Edited by Chicken Egg 17 - 4/7/16 at 12:04pm
Lancaster fancy fowl help please
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I am currently attempting to deal with Lancaster Fancy Fowl and I must say, I can't recommend it. It looks like I'm in the hole for $80 and only get double-talk, excuses and hand-offs between the two partners.
On March 26, I paid them $20/ea in advance for four 1-day-old chicks (2 cream crested legbars and 2 rhodebars). I discussed the availability of the chicks with Michael on the phone while placing the order. He said they would be available within a week and I could disregard the fact that the rhodebars were not on the "Available Soon" list. The next morning, some eight hours after ordering, I thought better of the plan and the conversation and sent an email asking to cancel. I received no reply. Several days later, after calling and being told by Michael that he would talk to his partner who was "being grumpy" about cancellations, I got an email from LFF telling me that my chicks would be ready any time between April and late May. After another email asking to cancel, I got a flat refusal.
The cream-crested legbars continue to be listed on the "Available Soon" list. I emailed again on April 6 asking when I could pick up the chicks. I was told that they were ready and I could pick them up on Friday, April 8. On Friday, I called to check the address and Michael, speaking as if he had the worst cold in the world, told me that the chickens were in fact dead, having perished during a power failure, but that there would be a new batch ready to go on Monday or Tuesday and he would call and let me know when they would be ready. I received no call. Once again, I emailed and asked to be contacted. I received a response from John in New Zealand saying Michael would be in touch with me "this coming week". Nothing. Crickets. Sent another email. No response. Tonight, I sent a third email asking for either the chickens or a refund.
I will likely have to file with PayPal, the Better Business Bureau and the small-claims court to get a refund. Don't make the same mistake I did.
I had a very similar experience, and am attempting to get a refund, although it is past the date for Visa to allow this, however, with all of Michael's good intentions talk, and fairly prompt return phone calls it took me a while to wise up. He told me my chicks were in the incubator and he "didn't know how they would turn out" - interesting since he's advertising show quality silkies and said they could be shipped 2 weeks after my initial order in February. May came and still no confirmation, so I gave up on them, pretty sad because buying season is now pretty much over...
Edited by Chicken Egg 17 - 5/16/16 at 6:28pm
I just picked up chicks today from Lancaster Fancy Fowl, the owners are very nice and are helpful. They purchased the company over the winter and are working hard to get the company running and doing what they can to fill orders. I had to wait a while to get the rare breeds I ordered as they have a very limited population of birds and will only sell the best chicks, unlike larger hatchery's who line breed and sell anything that is not obviously flawed. I got healthily chicks Rhode bars, Marrunda Basques, and Barred Rocks, who are much healthier then the chicks I have got from a different hatchery.
I have noticed with many rare breeds the chicks are more delicate then common breeds( i have bought chicks from person, hatched one from shipped eggs (yes one chick out of 36 eggs from 3 different good sources, 6 arrived broken). I made the choice to drive down and personally pick up as i am not a fan of the USPS system for shipping chicks, and believe that saving the chicks the stress of being like a ping pong ball in a giant system is best for them. They do not ship hatching eggs as they do not believe shipped eggs will hatch often. This is due to the post office is often very rough on any product they ship. Between the rough treatment, random X-ray of packages (which kills embryos), and the rapid and uncontrolled temperature and pressure changes of being air shipped, hatch rates are minimal at best.
The owner personally called me twice and explained the issues causing the delays, you can't control the sex of the chicks you hatch, and this season has been the year of boys. Not only for Lancaster fancy fowl, but everyone as pullets have been in short supply in all my local stores as well, and as I ordered sexed chicks he wanted to make sure I got the pullets I ordered and that they where good healthy chicks who meet the breed standards. I ordered in early February and just got them today. they are a tiny start up company, and all hatcheries experience delays and issues, because lets face it chickens are moody and lay or stop when ever that want as we all know, and when you are only breeding a small flock this hurts. Even large scale hatchery's have delays and issues, I have never had fast shipment of chicks, except when its been a weekly special (overstock), or End of the season clearance.
As for show quality or not of birds look at the birds descriptions the Show line birds are marked with a "SQ" at the end, and the description tells that flocks they parent stock came from.
Yes they are open, I picked up some chicks today (5/19/2016). They are a Micro Hatchery who are under new ownership this year, they are doing their best to fix the issues the old owner had created, and are brand new to the business of being a chicken hatchery are doing their personal best to make the business work. This season has been bad for everyone in the chicken business (In my area local we have been short chicks in all the stores, even tractor supply), with low egg laying rates and high rates of male chicks hatching its hard to meet the demand for sexed chicks. The owner is doing his best to get chicks out, but rare breeds are not as easy to breed so people need to understand there are delays in orders being processed, and shipped. If you call leave them a name, call back number and state the reason you are calling, he will do his best to call you back. He received multiple calls while I was picking up and had to let them go to voice mail so he could talk about the chicks I was picking up. Since its only two people working in the business expect to have to leave a message, details will help them have the answers you are looking for ready.