Welcome to where to buy chickens, an article in my series Raising Chickens for Beginners. In this article we will go over the many different ways to buy chickens, where to buy chickens, how to find out if they are quality chicks, and is it easier to hatch your own?
So, let's assume you already have a chicken coop and know what chicken breeds you are going to purchase. That helps to narrow down the search quite a bit, because not all hatcheries or breeders will have what you need and want.
One of the most common places to get chicks is at a feed store, however those chicks have likely been handled far too much to be healthy. It seems appealing but the stress of being moved again would cause them to have trouble eating and fighting sickness. I would not buy chicks at feed stores unless absolutely necessary.
If you are looking to buy chicks from a chicken hatchery, there are pros and cons. If you order from a larger chicken hatchery, chances are they won't have a place for you to come see the chicks before purchasing them, however a few of them do offer money back if a lot of your chicks arrive dead or die soon after you receive them.
If you order from a larger hatchery, you can usually order more than if you bought from a small breeder, however that also means if you want ten or less, its harder to buy from a larger hatchery.
When you are buying chicks from any hatchery, be careful and look for people who have already bought from them. If your friends or neighbors have chickens you can ask where they bought theirs, and they can tell you about their experience.
Personally, when I'm buying laying hens, I prefer to have more than one breed, and thats when I love to find local breeders. I like to go see the chicks and pick a few myself. I love to discuss with the breeders, because chances are, they probably have a favorite new breed, and it helps me to find out about new breeds. When I'm ordering birds for meat, a hatchery works well, because I can order as many as I want, and its usually cheaper.
And remember, ask around, usually you can find someone who has bought locally before and ask where they bought from and how their experience was. It's good to use other people's experience.
Did you know that you can hatch your own chicks, even without having hens? You can purchase a small incubator and buy eggs from breeders, or even your friends. In fact, if your friends have chickens, you might be able to ask them to hatch chicks for you. When one person in a community purchases chickens, they can earn a little extra money and help others out by offering to sell chicks.
If none of the people around you happen to have the kind of chickens you want, you can always look online for an animal swap near you. There people will sell chicks, eggs for incubation, and trios of birds. A trio consists of one rooster and two hens.
When you are buying adult birds ask the owner what breed they are, pull out your phone, and look up what the characteristics of that breed are, make sure none of them have faulty cones, check their feet for mites, and look at their wings for anything out of the ordinary. Trust me, you don't want to bring a disease home.
When you bring chicks home they are very fragile, they need heat weather that is a heat pad, a light, or in your house. You should observe chicks carefully for their first few days, and adding sugar, Gatorade, or vitamin and electrolyte powders made especially for chicks.
When you bring home adult birds if you want to free range, i wouldn't release them the first day, let them get used to you and make sure they know where to feed is.
Below are links to everything I can think you need to get started except for chicken feed, i would suggest reading my article here.
I hope this article helped you to get started and be ready to buy your first chicks or chickens.
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