Craig's List Versus Hatchery

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by DigitalEd, Oct 11, 2012.

  1. DigitalEd

    DigitalEd In the Brooder

    Jun 8, 2010
    Upstate SC
    Hey all,
    I'm looking to "refresh" my small flock. I have 7 two and half year old EE Hens, 2 BR 3 month old birds we hatched ourselves (looks like future hen and roo). I also have 3 BR roos (two were given to us by someone who thought they were Hens - they are ~30 weeks old).

    Our original maintenance plan went bust with the 2 BRs being Roos and only 2 (of 5) eggs our broody hen hatched turned out to be fertilized.

    As a result, we are feeding a lot of birds and getting very few eggs. I really don't have to have to wait until the spring when all the local farm supply shops have chicks.

    The debate we are having is getting some pullets from Craig's list or other source versus just getting chicks from a hatchery.

    Pullets seems to be selling at $10-15 a piece. Chicks are cheap but shipping hurts (e.g. $20 for 15, $38 for <15

    Ideally, I'd like 8 or so good layers (Golden Buff, RIR, BR). We'd be overwhelmed with eggs if we got 15.

    With a hatchery you pretty much get what you want. With Craig's list, the selection is less (in the upstate of SC anyways) and I'm not experienced or confident enough to know I'm making a good buy.

    If I had a broody hen or incubator, I might just get a couple of pullets and hatch the future flock.


    ----- Ed

  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Crowing Premium Member

    Don't know if this will help you in your decision, but a point of lay pullet, in most sturdy breeds, costs $14-$16 to raise to that point. If one honestly adds up the cost of the chick, electricity for brooding, bedding, and feed, feed and feed, one easily has that much in their pullet. So, if you want more instant gratification, buying point of lay pullets and/or a 20 week old cockerel doesn't cost more, really. Not at all.

    I'd recommend you keep your new birds isolated for 3 weeks, keeping a close watch for eternal parasites, mites, lice, etc, and observe them for any respiratory issues too.

    POL pullets are available as folks who hatched out too many birds back in May and June are looking to downsize for winter. It is an excellent time to buy. Hate to say it, but be cautious. There are those bad sellers out there who pawn off older birds, sick birds, etc. Best wishes in your decision.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2012
  3. dracoe19

    dracoe19 Songster

    May 31, 2011
    Warrenton, Virgina
    I would probably do Craigslist because you can get grown pullets/ hens but as you were saying the hatchery you get to pick and know what you have and such. I prefer Craigslist because sometime you can find some very nice birds from breeders who know what they are doing. The main thing to watch on Craigslist is how the person treats their birds. Sadly you really can't trust everyone to give you a healthy bird (I learned this the hard way). I prefer Craigslist but you need to know what to look for in a bird. Make sure they are bright and alert, no runny poop on their feathers, and look for lice/ parasites (#1 thing I hate!). Even if the bird looks great quarantine them for at least a week to be 100% sure. I do a lot of business through Craigslist and I always welcome people to come look at my birds and facilities they live in. I have nothing to hide from a customer and you should watch if you meet someone who does have something to hide. Though people who have NPIP certificate prefer you do not go into their facilities for fear of bringing something in to their birds. Good luck!

    Pros of hatchery - guaranteed health, lots of breeds to choose from, able to choose pullets, ability to get a refund

    Cons of Hatchery - you have to raise chicks to adults, quality of bird will be low, have to buy a set amount, shipping cost

    Pros of Craigslist - able to buy adult birds, ability to adjust price, can buy as many or as few as you want, can purchase from breeders

    Cons of Craigslist - possibly sold a sick bird, limited selection, potential to bring sickness into your existing flock if precautions are not taken, have to drive
  4. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Crowing

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2012
  5. sunnyvera

    sunnyvera Songster

    Sep 4, 2010
    NE Ohio
    I like Craig's List, but you do have to be cautious. I did discover a breeder close by who goes on CL from time to time to sell extra birds, chicks & eggs. When I need older birds, I give him a call to see what he has in the 17-week old, or so, category. I totally trust him, after visiting his operation. Super clean and neat. He has very rare breeds also. I usually pay $15-20 for a pullet, but like a prevous poster said, you don't have the hassle of the chicks, expense, keeping them warm, etc. Just a few weeks ago, I gave him a call and came home with a 1 Welsummer, 2 Lavender Orpingtons, 1 Dark Brahma, 1 Light Sussex. Since I enjoy a varied backyard flock, it was perfect for me. They are gorgeious. Also, on a side note, the dark brahma is the friendliest bird I have ever had. He must raise them to be people-friendly, because from the first day, she comes to greet me when I go to the pen. We named her Miss Priss because she seems so refined.

  6. TXchickmum

    TXchickmum Songster

    Apr 21, 2012
    North Texas
    Definitely be cautious about picking up older birds from Craigslist when it comes to healh concerns. -may be some great birds that need to be re-homed for a number of reasons. Do keep them separated for a few weeks, if this is the route you choose, in order to protect your flock from any potential illnesses from the new birds. (I was searching for a specific breed of chicken the other day - hoping to find a breeder in decently close proximity - and accidentally stumbled onto a Craigslist add. -VERY suspicious given the asking price for these birds in lieu of what I've seen from breeders. Something just isn't right, here....)
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2012
  7. dracoe19

    dracoe19 Songster

    May 31, 2011
    Warrenton, Virgina
    For the Craigist post it seems they know what they are talking about but that doesn't mean they really know. I am a little suspicious of the price as well. I have only seen these as cheap as $30 each. The person may have bought them from a breeder and didn't know how much to sell them for or are just trying to sell them. I had a pair of top quality blue Millie flures and NO ONE wanted them... I had to sell them for $35 for the pair when they were worth so much more. Maybe the same thing for them. I have had a similar thing with chicks to when I sell them for dirt cheap because I don't have room. If they refused to show the parents or give more information I would be suspicious but I think it seems pretty ligitamate compared to some I have seen. I had an insident with someone selling silver laced Wyandotte chicks for $10( I sell my top quality for $8). I sent them an email asking some questions they answered then I got really spesific with the breed and never emailed me back and ignored me. They also stole photos from a top UK breeder. What scammers!
  8. ChickensRDinos

    ChickensRDinos Songster

    Aug 19, 2012
    Los Angeles
    I have bought a few POL pullets off of craigslist and been quite happy for the most part. I think you need to be careful. Don't buy a bird from someone who won't let you see the living conditions (same with buying any dog or pet really). Take a glance around at the general health of the birds in the coop, the cleanliness, and what the birds have to eat. Take a good look at the birds you buying. Pick them up. Touch them and feel their crops, combs, feathers, bodies. Take your time and ask questions even if you know the answers to to get the vibe. I have found great people and not so great people - if they are rushing you be cautious.

    In general I think I would pick craigslist over a hatchery unless I really wanted a lot of chicks very quickly. I like getting to see exactly where they came from.

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