ALTON — As families look to eat more natural, homegrown food, the farm-to-table trend is popping up in back yards.
And for families embracing the backyard-to-table movement, chickens are a key element, according to Tractor Supply Co., the nation’s largest rural lifestyle retailer.
During its springtime Chick Days event, Tractor Supply serves as a resource for families who want to get started raising backyard poultry. Through April, baby chicks and ducklings are available at most Tractor Supply stores nationwide, including the Alton location.
Americans are looking to their back yards for more control over their food supply and fresh, nutritious food for their families. Daily access to nutritionally superior eggs and organic garden fertilizer makes chickens a smart addition to back yards, said Kathy Shea Mormino, a backyard chicken contributor for Tractor Supply’s Know How Central and author of the backyard chicken website The Chicken Chick.
“Breakfast from the backyard is just the beginning — the joys and benefits of raising chickens are endless,” Mormino said. “Beyond eggs, another enormous perk of keeping chickens is garden fertilizer; there is no more valuable amendment to garden soil than nitrogen-rich chicken manure.”
Growing food is nothing new for many American families but raising chickens has led many to have more fun in the kitchen — trying their hand at breakfast burritos and frittatas to dinner entrees like handmade pasta with garden fresh basil pesto.
“When the hens begin producing eggs and the garden flourishes, families really begin to appreciate what their flocks can help them create in the kitchen. The coop to garden to table connection is so rewarding,” Mormino said. “What often begins as a hobby quickly becomes a gratifying and healthy way of life for the entire family.”
During Chick Days, Tractor Supply stores feature all the items needed to start a backyard flock, including chicks and ducklings, starter kits, feeders, bedding, heat bulbs and lamps, coops, and more. Beyond Chick Days, Tractor Supply stores are stocked year round with the items needed to properly raise and care for backyard poultry. Enthusiasts can also visit tractorsupply.com for an expanded selection and year-round availability of poultry products.
Visit TractorSupply.com/Chicks for expert information on safe handling and care for poultry, building a chicken coop and more. Learn more about chick and duckling arrivals at www.TractorSupply.com/StoreLocator.