Originally Posted by kittydoc
Could some of you do me a huge favor? A small group of us is expecting a group of chicks from Sand Hill, and many are different colors of Dorking. None of us has much of an idea of what they will look like as day old chicks since none of us already have Dorkings. We know they'll have 5 toes (but I know someone ordered another 5-toed breed, too!).
If you have some good photos of what 1-2 day old Silver Gray, Rose Comb Red, and Colored Dorking chicks look like, I would love to see them so we can figure out whose chicks are whose!!!
Thank you all in advance,
Oh, I've been through that before. Depending on what you've got in your order, it can be quite challenging. Here's some tips for organizing the chicks.
Sandhilll will give you a detailed list of the number of each chick variety sent. Knowing exactly how many of what will help. Many hatcheries don't do that, and you can really get messed up if they send you an extra of something, or are short on something else, and it's a shared order. Be sure to refer to your packing list. Sandhill is a unique "hatchery," in that is has a large number of uncommon/rare breeds, but not that many breeder birds of each variety. So they often have difficulty filling complex orders in the same shipment -- complex being numerous breeds all at the same time. You may have several substitutions that you weren't expecting. Biology is unpredictable, and they do the best they can to stick as close to your order as possible, but they also don't want to hold up your order forever until they can fill a multifactored order perfectly. I once had a large order with them for turkeys and chicks. The turkey order was the variety pack, so no pressure on them with that one. But the chick order had 3 different breeds, and a specific list of desired substitutes for 2 of the breeds, but with a request to not sent the order until the breed without an acceptable substitute was available. Well, their breeder turkeys got almost wiped out by buffalo gnats that year, and the breed where I didn't want a substitution was having problems, but one week it did well. So that week I was sent 13 of my non-substituted breed (I had ordered 10), 10 out of 15 turkeys, 1 out of 10 Buckeye (it's all they had!), none of 5 Specked Sussex, and none of my "acceptable substitutions" were available (I had listed 4 options). So to fill the box, I was sent Barnevelders and Dominiques as free packing peanuts. It was a shared order, and some people were disappointed, but it all ended well. Several people got free birds that ended up being great pets, layers, or dinners. So fair warning, with complex orders you may not get exactly what you ordered, but they will do their best.
Set up a separate tote for each breed when you're sorting them out. Not a separate tote for each person, but for each breed. It will help keep you organized. Put a label on each tote saying which breed it is, and how many chicks should be in it. That will be your "final sort line."
You will ideally have some "preliminary sort lines." These will be a line of totes that are labeled with obvious features. In your case, it would be things like rose comb vs single comb, or 5 toes vs 4 toes. Or depending on how frantic things are, you might be able to combine things more efficiently with rose combed + 5 toes, or single comb + 5 toes, or single comb + 4 toes, etc, depending on what breeds you've got. You should be able to tell rose comb from single comb on day old chicks (although, be aware that some of your RC Reds may have a single comb from SH).
IF all your RC RDs truly have a rose comb, and you have no other 5-toed rose comb chicks expected, those should be easy to sort out. Don't go by color with the SH RD chicks. Sandhill got their RDs originally from Craig Russell. He loves all varieties of RDs, not just the U.S. standard, so their RDs don't all look alike. Some are more like the UK reds (which look almost exactly like the US Colored), some are more "wheaten" in color, some have a lemon modifier, some are the U.S. Standard, etc. (There may be other colors also, but that's just in my group.) The chick down on mine ranged from blond to almost black, all with chipmunk stripes, eye liner, and most with arrowhead markings on their skull.
The SGDs will all likely look different than the CDs, but you may have some overlapping features, depending on the lines.
You might want to contact Sandhill and ask that they mark the chicks in some way so you will be able to tell look-alike chicks apart. A swipe across the head with a green sharpie is how one hatchery marked some of my chicks. It worked quite well. Sandhill is just a family operation, and doesn't have a big customer service department like most hatcheries, so it can take a while to contact them this time of year. If you want this done and there's enough lead time, I would duplicate my efforts with e-mail, snail mail, and voicemail, and let them know that you are trying to reach them via duplicate methods. For SH, snail mail may be the most effective, so don't ignore that option.