More Islanders buying chickens during COVID-19 pandemic

More Islanders buying chickens during COVID-19 pandemic
WatchPeople are buying more chickens during the COVID-19 pandemic. It's a way for people to have food security when going to the grocery store can be a worrisome task. It turns out, not only do chickens lay eggs, but they're a lot of fun too. Jasmine Bala has more.

Oak Bay resident Michelle Kirby has three new additions to her family: Sakura, Maple and Bonsai, also known as Bonnie Henry, a nickname she got because of her mature and calm nature.

The three chickens live in her backyard, where they spend all day cruising around and around. At night, they go back into their coop – called the Cluckingham Palace – to rest up.

“As soon as you see those little fluffballs, you’re sold,” Kirby said.

Kirby has wanted chickens for a long time, but never got around to it.

Then the COVID-19 pandemic began.

“I thought, wow, this might be the exact time, the perfect time to be able to finally get them,” Kirby explained. “My husband wasn’t working, I was home, kids are home. We could all participate and learn from the experience and just enjoy them as chicks.”

The driving force in Kirby’s decision was her wish to be self-sufficient and the pandemic only made it clearer that she needed to have her own source of eggs and food.

“That really drove it home,” she said.

At the beginning of the pandemic, Kirby said she felt that she would have to be going to the store when she didn’t want to, that it would be unsafe doing so or that the stores would be closed. She said her family had no way of knowing what would happen and she wanted to make sure they had some sense of food security.

Kirby is not alone.

A growing number of Islanders have invested in some feathered friends for increased food security during the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether its buying chickens or renting them, demand for their services has skyrocketed lately.

Bees Please Farms in Metchosin runs a program that lets people rent chickens for a few months. If they decide they want to keep them at the end of the trial, they can.

“There was a big rush after March because people really started to care about having a backyard food source,” Kate Fraser, owner of the farm, said. “So people bought more seeds and planted more vegetables and they’re going for chickens. So this year in April, we had double what we expected.”

Fraser said about 120 chickens have been rented out this year. Usually, that number is around 70.

One of the most searched terms on UsedVictoria in March was “chickens.” It debuted at 87 on their top 100 list of what people were searching for during the pandemic.

So many people were looking for chickens, Fraser said, that the Island actually ran out.

“That was a problem for more than just me,” she said. “So I actually drove all the way to Armstrong and brought home almost 300 chickens and kind of helped out other farms and other backyard chicken people.”

For Kirby, the chickens were meant to primarily be a means of food security. Instead, it has become something so much more.

“I’m happy we got the chickens either way because they’ve been a lot of fun it turns out,” she said with a smile.

ALSO READ: Alleged theft of 24 chickens from Duncan healing centre ruffles feathers

Jasmine BalaJasmine Bala

Recent Stories

Send us your news tips and videos!