The thing Americans are buying faster than toilet paper are baby chicks


The combination of a big jump in unemployment, anxious free time for those not struggling with illness, and financial instability has created a number of strange moments in economics. Here’s another: For the next few weeks, baby chickens are next to impossible to find. Apparently when times are tough, people want chickens. Chick sales go up during stock market downturns and in presidential election years.

… Murray McMurray Hatchery, of Webster City, Iowa, ships day-old poultry through the Postal Service, and is almost completely sold out of chicks for the next four weeks: “People are panic-buying chickens like they did toilet paper.”

… Some buyers are simply replenishing their flocks, having put in orders weeks or months ago. But many people who have bought chicks in the last week are first-timers.

… According to the Agriculture Department, last week wholesale egg prices rose more than 50 percent in some parts of the country, because of demand; eggs have been running low if not sold out altogether in many stores in the United States. The egg supply is normal, of course; demand just grew significantly.

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