Chicks - you just gotta love 'em!
One loud Easter experience for adults and children alike

by P.J. Harston
Northern News Services

NNSL (Mar 28/97) - Easter just wouldn't be the same without colorful eggs, fluffy bunnies and tonnes and tonnes of mouth-watering chocolate.

And what about those cute little Easter chicks?

"Last year the kids were lined up all the way back past the Elks Hall just to get a look at them," said J.J. Hobbies' Bev Roemer.

For the second year running, J.J. Hobbies' owner, Albert Eggenberger, is bringing in a flock of the cute little yellow fluffies. And for just a couple of "clucks" you can rent one for your kids to enjoy for just a few days or all through the Easter season.

"Last year they were all rented several times over," said Roemer.

Several dozen newly-hatched chicks flew in from Edmonton Wednesday night -- on a jet, don't be silly! -- and are holed up in J.J. Hobbies' pet section, where they'll rest until Saturday morning.

That's when the rentals begin. Roemer said renters can keep them as long as they like, but eventually they will want to return them.

"A lot of them come back Monday. There was this one woman who said, 'Get this damn chicken out of here' last year because it cheeped all night long," said Roemer.

And it doesn't take long for the newly-hatched chicks to grow, either.

"Some of them leave here with nothing at all, but when they come back a week later they're covered in feathers," said Roemer.

When the rental craze is over, which last year was just a few weeks after Easter, Eggenberger raises the chicks into full-grown chickens.

The chicks were on display yesterday at the store, partly to promote the Easter treat, but also to expose children to farm animals they don't often get a chance to view live, north of 60.

"You should see the little children -- they come in and hold them so gently and pet them. It really is a sight," said Roemer.

"We often forget that a lot of kids up here have never seen chicks, cows or horses before," she added.

One thing potential renters should keep in mind is that unless the chicks are treated with the utmost warmth and kindness, they will cheep, cheep, cheep all night long.

And even if they are cared for over and above what even the best mother would consider, they'll probably cheep all night long anyway, just to let you know they're alive.