The banner posted at the entrance of BIG R read “Chick Time!” The familiar sound of peeping chicks greeted us as we entered the store. I followed the sound to a fenced area filled with large tub brooders with warming lights. Chicks in colors of buff, red, brown and traditional yellow were pecking, eating, drinking, and generally running around inside. A sign said “press red button for help selecting chicks.”
For a few fleeting moments I told myself I need to raise chickens. My grandfather owned Riverview Hatchery in Pekin, Illinois and I have fond memories of visiting the warehouse in the spring to see the hundreds of baby chicks in the brooder. Grandpa would pluck one out and place it gently in our hands to hold for a minute. My mother attempted to raise chickens for profit at our country home but it proved to be more work and expense than they bargained for. Back yard chickens, however, are making a comeback.
What about 3 or 4…just enough to provide fresh eggs for the two of us? It sounds idyllic but my husband has a strong aversion to chickens. He remarked, “Oh they look cute and fluffy yellow now. But then they scratch and roll around in the dirt and peck you when you claim their eggs.” I gather his experiences on his grandparents’ farm were not positive. Still, hearing the high-pitched peeps of young chicks reminds me of spring and it is just around the corner.