Every Spring, the same thing. The vicious cycle of "Chick Season" begins. Feed Stores everywhere are stocking various breeds of young offspring with dirt cheap prices to help sell their higher value inventory and create a steady stream of new customers shopping within their proprietorship.
And every Spring, a steady flow of unhappy new chick owners pointing fingers on these proprietors because of miss labeled chicks etc. For every "One" positive comment, there are ten negative comments or statements mostly in the nature of conflict of a recently purchased desired breed they were not given.
Now if you were to order from a high dollar hatchery, you are at the mercy of their expertise and the only involvement you will have is placing the order for your desired breed & hope that they do the right thing. It is way easier to blame a hatchery when you have placed a specific order than a retail outlet because you are not there hand selecting your desired livestock.
When shopping at the big chains like TSC, Rural King or and mom & pop proprietors, you have to be educated prior to your purchase. To blindly trust management and or employees of your local businesses is a craps shoot. 2 months out of the year they purchase a bulk of chicken offspring. With that offspring, (again) it is mostly sold at cost or way below cost to push the rest of the inventory in their shops. Feeders/water can/lamps/wire/fencing- and returning over and over again for your future feed/products needs. Let's face it. If everybody didn't have chickens, would you be supporting your local feed store?
One example why you should educate yourself before purchase. Several times I have witnessed upon shopping at our local Rural King, despite signs displayed over every single tub stating- "Please do not handle the chicks, ask for assistance". Yet on numerous occasions I have witnessed children and adults picking them up, walking around with them and then placing them in the nearest bin when they were done with their prohibited petting zoo session. I have seen children place chicks in with the ducklings twice now.
Another example is Employees whom are not trained to handle and care for livestock have been known to mix them up unintentionally for the most part. I have been in RK recently inquiring about ducklings. The reply I received to my inquiry was "I'm just filling in for this area until she gets back from lunch break". That is not the way to educate yourself pre-purchase wise when you are desiring a specific breed.
Everybody has a smartphone it seems like. America can't live without them. Why not research the specific breed before you purchase your livestock.
Rural King has a poster chart at every location that I've visited in our area. Showing specific breeds-adults & offspring together. Such as a before and after example. If the said proprietor doesn't provide one, use a search engine and scroll thru the CHART PHOTOS and compare the examples shown.
There are tons of this charts available for your researching. This particular one I didn't even try hard to find. It popped right up first in line. It shows Chick coloring, adult coloring as well as egg colors as an added bonus.
Now as far as Straight Runs & Pullet bins are concerned, if it is not on a sign posted to provide the patrons that information, don't take the word of the store clerk. If it is not in writing, assume it is a straight run and expect to have an abundance of males. Hatchery's don't cull and throw away male chicks when they sex their offspring. They go into the straight run bins. Straight runs contain a heavy male ratio because of that fact. Even if you pay extra for chicks sexed as pullets, there is a margin of error. It is only in the 90ish% rate you will be receiving all females. No matter what bin you choose your chicks from, it is a calculated risk once purchased, sex wise. That is how buying chicks at such a young age works. We have had chickens for close to 2 decades now. There are zero guarantees you will receive 100% pullets.
But BREED wise is very much in your control. If you do your homework. Research well. You too can be a happy feed store chick customer if you educate yourself accordingly, prior to making that final decision to select a specific breed.
If breeds are not important to you, and you just want a fresh breakfast everyday? Then don't research.. just don't assume the signs are correct because of the perfect world we live in or led us to believe that.
An ounce of prevention, is worth a pound of cure.