One of the craziest realizations we all make as we first learn about raising chickens is that the live chicks are actually delivered in the mail. If you hadn’t made that realization that you can order chicks yet, don’t feel badly, but now you know!
Because chicks arrive in the mail, there are several considerations you should be aware of. First, chicks huddle together to keep warm, so no hatchery will ship you only one chick. If you really want only one chicken, please look for a local hatchery or farm where you can pick her up in your nice warm car.
Even with a few chicks huddled together in a shipping carton, your birds will still be cold when they arrive. So, it is critical that you have everything set up and ready to go for them before they arrive. And, it goes without saying, but it is also critical that you be home when your delivery arrives. You will have to sign for the birds, and you will want to get them out of their crate and into their brooder as soon as possible.
There are a few options you have when ordering your chicks, but the basic process looks like this:
- Decide on breed(s): Egg Layers, Meat Birds, Dual-purpose, Ornamental or Bantam
- Decide on quantity: How many eggs per week? How much meat for your freezer?
- Decide on gender: Pullets (female chick), Cockerel (male chick), Straight Run (mixed)
- Decide on vaccination: See below
- Pick a hatchery: a local hatchery or one online
- Pick a delivery date window for your order: Traditionally spring when temperatures and humidity are moderate
- Prepare your brooder: Home Brooder, Box Brooder or Area Brooder
- Purchase your supplies: Chick Starter, Chick Feeders, Chick Waterers, etc. at the bottom of this page.
- Take delivery of your baby chicks
- Immediately warm them to 90-95 degrees and hydrate them
Many hatcheries offer an option to pay a small fee to have your chicks vaccinated for Coccidiosis, which is a common intestinal disease among chicks. This disease is uncommon when you:
- Keep your brooder clean
- Keep your litter clean and dry
- Refresh water supplies regularly and sanitize your chick waterer daily
- Prevent chicks from getting excrement into water and food supplies
- Keep chicks out of warm humid weather (e.g., target spring hatches)
Our personal preference is to keep our flocks as organic and un-medicated as possible. But, this decision is up to each of you to make on your own.
Please do keep in mind that you should not give medicated chick starter to chicks that have already been vaccinated.
The following table highlights various chick feeders and chick starter feed that we carry: