Buy spring chicks now for eggs by July 4

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EUGENE, Ore. Here's something to tweet about: It's technically winter, but spring chickens are arriving at The Eugene Backyard Farmer. That's good news for poultry owners hoping to add to their brood.

"The other advantage of getting baby chicks early is you get a jump start on your eggs," Backyard Farmer Bill Bezuk said. "Chickens take about 20 weeks to mature, which is about five months. So, the chicks we have in the store right now, they should be laying for you right around the Fourth of July."

There are dozens of breeds of chickens, some prized for their eggs, others for their meat. And Bezuk says, you can find several that will give you both.

"We try to focus on the ones that're going to be good in an urban environment. Generally, large dual purpose breeds are good egg layers," Bezuk said.

"Everybody feels brighter and cheerier with the chicks around. It's springtime and we're planting potatoes and onions," Diess Feed and Seed owner Mike Lengele said.

Just outside Eugene, this little helper is ready to handle a few sales and Mike Lengele's brooder is ready to receive the first batch of chicks. Many of which, are already spoken for.

"So people can plan ahead, they can say, I want my chicks in say, two months. This is what I want, we can say, yep, we got those coming in for you," Lengele said.

Even if you're a bit nervous about opening up your backyard to some fowl play, Bezuk says it's a hobby that's relatively simple.

"I think people are surprised to see how terribly easy they are to raise," Bezuk said. "I make comparisons to house cats. They take about the same amount of trouble."

A hobby that won't ruffle your feathers and will bring you plenty of rewards. Diess Feed and Seed will offer a free class on chick raising on Saturday, Feb. 22nd at 1 p.m.

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