As a lifelong city dweller, I can’t say that I have ever been much of a “chicken” expert. Unfortunately, for those of you still waiting for an answer, I did not learn why, exactly, the chicken crossed the road, but I did learn just about everything else that Peel Hardware & Supply could tell me about the live chickens, ducks, turkeys and pheasants, that you can order from their store for raising through Frey’s Hatchery.
It’s something that seems to have become at least a little trendy lately, hasn’t it? To say that you own chickens, at least if you’re city folk. However, there are actually many different reasons to own chickens, from raising them for you children/family, to eggs and of course meat – but whatever reason you are thinking of investing in chickens (or any of the other poultry that Peel Hardware sells), you need to be sure that it’s a commitment that you are ready to take on. Sadly, as with most things in life, Saturday morning cartoons weren’t completely honest with you, and there’s a lot more to raising chickens than simply scattering out some feed at the start of the day. Just like any animal that you are considering taking on, chickens and other poultry need proper daily care and attention, often multiple times a day.
This is part of the reason that Peel Hardware strongly encourages everyone who wishes to order either egg, day old or six-week-old birds from them, to come into their store on 10 Wiggins Rd in Caledon to place the order themselves. Covid has made them adjust their previously hard and fast rule of no phone orders, but when safe, they’d prefer to be able to sit down with each customer to get to know them and have a genuine conversation about what they are about to embark on.
While watching and helping new families begin this journey can be one of their favourite parts of the job, it’s also important to them that the customer truly understands what they are getting into. No matter what animal you are considering bringing into your life, for whatever reason, it’s always a living being that needs proper care and should never be taken in on a whim.
Peel Hardware & Supply have a specific check list and series of questions that they ask every customer before an order, to ensure that each person is really considering all of the aspects of this commitment. They have often been told that they ask questions that no one else does – as it really is important for them to ensure that each chicken, duck, turkey or pheasant is going to a home where they’ll be cared for properly.
While we don’t have time to go through the entire list right here and now, for anyone considering this option, or just interested in knowing what might go into something like this, here is a quick rundown of a few things to keep in mind:
1. That you’ve set aside enough space for whichever animal you have selected; they need safe and proper living conditions. They deserve to have a comfortable home just like anything or anyone.
2. That you are aware of the bylaws in your area. Pheasants, for example, require a specific licence to own and the local bylaw in Brampton and Caledon area is something like a maximum of 4 live chickens in a residential area.
3. You have considered an appropriate means to remove waste – something that is particularly important with chickens and poultry in general.
4. You understand and have all the necessary equipment for raising chicken and poultry – it is more than just simply a “coop”. Things such as heating lamps, nesting boxes and nutritional supplements for laying hens all need to be bought.
5. That you understand the types of feed and are selecting the right one for your needs – they are all good options but there are differences. Thankfully, this is something that Peel Hardware & Supply are happy to explain to you.
While March tends to be the peak of Peel Hardware’s ordering season, they do accept orders all year long, while the store is open. For those new to raising chickens, spring is strongly recommended as the time to place your order and begin. As they are outdoor animals, this gives you the best weather of the year to get your feet under you, and also allows for you to delay getting the extra equipment required for winter chicken raising.
So, if like me, you hadn’t had the slightest clue where to start when it came to raising chickens, hopefully now you’re a little more knowledgeable – and if your interest has been piqued, Peel Hardware & Supply is happy to answer any questions you may have!
Written by: Jillian Kent