is above 60 degrees.
What does it take to get started raising chickens? As a guideline, Garmen said buyers should expect the following startup costs:
- Two chicks, costing $3.50 each
- Heat lamps and light—about $20
- Purina Start N Grow food—$11-$12
- Brooder box and bedding. This is optional, but usually costs about $20. Consider using pine shavings or paper towels for bedding instead of straw or newspaper.
The Gambrills General Store will celebrate the chickens during the week of April 13-20 with prize drawings, raffles and giveaways.
Do you plan to buy some chickens this year?