Chooks flying out the door, seeds sales growing

Abbey Williams of Oaklands shows trays of the same vegetable but different size seedlings as pressure is put of growing companies to keep up with demand.
Abbey Williams of Oaklands shows trays of the same vegetable but different size seedlings as pressure is put of growing companies to keep up with demand.

In our fear of this virus and the unknown, it seems we are turning to self-sustainability, either in the form of a cupboard full of toilet paper or a move towards real self-reliance.

It's a panic-driven desire which has seen packets of seed, seedlings and chooks, flying out of the door at Oaklands, Pambula.

"Oh my God it's been crazy," Abby Williams of Oaklands said about chook sales, pointing of a list of orders for the Isa Brown and Australorp chooks the business sells.

Typically the stock feed shop will take a steady order for 30-40 chooks every two to three months but the last couple of weeks have been very different.

Expect to wake up to sound of clucking somewhere nearby, given the increase in orders!

Expect to wake up to sound of clucking somewhere nearby, given the increase in orders!

"Two weeks ago we placed an order for 60 but we've had about 90 ordered in the last week," Abbey said.

So who is buying chooks and why?

Abbey believes people are panicking because of a shortage of eggs in supermarkets. She points to a couple of cartons of eggs on the counter saying they get sold very quickly.

"We're seeing a lot of people in here we've never seen before. When people order chooks we always ask if they have somewhere to keep them and know how to look after them."

Abbey is ready with plenty of advice but she worries that some may fall prey to the many foxes roaming around.

Some people were picking up six or more packets. We're having to limit people to one packet of any one type of vegetable.

Abbey Williams, Oaklands

"We always expect to see a orders from people who have older chooks that are no longer laying or have lost chooks to foxes but not this many," she said.

And of course with the chooks, goes chook feed and the materials to make chook pens.

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On the other side of the shop, packet seed sales have been exceeding all expectations.

"We might do between $10 and 50 worth of seeds a week, but now we're selling a couple of hundred dollars worth a day," Abbey said.

"Some people were picking up six or more packets. We're having to limit people to one packet of any one type of vegetable."

Outside the trays of seedlings have been selling so fast the seedling companies have been having trouble keeping up and so the seedlings are coming in smaller than usual.

Dog food and dog treats have been disappearing off the shelves.

Dog food and dog treats have been disappearing off the shelves.

From the regular growers, to the casual grower and the newcomer, the demand is up. For some newcomers though its all a bit of a maze.

"People have been asking for tomato and cucumber seedlings not realising that it's not the growing season for them," Abbey said.

There have been unconfirmed reports that a queue started outside Mitre 10 - mainly for seedlings - before the store opened recently.

And with the seedlings comes the need for garden beds.

"We've had mass deliveries of soil and compost."

People have been asking for tomato and cucumber seedlings not realising that it's not the growing season for them.

Abbey Williams, Oaklands

But the panic doesn't stop there as people worry about their much-loved pets.

Abbey said the dog food racks were full but then she had one day off and on her return there were just four bags left.

"Dog treats had all gone, the kangaroo meat in the freezer gone."

"We went through the drought but it wasn't this bad," Abbey said.

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