Best Hatchery to order baby chicks from

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by moniquem, Jan 1, 2018.

  1. moniquem

    moniquem Crowing

    Feb 3, 2013
    Good Evening All,

    I will be ordering my baby chicks from a hatchery. This will be my first foray into the chicken world. Here are the ones I have heard about:

    Meyer Hatchery
    Murray McMurray

    I have heard that when you order a specific breed/sex hatcheries are mostly correct
    I have also heard that I should get my chicks vaccinated

    Any feed back from more experienced folks out there??
    Orpingtons43 likes this.
  2. sylviethecochin

    sylviethecochin Free Ranging

    Jun 14, 2017
    Central PA
    Ideal Poultry is cheap and gives good egg layers, but they're not at all true to breed standard, and their temperaments can be weird. The drakes we ordered from there both turned out to be ducks. The real positive is that the minimum is not 10 or 15 birds, but $25 worth of stock. I warn that, because of this, Ideal will often send roosters with the smaller orders as warmers or "packing peanuts." You will then have to get rid of the roosters.

    Cackle hatchery is more expensive and has a reputation for breeding very true to type.
    MyPetChicken is one of the most expensive sellers.

    TSC lets you order chicks in packs of ten, but only of a single breed. (10 leghorns, 10 australorps, etc.) They're pretty cheap, but I think most of their stock is from Ideal.
    Birdinhand and AlleysChicks like this.
  3. Orpingtons43

    Orpingtons43 Songster

    Dec 27, 2017
    I got my first set of chicks from Meyer Hatchery shipping is a little pricey but great quality birds I got 45 straight run (unsexed) chicks and got 38 hens out of them.:)
  4. chickencheeper

    chickencheeper Crowing

    Jun 4, 2017
    My Coop
    Purely poultry is good also- tons of breeds- and when I say tons I mean TONS!
  5. junebuggena

    junebuggena Crowing

    Apr 17, 2015
    Long Beach, WA
    Just one thing to think about before you get vaccinated chicks. Poultry vaccines do not work the same way that vaccines do in mammals. Vaccinated birds can still contract the virus, they just won't get sick and dye. But this also means that they can then be carriers of that virus, and you may end up spreading it unknowingly.
    Vaccination is not really needed for most backyard flocks.
    Orpingtons43 and SueT like this.
  6. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Crowing

    Apr 12, 2013
    Boulder, Colorado
    There are literally 100s of hatcheries to buy from. The biggest problem with buying directly from the hatcheries is you have minimums and those can be as high as 25 chicks. You can have very high shipping charges or get shipped extra birds (males) with small lots. Is proximity important? Chicks will often show up in a day if you can order from a neighboring state instead of 2-3 days from the heartland.
    How many chicks do you want? What must have breeds are on your list? Start there and weed out the hatcheries.
    Your local farm store orders chicks from these same hatcheries. It's often safer to buy from them. If any shipping fatalities occur, it's usually in the first 48 hours after they arrive. Most of those deaths will occur on their watch. Most feed stores will only stock the 10 most common and popular breeds but find out who they buy from and special order in what you want.
    Most chicks are not vaccinated.
    Leigti likes this.
  7. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

    Nov 7, 2012
    I've used Murray McMurray and Cackle. Do your homework. Find out what days they ship, and find out when you should expect your chicks to arrive. See if they include gro gel as part of the order, or if they include warmers if temperature at shipment time indicates a need for them. After you make your decision, I recommend placing your order right away, but locking in your ship date for WHEN YOU WANT YOUR CHICKS TO ARRIVE. That way, you are not likely to find the breeds you want to be "out of stock". Avoid having a shipment go out during the week of a holiday. I recommend delaying your shipment until the weather settles in April. Then, be in contact with your post office. I like to visit the post office, so they know my face, and leave a post card with pertinent shipping and contact information. Then, call ahead the day before shipment is due in, to remind them to call you immediately so you can pick up your chicks right away when they arrive at the post office. Even with all of these measures in place, you may have issues: My shipment missed every single connecting flight this spring, and spent 12 - 24 hours sitting at every loading dock. I had to be proactive and track my chicks down at the sorting facility. I drove to the facility, and was blessed to find an employee in the parking lot. This is a locked facility, and there was no way I would have even been able to get near a door, or get anyone's attention without her help. And, to make matters even more complicated, the guy at the dock where the chicks was was stone deaf!!! He only spoke in sign language! So, he'd not have heard me no matter how hard I pounded on the door!!! Without being politely persistent, I'd have picked up a box of dead chicks the next day.

    As for vaccination, I would not ever choose to have my chicks vaccinated. And if I was offered chicks that had been vaccinated for Marek's disease, I'd refuse to accept them. As for the coccidiosis vaccine, IMO it's a waste of money. I don't even use medicated feed, and have never had issues with coccidiosis. There are natural ways to build chick immunity to both diseases.
    SueT likes this.
  8. SueT

    SueT Free Ranging

    May 27, 2015
    SW MO
    You might want to research hatcheries closest to you......we chose one we can drive to, thus sparing the chicks the trauma of being shipped thru the mail. We got them hours old into their brooder.....
    lazy gardener and CapricornFarm like this.
  9. Percheron chick

    Percheron chick Crowing

    Apr 12, 2013
    Boulder, Colorado
    The quality of the birds doesn't vary greatly from one hatchery to the next. They don't cull aggressively to meet breed standards. It's all about numbers. What ultimately separates them is health (vigor) and customer service.
  10. Folly's place

    Folly's place Free Ranging

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    I've ordered chicks from MMcM, Cackle, and once from Meyers. This spring a friend and I are getting more chicks from Cackle (in April, already ordered). I liked MMcM and Cackle the best, with multiple orders over the years. It's easy for me to get 25 or more chicks at once, especially when I combine an order with local friends.
    I always order chicks vaccinated against Marek's disease! LG and I disagree on this point. I'm all for the vaccine, realizing that it's far from perfect. When something better comes along, I'll be for it.
    It's not reasonable to expect show winning birds from a hatchery, but the hens may be better layers then some SQ breeder's birds. I will never show my chickens, so I don't care! Healthy chicks that greatly resemble their breed are good enough for me.
    Have fun picking breeds!
    CapricornFarm likes this.

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