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More suburbanites, hobbyists raise chickens

UNION, Mo. (AP) — A sport utility vehicle loaded with 1,200 baby chicks in cardboard boxes pulls up to the Clearview Feed and Seed store, where customers come to pick up their peeping, cheeping poultry orders on a recent spring day.

Poultry dealers, chicken feed businesses and self-proclaimed “chicken enthusiasts” nationwide report city slickers and suburbanites are showing greater interest in raising small flocks of chickens far from the farm.

Clearview’s manager Karen Ruck said about every 10th person who calls to inquire about ordering chicks says they’ve never raised chickens before. She hears from suburban moms who want a few hens to teach their kids responsibility, and new gardeners seeking birds to go with their attempts to grow backyard vegetables.

Livestock feed and pet food maker Purina Mills is seeing double-digit growth for its small, 5-pound bags of all-natural poultry feed marketed since 2003 to people who raise small flocks for eggs or as companion animals.

Associated Press

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