Tomorrow a shipment of chicks is scheduled to arrive at our local Tractor Supply Store (it also happens to be my husband’s birthday – “Happy Birthday Marc, have yourself a chick!”)
I plan on being at the store bright and early to pick up 2 chicks for our flock. We already have an established flock and I only need a few replacements. I’ll start off with two and will add some later in the season. As I’ve mentioned laws have changed in New Hampshire and I’m no longer obligated to buy chicks in quantities of at least 12. I can buy 1, or 2, or basically as many, or as few as I want.
Last night at my chicken workshop, a participant asked me about those chicks they used to sell at Easter times that were dyed different colors. I can truthfully say that I’ve never seen chicks like that but I know they were around because many people remember them (we were a tiny green turtle kind of family when it came to Pet Store pets.) I’m pretty sure that they’ve stopped doing that to chicks. People were buying the babies because they were so adorable but quickly found out that a juvenile chick is something that sometimes only a mother could love and were quickly abandoning it.
I’ve never even heard of those colored chicks around here. But I have heard stories of people buying regular chicks to use as party decorations for children’s birthday parties (Anyone want some free chicks? A sign will invariably appear on the work bulletin board the next day.)
Let’s face it, baby chicks are adorable. So cute, in fact that our Tractor Supply posts a sign near the chicks asking people not to kiss them. (You’ll have to wait until you get them home to do that.)
Which is why, I have some concerns about our new law in New Hampshire. While I understand that those who have backyard flocks often only need to buy a few birds, when you allow people to buy as few as one bird at a time, you allow people to use the chicks as disposable decorations and you allow kids who have a few bucks in their back pocket the opportunity to buy a chick to be used as an afternoon’s entertainment. (“You’re not going to bring that bird into *this* house.” will be heard at the end of the day.)
With Easter right around the corner, you can bet I’ll have my ears and eyes open to stories of how chicks are being used or misused. And if I hear stories of misuse, you can bet I’ll be contacting our elected officials to make an amendment to the law. Perhaps the minimum quantity should be 2 or 3, perhaps you should be at least 18 years old before you can buy livestock or perhaps everything will be just fine and I’m (like a mother hen) worrying over nothing.
In a perfect world, only responsible chicken owners will buy the chicks. In a world, however, where sometimes there is a little less than perfection, people will need to speak up in order to protect these little creatures from what could be a serious lapse in judgment by others.
If it comes down to it, count me as one of those voices.
I write about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact me at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com
Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.