Knowing where to buy baby chicks can feel a little confusing.
Spring is busting at the seams and we are dreaming of warmer weather. Tack and feed supply stores are all pushing the “chick days” that every female dreams of through the cold winter days. Getting those little fluffy bundles of
work fun is one of my favorite times of the season.
There are so many options out there for people to acquire chicks but how do you know what is the right place for you? The two common ways are through feed supply stores or order them through a hatchery.
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Buy Baby Chicks From A Hatchery
If you order baby chicks through a hatchery you get them as day-old chicks.
Here are a few reputable hatcheries that do well and you can call to place your order or go online. Your chicks will be shipped to you in the mail! Yep, that’s right in the mail! They will be shipped the day after hatching and sent to your local post office and you pick them up there.
The postmasters don’t send them to your home because that would be extremely risky. More often than not the box the chicks come in will not fit in your mailbox. If left on your front door the chicks would be subject to the weather, neighborhood cats, and other pests. Which would lessen your chance by A LOT to actually get live chicks.
Cackle Hatchery (Missouri)
- www.cacklehatchery.com (Personally use)
- I personally love this hatchery. They have great quality birds and if you have kids showing at county fair they keep them as close the standard as posable. you will not be disappointed.
Mount Healthy Hatchery (Ohio)
- www.mthealthy.com (Friends have used)
Meyer Hatchery (Ohio)
- www.meyerhatchery.com (know people who work there)
Cons For Buying Chicks From a Hatchery
- Chicks are a lot more unstable, even experienced raisers lose a few chicks.
- Getting chicks from a hatchery can also be a bit pricey. The chicks will be about a dolor more and you also pay for shipping if you cannot pick up from the hatchery.
Pros To Buy Chicks From A Hatchery
Hatcheries have much nicer looking birds and you know that they are not crossed with another breed. Being crossed can cause the hens to not lay according to the breed standard and also affects the temperament of the bird. Sometimes causing them to be more aggressive. Personally, I like buying chicks from a hatchery because I am getting exactly what I want and no surprises.
Buy Baby Chicks Form Feed Supply Stores
Examples for my location.
- Tractor Supply
- Rural King
- Buckley Brothers Inc.
Cons For Buying Chicks Form Feed Supply Stores
I have two main issues when buying from feed stores.
- Many breeds are straight run which means the chicks are not sexed. Read the signs carefully. If it does not say pullets at the end of the breed they are most likely straight run and the percentage of roosters are far higher then the percentage of hens. The hatcheries fill the orders for buyers who want sexed chicks first and the rest go to straight run orders.
- I have had a few instances where I ended up with a mixed breed bird. For most people, this is not a problem. For me, I like to know what to expect from my birds. Things like how soon they should lay, how long and how often they should lay (ready the post on how to tell if my hen is laying), what kind of weather they can tolerate, as well as the breed temperament.
You have fewer breed choices when buying from a hatchery.
Pros For Buying Chicks Form Feed Supply Stores
- Often cheaper
- The chicks have been around for a few days so the less stable chicks have already passed on. This lessens your chances of losing chicks you paid for.
Not ready for babies? If “toddlers” a try… (birds that are 3-6 months old. Toddlers is not an official term in just made that up 😉
The most common way to find young chickens is looking in your local craigslist postings. If you look prefer older chickens you can expect to pay 10 to 15 dollars a bird and as much as 30 dollars for the uncommon breeds.
The main thing I would caution you about is with buying started birds you run the risk of bringing diseases home to your other birds you already have or onto your property. Just make sure the other birds on the seller’s property look healthy and you should be fine.
So you have our baby chicks. Now what? Check out our post on caring for chicks.