Today I visited the local Tractor Supply Co. store. It is something that I seem compelled to do on a somewhat regular basis. Since it is relatively close to ACE Hardware, The Dollar Store, and ShopRite--my other country haunts--it makes the visits that much more convenient and realistic.
With spring just a couple weeks away, the store has already replaced the snow shovels with rakes, hoes, and picks, swapped out the ice melts with seed and fertilizer, and shifted from heavy winter coats and snow boots to more seasonal attire. But, the surprise of my visit this weekend was discovering that "Chick Days are Here." F-I-N-A-L-L-Y!
That's right, from March 4th to May 5th you can pick up a chick or two in the store, or order enough online to fill a coop. Naturally I was drawn to the large galvanized metal stock tanks in the middle of the store where faint chirps signaled the location of Chick Central. And, sure enough, the tanks were filled with hundreds of little chickens, jostling each other for food and warmth. There were a variety of breeds to choose from; each one revealing detailed information on usage, egg production, egg size and color, whether they are best suited for free range or confined habitats, and their overall tolerance to heat and cold. I was amazed to learn that you could buy a chicken for under $2 (particularly given what I pay for a breast in the city).
Although I left the store as chick-free as I entered, I was compelled to go online to learn about the amazing breeds that are available through the Tractor Supply Co. The list is quite extensive. There's even a The Chicken Whisperer. No joke!