ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. (KDVR) — At Northern Colorado Feeder’s Supply in Fort Collins, manager Danielle Nater said they can’t keep chicks on the shelves.

In January, they sold more than 2,700 chicks, that’s up from 600 a year ago.

“They’re going quick,” Nater said. “This year has been a little out of control with the numbers that are coming in.”

Nater has worked at her family’s shop her entire life and said she’s never seen anything like the past few years.

During the height of the pandemic in 2020, people across the nation turned to backyard chickens. The combination of avian influenza and new free-range egg laws in Colorado have driven business to another level as many turn to backyard chickens hoping for plentiful eggs.

“They like to know where their food is coming from and it scares them when they think they can’t get it,” Nater said.

But some are concerned those customers will have buyer’s remorse after realizing how much work, time and cost goes into backyard birding.

“I’m afraid we’re going to be inundated with requests,” said Andrea Davis. “As a rescuer, it’s so painful to have to turn someone away.”

Davis is the director of the Broken Shovels Farm Sanctuary in Adams County where roughly 150 chickens have been surrendered. 

“They are coming from abandonment, abuse, neglect,” Davis said. “A lot are owner surrenders that come from people thinking they want backyard chickens and not realizing all of the reasons why they may not want backyard chickens.”

She’s recommending people do plenty of research before buying chicks and only do it if they’re comfortable caring for them even if they don’t produce eggs.

At Feeder’s Supply, Nater said they’re taking extra time to educate potential customers.

“We tell people these are not puppies; these are farmyard animals,” she said. “They can smell, they can be dirty. Just making sure people are educated is really important to us because these little things can’t really take care of themselves.”