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Count Your Chickens!

Howdy, Everyone: I just wanted to share a few thoughts based on observations this past week where I live. First, my county has been shut down, and I've noticed there has been an egg shortage and I have been able to grow a nice clientele for my hens' eggs.

I've been able to meet people and make new friends as now many folks want to buy farm-fresh eggs. I am learning how kind people are capable of being towards one another, and hope that when things return to being somewhat normal, I continue these relationships based on unrestricted free commerce.

I have kept my prices competitive, and only ask repeat customers return the cartons so I don't run out. By keeping my prices fair, I have been able to garner customers who appreciate that I deliver the eggs to their area in a manner that puts no one at risk; at least not any more than going to the grocery store – in fact, I would argue the practice is far less risky as far as the virus is concerned.

Because the response to my marketplace advertisement was so strong, I decided to acquire more baby chicks this Spring – I had four hatchlings last year, three of which were roosters. Because I don't have enough hens to keep four roosters happy, I realized that now there is actually a market for roosters, since people are realizing they will have to breed their own birds, at least for the time being.

Apparently, there is a run on backyard fowl, akin to the run on toilet paper; people are panic buying these birds, and for the first time I was unable to purchase any locally. Opportunities are presenting themselves during these troubling times, so be ready to take advantage of them, which I was able to do by selling one rooster so far.

Unfortunately, we are already seeing some ugliness rear its ugly head in this small community. A woman nearby used to sell eggs from her property, and her customers would drive to an “honor box” and take their eggs and leave the money. Last week, the seller returned home to find her entire flock had been stolen!

There are risks to privately selling or bartering your goods, and we must take precautions that once would never have been a consideration. So, if you have some backyard birds and decide to sell or barter some eggs, I would encourage you to never have people come to your home for the exchange. This is a very unfortunate development, but we must adapt to changing times as this situation gets worse. Meet your customers in a public place and if you have a prospective customer who does not instill confidence when you initially visit (if you are advertising on line, for instance) don't hesitate pass on that buyer.

I also want to let anyone who is tempted to purchase baby chicks right now, if your actions are motivated by fear and haste, please, just don't. Take this time to learn about raising, caring for and housing them. Prepare a solid coop that will keep critters out; at this point, those with two and four legs! These birds will also need to be cared for in the dead of winter, so if you are adverse to making your way through snow in harsh conditions, you may wish to reconsider, and simply make friends with your neighborhood back yard breeder – you know, they one you used to refer to as that “Crazy Chicken Lady!”

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