There are a number of ways to go about getting chickens. Today I’m sharing my experiences and recommendations when it comes to buying day old chicks.
I am so excited about having a flock of backyard chickens again! It’s been a few years since we’ve had chickens on the farm, and I definitely missed having chickens wandering around our barn and yard. A mixed flock of chickens, scratching in the dirt for worms, pecking at bugs, and clucking contentedly just makes my heart happy.
After I figured out what kind of chickens I wanted to get, I had to actually purchase them. Luckily there a lot of different ways to purchase day old chicks, and I’ve actually bought them from feed stores, local hatcheries, and had chicks shipped to me from out of state hatcheries in the past. Today I am sharing my experiences and recommendations when it comes to buying day old chicks, and how I ended up buying my 2020 backyard flock.
I think local hatcheries are one of the best resources for day old chicks! They actually are chicken farmers, and know all the ins and outs of raising chickens in our area, and are a great source of information.
Catch a Torri Farms home of The Poultry Hatchery in Clifton Springs provides the highest quality poultry, feeds and equipment in the Finger Lakes area. The Poultry Hatchery has been a trusted and knowledgeable resource since 2011. Catch a Torii Farms is dedicated to offering a diverse breed of Bantams, chicks, ducks, turkeys, guineas, geese and pheasants. Whether you’re an experienced grower or an enthusiastic beginner, you will enjoy their wide selection of breeds and supplies to help you grow your flock.
Farm and Feed Stores
Your local farm and feed store, such as Tractor Supply, CountryMax and Agway is a great place to start. You can go and see the chicks in person, and learn about the different breeds available, their temperament, the average quantity and color of the eggs they lay. As a bonus you can also pick up all the equipment, supplies, and feed you will need to get you started.
Farm and feed stores usually have a very limited selection of chicken breeds to choose from. My local feed store currently offers Golden Comets, Rhode Island Reds, and Barred Rocks. This year I had my eye on a couple of specialty breeds and skipped the feed store in favor of a out of state hatchery.
Mail Order Hatcheries
I love ordering hard to find chicken breeds from larger out of state hatcheries. Ordering from a hatchery allows me to get the exact breeds I want, when I want them.
Right before hatching, chicks and other baby poultry absorb the last of the yolk — their food source while they are in their egg. This last bit of yolk provides enough nutrition to sustain the chick for about three days without eating or drinking, which makes shipping chicks through the mail possible, if they arrive quickly. My post office has always gone above and beyond getting my chicks to me quickly. I usually let them know a week or 2 before my chicks are scheduled to arrive that I am expecting an order of live chicks, and leave my phone number so they can get a hold of me once my chicks show up to my local post office.
Meyer Hatchery – My favorite source for shipped chicks! They have a great selection, and I’ve always been very pleased with the chicks I’ve gotten from Meyer Hatchery. They are happy to accommodate any size order and allow you to mix and match multiple breeds of the same poultry type to meet their minimum order requirements for safe shipping.
Cackle Hatchery – I have never ordered from Cackle Hatchery, but have friends who have and have been very happy. Cackle Hatchery has been selling chicken, waterfowl, bantam chickens, and standard old English game since 1936.
Hoover’s Hatchery – Hatches over 100 different breeds of chickens for backyard poultry. Located in Iowa, Hoover’s provide a vast majority of the chicks to large store chains, such as Tractor Supply.
Murray McMurray – Popular among my friends who raise show quality chickens for programs such as 4h, Murray McMurray Hatchery provides the highest quality poultry and has been a trusted resource for day old chicks. Whether you are an experienced or novice enthusiast, they are sure you will enjoy their wide selection of breeds and supplies to assist you with raising your flock. If raising chicks is not your “thing” they also have a small selection of started pullets to choose from.
This year I ordered my chicks from Meyer Hatchery, my mixed flock is set to arrive May 12th, which is later than I would of liked, but I was late on deciding to dive back into the world of backyard chickens this year. You can read more about the ckickens I selected to be a part of my backyard laying flock here.