Hi Treats for Chickens community, it's me, Dawn!
Can we pleeeeze talk about baby chick season?
I know it's here and its time.
I know I want more.
Well, more realistically: we need more don't we?
Even if it's just one or two?
Bhuut, this is the thing: I can not do "one or two". Can you?
There's just too much empty space in the box when I'm walking out of the chick room. Right? It just feels wrong.
Truth be told those chick boxes are that size for a reason.
Now, maybe your store recycles cardboard product boxes? Kinda big aren't they?
Chick crates? You can seriously fit a bakers dozen in those handled wonders.
Ahnnnd so how in the F am I supposto muster up the strength and mental dominance to select just two (or maybe three) when their safety and warmth for the ride home depends on just that - safety and warmth?
I'm going to need more.
I want more.
Dark brown eggs?
Tiny bantam eggs?
I can raise them in the Treats for Chickens office again and no.one.will.know. bwah-haa-ha-hhaaaaaaaa!
Oh man. Did I just think that? Yes, yes. I did.
Only time will tell.
The best news of all (whether I decide on 2 or 22) we all have options on where to pick up chicks or how to get them to us.
Here's some ideas you may or may not have thought of:
- Farm and Feed Stores in Your Town - if they sell feed, straw, fencing materials and stock tanks they likely stock baby chicks. Stop in or call ahead and ask if they've ordered chicks yet. Many stores are way ahead of the game because they have learned that we-chicken-lovers need details on breeds, egg color, egg size, feather patterns, etc - ahnnd so they will have a page on their website or a flyer in their chick area with all.this.info ready for you. And, many order for the whole season so the list of new arrivals is most exciting!
- Ace Hardware and True Value - many interdependently owned Ace Hardware/True Value locations (not all) will bring in a smaller number of the most common breeds in for a hot minute. Like a weekend or just a couple weeks. Call ahead and ask for arrival dates and expected breeds.
- CraigsList - check your local craigslist in the 'For Sale' section under Farm and Garden. My experience is that there's a larger risk of picking up chicks with undetected health conditions that may result in an expensive trip to an avian vet. And, if you get them when they are itty-bitty it's hard to determine if you are going to REALLY get a hen or not. But, it's an option and maybe you want a few roosters anyway.
- Instagram - a quick hashtag search of #hatchingeggs and #hatchingeggsforsale will take you to a variety of happy chicken moms and dads that are selling fertile hatching eggs. There's no 100% guarantee but its damn fun and the excitement and suspension in those 21 days is just the best damn thing ever. Do your homework on breeds and ensure you have a plan to re-home in case you end up with a rooster.
PC: my husband at the feed store "just looking."
- Facebook Groups - many local communities have their own poultry related groups that you can join and then you'll have a fully engaging poultry mastermind at your fingertips. Most members are hardcore (aren't we all?) and are in one stage or another of hatching eggs, have too many chicks from the feed store, have pullets for sale, laying hens ready to lay or if you need a rooster - they've got a real friendly hand raised fella.
- Local 4-H Poultry Groups - support local youth and their poultry projects. Contact your county 4-H office and ask for the Poultry Leader and inquire if any members are selling chicks.
- Hatcheries - you can order your day-old-chicks from the comfort of your computer and have them shipped right to your local postal office. You'll get a phone call at about oh-dark-30 in the morning signaling you to get your toosh on down to pick up your babies. Meyer Hatchery is my go-to online hatchery with a great assortment of must-have-breeds that will get you an A+ in chicken math. Order early. Some hatch dates sell out.
- Poultry Fairs, Bird Shows and Marketplaces - This original blog post was written pre-COVID, so I can't help but wonder, this still a thing? Prior to March 2020 we had an annual fair with a sizable poultry show. Probably not the best place to obtain chicks but you could always find older birds available for sale, plus breeding pairs, some remarkably handsome roosters and great laying ladies. Typically, these birds need to meet strict requirements in order to be present at the show but it's good to inquire as to health history, any shots and current living environment.
Caring for chickens is such a fun and rewarding experience. It’s no wonder that more people are raising chickens for their enjoyment. Whether your goal is to have a steady supply of eggs or have pet chickens, if you’re ready check out the options above. CLUCK HERE to read other options- Getting Started with Baby Chicks: Q&A.
-Dawn, Treats for Chickens 🧡
Let's keep your flock happy + healthy!
Got something to cluck about? Have other suggestions? Questions?
Help fellow chicken parents and leave a comment below!