Baby Chickens Sold Out Nationwide Ahead of Easter as Americans Panic-Buy Feathery Friends for Comfort

Sales of baby chickens have soared across the United States in what appears to be another example of panic-buying amid the COVID-19 pandemic. While the weeks leading up to Easter are usually a busy time for chicken hatcheries, it appears that the birds are becoming increasingly difficult to purchase, according to The New York Times.

"People are panic-buying chickens like they did toilet paper," Tom Watkins, the vice president of Murray McMurray Hatchery in Iowa, told the Times. Watkins said his company was sold out of the chicks for the next four weeks.

According to the report, many feed stores are reporting that they are selling out of baby chicks almost as fast as they can restock. And long lines have been seen outside Tractor Supply Company stores on mornings when chicks are delivered.

Stephanie Spann, a manager at Hackett Farm Supply in New York, has noticed a significant surge in demand recently, with the store selling double the number of chicks than it did in March of the previous year.

"People are willing to take breeds that aren't their first choice just to get a flock started now," Spann told the Times.

One customer who has recently purchased baby chickens is Amy Annelle, 48, a musician from Austin, Texas. With several upcoming shows cancelled, Annelle says she now has a lot of time on her hands and decided to try and raise some chickens

"I thought I'd get some chicks before everyone panics at once and buys them," she told the Times. "It's just very hopeful watching them grow."

Another is self-confessed animal-lover Dominique Greenwell from Washington state who bought four chicks on March 23 from a breeder close to her home after the hair salon she works at closed.

"You can't control the world around you but you can control the love you give to your animals," she told the Times. "I go in there every 15 minutes to make sure the temperature is OK or to hold them."

According to the report, sales of baby chicks tend to rise during certain periods of uncertainty, such as stock market downturns and years in which presidential elections are being held.

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Hygiene advice

  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before, during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
  • Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

  • Avoid close contact with others if you have any symptoms.
  • Stay at home if you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and runny nose, to avoid potential spread of the disease to medical facilities and other people.
  • If you develop serious symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and contact local health authorities in advance.
  • Note any recent contact with others and travel details to provide to authorities who can trace and prevent spread of the disease.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.

Mask and glove usage

  • Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
  • Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
  • Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of the mask.
  • Do not reuse single-use masks.
  • Regularly washing bare hands is more effective against catching COVID-19 than wearing rubber gloves.
  • The COVID-19 virus can still be picked up on rubber gloves and transmitted by touching your face.