Clamoring for critters - Sales booming for ducklings, chicks, rabbits

By: Melody Stone
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Peeps aren’t the only fluffy colorful chicks getting purchased this Easter weekend. Placer County residents are scooping up hatchlings to eat bugs, provide eggs and save a little money on groceries. Penny Coey, manager at Echo Valley Ranch, said their chicken sales have skyrocketed since the recession. Last year, Auburn’s Echo Valley Ranch sold 12,000 chickens, in 2008 they sold 8,000, Coey said. At the moment Coey was sold out of ducks. She said they are very popular and make great companions. “Ducks make a very good pet,” Coey said. "They are very loyal. They follow you all over the place." Anona Czarnek and her father, Robert Dobbins, went back to Echo Valley to purchase two more chicks for their brood Friday afternoon. Thursday they bought six chicks for Dobbins’ large property in Newcastle. Czarnek said she hopes caring for the chickens will help Dobbins stay active. “He need to get out and walk around more,” Czarnek said. They also plan to get a few cows and some ducks. Czarnek said they want chickens for the eggs and the bug control. Coey said Echo Valley Ranch has many different kinds of chicks in several shapes and colors. Such as the Amicana, which has green legs and lays green eggs. She said the colored eggs are better for dying. They also carry Marans chicks, which are black and lay red eggs. Echo Valley had one baby Netherland dwarf bunny for sale Friday. Coey said bunnies also make great pets because they are quiet and sociable. "(Bunnies are) quiet. They are real fun and furry and love to sit in your lap,” Coey said. "They can even be potty trained." Rabbits can, however, become difficult when they age. Janet Foster with Second Chance Bunnies said bunnies get hormonal and aggressive when they get older. “Bunnies are never a good idea to give as a gift,” Foster said. “When you give a gift sometimes it’s fun when you first get it and after a while it just wears off.” Foster said a bunny should be a family pet that the adults are helping care for. “Rabbits need a little bit different care than cats and dogs,” Foster said. Foster has seven rabbits up for adoption right now. She said bunnies are as easy as a cat to potty train. Put a large litter box in a corner of the house and the rabbit knows to use the box, Foster said. “I do adopt to a lot of families with children as long as the parents are the primary care givers of the rabbits,” Foster said. “Children are just children and they lose interest in things.”