‘Chicken guru’ holds chick day at farm store

It’s been a long time coming, this spring. It teases us with warm mellow days, then throws us back into nippy temperatures. But Chick Day, held at Main Street Feed, Durham, on April 17, gave us all hope. The owner of the feed store, Brenda Eddy, had ordered 400 chicks, all chirping away, awaiting good homes. All reminding us of life renewing itself.

Eddy has been hosting Chick Day for the past 30 years. She orders the chicks from a hatchery in Iowa, and holds them for a couple of days to make sure they’re healthy before placing them. The stress of being shipped, and outside temperatures, can affect them adversely.

People must buy a minimum of six, to discourage buying them as Easter presents for their kids. “I have a sign saying they’re not for your kids’ Easter baskets,” she said. “People think they’re so cute, but months from now there will be lots of rabbits and chickens looking for new homes. Chicks and bunnies are a commitment for several years. They’re not presents.” Between pre-orders and walk-ins, she has never had any chicks left over.

Though chicks seem to be synonymous with Easter (could it be all those peeps we ate growing up?), Eddy says there’s no connection. It’s a matter of timing. Chicks need to be kept warm for at least eight weeks before they go outside, so a March birthday will bring them to May, and warmer temperatures, for their outside ventures. People also buy chicks now because they will be full-grown and laying eggs by September or October. “They need 14 hours of daylight for producing eggs,” Eddy said. “If you wait longer than that, they won’t be laying eggs because it will be winter.”

The most important things to remember regarding care of the chicks, Eddy says, is to give them heat, water, food, and do not handle them a lot.

Eddy herself has 20 chickens behind her store. “Chickens are great,” she said. “You name them, they come to you, they’re personable. They become pets.”

Lloyd and Susie Blair, of Middlefield, bought 12 chicks on Chick Day. “We have nine old girls at home,” Susie said, “who have seen better days.” They have chickens for the eggs. “They’re better for you than store-bought eggs,” Susie said. “They’re fresher, richer-tasting, they have a brighter color,” Lloyd said. “Eggs can be up to 60 days old in the supermarket.”

“This is only my second Chick Day,” Susie said. “Before that I had never seen a chick. They’re so small and fluffy. If they could stay babies they’d be my best friends.”

“It’s exciting to come to Brenda’s and see all the chicks,” Lloyd said. “We’re always wanting to learn more about them, and wanting to raise them to their full potential. Brenda gives us a lot of helpful information. She’s the chicken guru of Durham.”



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