Monday, April 13, 2009

600 Urban Chicks Given Away in Atlanta

About 600 chicks were given away to people in Roswell, Georgia (metro Atlanta) last Saturday as part of the Chicken Stimulus Package giveaway.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes that over 130 people took home up to four 3-day-old chicks from the event after making a donation to a cancer research center in Florida.

Over 900 chicks were on hand for the event, and the remaining chicks went to local feed stores (who made donations, too).

On the one hand, I'm happy to see the self-described "Chicken Outlaw" Andy Wordes (his label for himself, having been cited by the city for raising 13 chickens on his suburban land) was able to organize this chick giveaway as it means more people will get a chance to experience the joys of raising backyard chickens.

On the other hand, organizing the giveaway so close to Easter when there's quite the history of people buying Easter chicks to give as gifts only to have them pass away like so many un-tended gold fish is unfortunate timing, at best.

The Humane Society of the United States opposes giving chicks to children on Easter —- many of the animals aren’t well cared for and die quickly —- and had criticized the giveaway and its timing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also reminds parents this time of year that young birds often carry salmonella bacteria and that children are especially susceptible by touching a bird and putting a hand in their mouth.

Wordes said the chicks, donated by hatcheries, were intended to be pets and he wouldn’t give them to people who wouldn’t care for them. Volunteers set up information stands and examples of broods, coops and show chickens. Sandy Springs “Chicken Whisperer” radio host Andy Schneider was on hand to answer questions.

“If anyone here wants Easter chicks, they’re in the wrong place,” Wordes said.

I wonder how Wordes screened the aspiring urban chicken owners to make sure they weren't just in it for the Easter chick.

What kind of questions would you ask to test the mettle of a wannabe urban chicken farmer?

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