By Mike Kinney
Customers that flock to the Dollar Tree store in El Sobrante for discounted items can also fetch a priceless interaction with a group of exotic chickens.
Asian Bantam chickens that reside on the property neighboring the store at 3730 San Pablo Dam Road are popular attractions for customers. Shopper Edna Brown called them “the unofficial ambassadors of El Sobrante Valley.”
“Locals and shoppers love these birds,” Brown said as she left the store recently. “Your visit here to the Dollar Tree store isn’t complete until you come visit the chickens.”
In some cases kids visit with the chickens while their parents shop, Brown added.
Frequent Dollar Tree customer Kathryn Driskill describes the chickens as “very social,” as they appear to “really enjoy interacting and being around humans.”
Francis Ramirez, the manager of the Dollar Tree store for the last two years, said he always hears the chickens “singing and cackling when I get here in the morning.”
“They are never in the parking lot; they just sit on the fence or the fruit trees,” Ramirez said. “They never bother anybody. Our customers seem to enjoy them when they come here.”
The American Bantam Association reportedly lists over 400 breeds of Bantam chickens.
“Many people collect Bantam roosters and hens because they look so exotic,” said Amy Loyd of El Sobrante Feed and Pet Supplies. “Bantam chickens are much smaller than your standard chickens and they produce much smaller eggs. Some people prefer to raise Bantam chickens because it takes up less space to house them outdoors.”
Lloyd added that, like most chickens, Bantams are “super smart birds” and “social creatures” that interact well with humans, particularly when raised by humans from a young age.