As far as I know, this past Saturday, April 11th was the biggest baby chick giveaway ever conducted on the face of the earth. It all started about three weeks ago when the owner of America’s Web Radio, David Moxley came to me with the idea of giving away baby chicks to promote backyard poultry and living a more self-sustaining lifestyle. We decided to have the event in Roswell, Georgia, where an Atlanta Pet Chicken Meetup Group club member was currently battling with City Hall regarding the keeping of backyard poultry. I knew I needed a few things to make this event a success including a location, volunteers, and of course baby chicks!
Bill Greenwood, owner of the Greenwood’s on Green Street restaurant gave the thumbs up to have the event at his location. Once the location was set, I posted the event on the Atlanta Pet Chicken Meetup Group’s website and had over 50 members volunteer to help. I then contacted the national chick hatcheries that were already sponsors of the “Backyard Poultry with the Chicken Whisperer” radio show and told them about the idea, and they were all on-board. I wanted to make sure I did everything possible to ensure the people picking up the free baby chicks had access to all the information they would need to properly care for their new pets, so my wife, Jen, worked about three days creating a “Chicken Stimulus Package” brochure that included a baby chick care guide, brooder information, supply list, local feed store locations, avian veterinarian contact, and list of sponsors. I even got a couple of feed stores to donate four 50-pound bags of chick starter feed in case the new chicken owners could not get by a feed store over the weekend.
The first 100 baby chicks arrived about a week before the event, but thanks to my new GQF commercial brooder I received about 10 days earlier I had a great home for them. The next 800 arrived the following week, and 600 found their way into a custom built brooder I had built in my garage, and 200 went to a club member’s home. My wife and I dipped 700 beaks into feeders and waterers. It was a sight to see!
The morning of the event we had 5 club members arrive at our house to help gather the baby chicks and place them back into the shipping boxes they came in. Then, off we went to the “Chicken Stimulus Package” event. The event started at 8:00 am and lasted until about 1:30 pm. When I arrived with the baby chicks there were already about 50 people in line waiting to pick out their new backyard pet chickens and there was a steady flow of people showing up all day. There were three stations/tables people had to navigate. The first table was an education table. Here, participants would receive an educational brochure to look through and ask questions about keeping backyard poultry. We had experienced chicken owners manning this table as well as a certified avian veterinarian. The second table was an information collection table. Here, the participants had to fill out a Georgia Department of Agriculture form that requested their contact information. We also had chicken owners manning this table to assure accuracy. The third table was the table they were all waiting for. The third table was where they would pick out their baby chicks and receive the free bag of starter feed. This table was manned with chicken owners that had experience identifying the different breeds. Once they received their baby chicks they would walk past an area where they could see examples of brooders they could set up once they got home with their new baby chicks. We had about 50 volunteers from the Atlanta Pet Chicken Meetup Group helping all who attended. Jeff Miller with Shady Roost Coops was on-site with a chicken tractor display, and Greg Haney with City Coops was also sharing information about his coop designs. America’s Web Radio was broadcasting live during the event and fun was had by all. Donations from the event were donated to cancer research.
Overall, I think the event was a success. Only one family has contacted me regarding the return of their baby chicks. Just as stated in the brochure, we took the baby chicks back and will find “forever” homes for them soon. Many have suggested that we make this an annual event or even travel across the country scheduling “Chicken Stimulus Package” events in all the major cities. I’m just eggcited that another 600 chickens have found their way into Atlanta backyards!