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Hatcheries, Day Old Chicks


Pros: There are some devoted staff, who unfortunately have no power to undo the mistakes of the others.

Cons: Unhealthy stock, endless clerical errors, rudeness & outright dishonesty -- Also, misleadingly, they are a brokerage for Meyer, not a hatchery,

Our first order was in June of 2012 -- and like many who've reviewed, we had problems getting the breeds we wanted -- all on the same date.  The shipping cost is steep with My Pet Chicken, and being a beginner, I really didn't relish the idea of integrating different age groups of hens.  We settled on substitutes and made arrangements with our post mistress to call us immediately on the big day. Our order arrived with only 2 of the 7 alive.  Those 2 died within 2 days. I was pretty shaken, and would have really liked to have had a more sympathetic person to speak with regarding their condition, and the ensuing process. The insensitivity and rudeness was later defended in the name of "efficiency" -- as in "I'm sure she was just trying to get you the birds you want . . . " and I might have bought that somewhat, if they hadn't called back to tell me that they " couldn't process my order with the birds selected" yet again . . . and then again . . . and yep -- AGAIN.

So, I selected birds that I was less and less familiar with, trusting that they knew what they were advising me about.  Of the 7 I had REALLY wanted: at least 1 Austrolorp, at least 1 Speckled Sussex, and a couple of Salmon Faverolles (pref. 1 of each gender). and hopefully a Brahma and/or an Orpington --  Suffice to say I ended up, finally, with none of those -- except the Faverolles. And they were deformed (as was a female ordered on the same date by another buyer - from Meyer Hatchery.


  I hadn't known it at the time, but "My Pet Chicken" is not a Hatchery.  They are merely brokers who get their birds from Meyer Hatchery.  (And Re-sell them with inflated prices and for absurd shipping charges.) They answer phones and emails from all over the country, but cannot affect the orders of a Hatchery that has their own huge orders to fill. So if someone fails to enter your phone order -- which happened to me REPEATEDLY . . . well suddenly you become a very low priority, and are out of choices -- behind Meyer customers and any MPC internet sales that may have come in while you assumed your order was all set.  And, instead of being honest about the situation they make a lot of excuses and creatively falsify what's transpired, and what's been ordered -- and especially what they've promised. If, like me, this whole nightmare took you right through to August, well you aren't likely to find many of the choices that you paid to reserve 8 weeks ago.  I gave up and found some of the breeds I'd wanted through breeders in my local (Northern CA) area and awaited the  "re-shipment" --a very different bunch of birds, which they were finally able to ship 3 weeks later.  Unfortunately, I had purchased 2 baby Austrolorps (at the suggestion of one of the My Pet Chicken customer service staff) to keep the last remaining Faverolles baby company.  When he died, I still had healthy (but older) babies to integrate. We'd been given some EE's (as MPC had none) and when the last of the (first shipment) Faverolles left the Austrolorps lonely, we got a Crested Polish and an RIR so they'd have playmates.

   My second MPC shipment arrived with some healthier birds. Only one, a Cinnamon Buff, looked truly sickly, but again, the Faverolles had problems.  The females had very twisted toes, which I tried very hard to help along.  One, named Gidget, improved pretty well, and one, Binky-Rae didn't.  Still she gets around fairly well and is much loved and enjoyed by all of us. She is also well protected by her Barred Rock sister "Miss Weezah".  Sadly, the male, "Fargo" had this weird soggy, almost pendulous belly that we hoped was merely a hernia -- I didn't know that such a tiny chick could have such a problem, but it seems to be cardiac related.  At 8 months he had to be re-homed, and now has a flatter backyard to roam.  As the Cochin pullet they sent turned out to be a rooster, and the Cinnamon Buff had died within a couple of days of arrival, we were looking at a flock without many stellar layers.   

  We finally purchased a few SLW's with a Buff Orpington and one more RIR. to round out the mix.  In all I had  5 separate age groups to integrate, which as a beginner, I found challenging.  I had chosen to go with My Pet Chicken because I felt they could offer the best customer support and probably healthier stock.  I also wanted too support certain policies I believe in:  -- Not de-beaking, not "peanut-packing" baby males, and so on.  But since they merely broker their birds,  I'm actually supporting another hatchery about whom I know nothing -- except that they had some major problems with their Faverolles that season. I feel sorry for the 2 very nice people I spoke spoke with who understood why I so wanted to have chickens, who shared my initial excitement, and my eventual frustration.  They were totally devoted to chickens, yet devoid of any power to help when things when wrong, over, and over again.  That said, I would absolutely NOT recommend My Pet Chicken based on my experiences. Too many people were simply too unprofessional. Rather than try to deal with it, they simply made excuses and made up fiction.  They should be ashamed. Perhaps someday they'll pull together a viable company, but they made a miserably frustrating, horribly disappointing and overly expensive experience out of something I had very much wanted to enjoy.  We love our birds very much, but they deserved a better and less stressful start.  


Pros: Great customer service, healthy chicks, Fast delivery

Cons: Needs to hatch more chicks more often, some breeds expensive

McMurray (MM) is absolutely great. They have good customer service, and healthy chicks. During winter though they hatch less chicks then most hatcheries so ordering certain breeds can be a pain if you plan for spring eggs. Also some breeds can be expensive or hard to order, for example ,  guineas you need 35 or something like that to order, and you cannot add them to your chick order. Overall though their a great hatchery whom we're going to order from again (not that we've only ordered once so far! :D )


Pros: Very good communication, shipping top notch

Cons: Hard to know origin of chicks (HOWEVER SEE REVIEW)

I recently ordered 6 chicks from I was attracted to their selection of hard(ish)-to-find chicks, their early ship date and their low minimums. I selected five chicks from their fairly generous selection and asked the customer service rep to "surprise me" with one of the breeds that I couldn't decide on. The lady I was working with was very sweet and seemed delighted by the task. She seemed to put some real thought into the matter. Six peeping, warm healthy chicks were delivered to me, double-boxed and with a heat pack. I asked the customer service lady which hatcheries they work with, and she said they work with a few of the local hatcheries in Missouri, very vague. I did a bit of sleuthing and noticed that the available/unavailable dates for each breed on the Cackle website exactly matched that on the website. So I suspect that chickensforbackyards acts as a middle man/shipper for Cackle, which allows you to get a small number of chicks (Cackle's minimums are 25 chicks I think) with a not-unreasonable markup. The price paid also comes with customer service that a backyard flocker like me would be pleased with. We are notoriously high maintenance... I emailed several times with questions and received replies the same day, and not just computer-generated auto emails. Perhaps this is Cackle's answer to backyard chicken keepers.


At any rate, the chicks are now 11 days old and all are happy and healthy. The Black Copper Marans is growing like a weed and is feather-legged. The Gold-Laced Wyandotte has very nice lacing so far. My Easter Egger developed a badly crossed beak at 6 days old and had to be culled by day 10. I don't hold this against the hatchery as it seems common among EEs and looked perfectly fine until day 6. There aren't many reviews on this company, so hopefully someone will find this helpful. 


Pros: Lots of breeds, lots of varieties, small minimum

Cons: Can send the wrong order

Ideal Poultry, a hatchery started in 1937, is a family owned and operated business. They claim that their business is built on customer service and quality poultry, and from what I've seen, they stay true to that.


They are the biggest supplier of backyard poultry, having a wide range of bantams, brown egg layers, white egg layers, rare breeds, ducks, and geese, they ship their poultry all over the United States of America, and sell close to 5 million chicks annually.


While you can get quality chicks from them, there's always the chance that you wont get any quality poultry from them. Their poultry often fits what they say, with the red sex links laying brown eggs regularly, and the white leghorns laying jumbo-size white eggs regularly.  


If you want quality poultry from a hatchery, then you're looking in the wrong place. Hatcheries do not breed their birds the same way a responsible, reputable breeder would. Instead of looking at hatcheries as a source of quality poultry, you should try to find a breeder of the bird you are looking for. There are plenty of good breeders right here on BYC!


There is no minimum order for poultry, but your order must come to $25.00


Ideal Poultry is U.S Avian Influenza clean, and Pullorum-Typhoid clean.


I hope this review helps someone decide whether or not Ideal Poultry is for them.


Thanks for reading! Please comment! yippiechickie.gif 


Pros: Warmer Climate Makes Shipping Early Spring Chicks to West Coast Safer, Robust Healthy Chicks, Great Customer Service they have California Greys

Cons: The website isn't the best but you can figure it out pretty easily. Not as extensive a selection as some.

I had placed an order with another hatchery but then I learned that that hatchery shipped on Fridays and chicks sat in postal distributions all weekend and many here on BYC were experiencing high death rates amongst their chicks I cancelled it and looked elsewhere.  I found that Privett had the breeds I wanted including a new desire,  California Greys, which are only available in two hatcheries.  I changed my order twice during the time between placing it and receiving it.  The customer service people were polite and friendly and promptly took care of the changes I requested.


The chicks hatched on the 24th and arrived as scheduled on the 26th. I was thrilled with the size and apparent health of each one.  They seemed twice the size of the chicks I had received from another more well known hatchery last year.    I had my own hatch going and when my babies hatched they looked tiny by comparison too. 


Privett is located in New Mexico so for those of us on the  west coast it may make more sense to use them in terms of less potential stress on the chicks.


Because I have learned that sexing chicks is so hard on them I will not order sexed chicks again unless they are auto-sexing.  But I am really pleased with the pullets I have received  from Privett.


Purchase price for  sexed pullets: 10 Easter Eggers, 5 Speckled Sussex, 5 California Grey, 5 Partridge Rocks.  I  don't remember what shipping was but it was reasonable...under 20.00


Pros: can mix different poultry....15 bird minimum

Cons: rare breeds of chickens and ducks only sold straight run

I ordered 5 LF light brahma pullets 5 LF buff brahma s/r and 5 s/r cayuga ducks.  They sent and extra LB as well. We lost 2 chicks the first day but the rest thrived and did well.  I cannot say for certain if we recieved the exact sexes as a raccoon took care of culling for us and cut the flock down to our current flock of  2 light and 2 buff pullets and 1 buff rooster and 1 cayuga drake.  The light brahmas are excellent quality and are laying well the buffs aren't quite as impressive but my Cayuga Drake is very close to the standard with the exception of a little extra green on his bill.  Overall very satisfied!!


Pros: True to standard Dominiques, good customer service, nice chicks

Cons: unsexed in rarer breeds

Several years ago I ordered 15 chicks from Cackle. They all were healthy, and thrived after being shipped all the way to NNY. Their Dominiques are from an old successful show line and I got 2 show worthy hens in my order. I also had their Buff Orps, SL Wyandottes, GL Wyandottes. I was extremely pleased. The only thing I didn't like was that they didn't used to offer Marck's vaccinations of chicks, but they do now.


Pros: Can order as little as 3 chicks, lots of breeds, fast delivery

Cons: none yet

I was very nervous ordering from them because of what I had read in this forum and it was also my first time getting chicks this way.  Thankfully, my three chicks arrived exactly on the day that were scheduled. Chirpy, active and they look healthy. Its only been 3 days but so far so good. They were nicely "packaged" with multiple layers of wood shaving mats and a heat pad. 


Pros: low prices, good selection of rare bantams, online availability views

Cons: whole order DOA and had to work to get good customer service

Ordered 25 bantam EEs and 2 bantam Welsummers and unfortunately, they froze in shipping.  Not enough bedding and no heat pack and then it appears weather caused a delay or something in shipping which caused the demise of my whole order.  Called to report them DOA and wouldn't be able to get whole exact order until end of May or partial re-order in 3 weeks. Was pretty bummed and ended up not re-ordering from them cause I was paranoid it would happen again and I couldn't get everything I wanted anyways.  Original phone call to customer service did not garner a whole lot of sympathy from the lady on the other end.  Sent an email to the company via their website and got an email back from Jess who was very helpful and sympathetic about the loss of my babies.  She offered to throw in a Vitapak with my reorder or refund the whole thing.  I chose refund because I was gun-shy, but I might try ordering from them in a warmer time of year.  I think maybe during cold weather it's a bad idea to order from a hatchery that is more than one state away.  3.5 stars for good selection and after emailing, excellent customer service, but no more than that cause the chicks should have been able to make it here alive.


Pros: Great Birds

I ordered the Brown Egg Layers Special from Murray McMurray last summer and all I can say is wow. The order comes with 25 of various breeds and they throw in a free exotic chick. They gave me 26 girls plus a Buff Laced Polish roo as my bonus. They all grew up strong and healthy and the mix was wonderful. I got some red colored breeds, some white, some barred rocks, 1 black one. I did lose some but it was to dogs and had nothing to do with the health of these birds. I just ordered from a different hatchery this year because when you start order different breeds from Murray they charge a significant amount more plus shipping is a little expensive with Murray. But I got all strong healthy chicks and I have nothing bad to say about my experience with Murray. I will post again whenever I get my new chicks from this other hatchery.


I posted 2 pictures of my chicks when I got them from Murray. The one picture of them in the box is literally when they arrived to my house. I opened the box and there they all were alive and hungry!

Hatcheries, Day Old Chicks

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BackYard Chickens › Breeds & Supplies › Chicken Breeds › Hatcheries, Day Old Chicks