Between teasing 70-degree days and the influx of pastels and florals lining store aisles, the signs are here. Spring is dying to, well, spring in Northern Virginia. If you’re looking to spend more time with nature this season, Great Country Farm’s chick-raising program might be just the thing.
Starting April 1, you can build a relationship with food and farming through a tiny, fluffy avenue. Plus, it’s just in time for Easter.
The program lets you buy four chicks and take them home to try your hand at taking care of them. At pickup, there are care kits available with everything you’ll need to tend to these babies. The Bluemont farm also offers a 30-minute class outlining what you need to know before embarking on this journey.
Head farmer Andrew Taylor says anyone can do it.
“Our main reasoning behind it all is just to connect people to farming,” Taylor says. “We want our community to be well educated on chickens and eggs, and really just all sorts of farming.”
The chick-raising program began a few years ago as part of Great Country Farms’ mission to bring agriculture to its community through tourism and activities.
Taylor says that with recent news about egg prices and Avian flu, as well as factors like increased development and farms going out of business, people are less connected with their food.
People of all ages gain valuable experiences through this program, especially families with children, Taylor says.
“They want that exposure for their kids to raise up a chicken,” he says. “I’ll tell you what, they come back with the funniest names you’ve ever heard. … Seeing where food comes from and having that hands-on experience and that responsibility is really big for us, so we like introducing that to a kid’s daily life.”
The best part? You can chicken out, so to speak, any time. In other words, if the chicks become too much to take care of, Great Country Farms welcomes the animals back to live out the remainder of their lives in a happy, healthy environment. This is a mutually beneficial system since this season brings the need for new laying hens on the farm. Taylor said that typically about 50 to 60 percent of the chicks are returned.
Then again, if you fall in love with these little guys, they’re all yours to keep.
Prices start at $40 for four chicks and a week’s food supply. The additional care package is $69.99 and includes a feeder, a water dish, and a heat mat to keep the chicks at a healthy temperature. Taxes and fees apply.
Feature image courtesy Great Country Farms
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