Chickens walking out the door

Laying hens are walking out the door as soon as they arrive at Branxton Pet Shop.

Traditionally owner Trevor Stafa would order and sell 60 isa brown laying hens a fortnight.

During covid he sold that many in a day and the demand isn’t slowing down.

“Two-hundred-and-twenty hens came in two weeks ago and I sold them all in just four days, I got another 100 last Friday and they are all gone and the next lot won’t be in until August and I’ve got 800 on hold already,” Trevor told The Hunter River Times on Monday.

He added that his supplier is experiencing a similar demand.

“When we first started getting the demand from customers I rang my supplier to see if I could increase my order and he was all out, he told me he had sold 4000 hens that weekend,” Trevor said.

A lot of the customers spoke of building gardens and chicken coups in their backyards.

“I know I did, both my kids built gardens, they had the time to do it that’s for sure,” he said.

Customer Fiona Efremoff and her two sons, Reid, 4, and Louis, 2, was browsing the store on Monday and admitted that chickens were certainly on her wish list.

She spent time at her aunty’s farm as a child and loved nothing more than collecting the eggs.

“I think it is great for the kids, it teaches them responsibility,” she said.

However, it isn’t just chickens people are after.

“They are buying lambs, goats, quails, pigs, I think anything that people sort of connect to food.”

As happened with the panic buying of toilet paper, customers were also coming to the store to stock up on dog food and bird seed.

“What would normally take us two weeks to sell, we sold in a couple of days,” he said.

An experienced business operator once told Trevor he would have to be in business for 17 years before he could start to see the light.

Trevor has operating the business for 20 years and he says things have never been busier.

“I reckon old mate might have been right.”