by Lisa Tome
Pullets are flying out of Gifford's Farm.
Multiple times a day, the phone rings at the business.
People want to know about the farm's chickens.
"Everybody wants their kids to have a chicken. It teaches them about farming and responsibility," said Don Gifford.
He and his wife Tina ordered 100 chickens two weeks ago. They sold out in five days. They then ordered 150 chickens from a chicken dealer. A third of those were gone in a day. "People used to want chicks, but now that's gone by the wayside," he said.
Gifford's doesn't sell the baby chickens, peeps. Baby chickens are so small that their sex more than likely hasn't been determined. People who bought those in the past ended up with roosters, which they don't want. People want female chickens for the eggs.
"They want pullets. These are 17 weeks old and they are guaranteed to get a laying chicken, not a rooster," said Gifford.
He's been selling an abundance of red sexlinks. They lay brown eggs.
"They have to have a cage because everything likes chickens - raccoons, fox, coyote, hawks, eagles," said Gifford.
"A lot of kids in 4-H want them. They are a simple animal and parents want to make sure the kids sustain the interest," said Gifford.
Chickens require feeding twice a day - they eat chicken feed. They also snack on cracked corn. If the eggs aren't hard when laid, a chicken may also need oyster shell.
Chickens stop laying eggs after three years. Then people can eat them if desired. "When they're done laying eggs you can eat them with a pot of dumplings," Gifford said.