Feed store chicks vs. hatchery chicks

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by EggcitedChick, Jan 27, 2015.

  1. EggcitedChick

    EggcitedChick Hatching

    Jan 26, 2015
    Hey guys! I'm a newbie to chickens and I have a few questions about where to buy chicks. I've done some research online about breeds that would fit well with our family and I really have my heart set on Buff Orpingtons. That being said, I'm really worried about --
    1) ordering them and having them shipped
    2) getting chickens I really like, becoming attached and having to eat them in 4 years. ( Probably sounds silly lol)

    So, would it be better to get feed store chicks our first time around that won't have to be shipped and may not be exactly what I want ie: maybe I won't get as attached? Or go ahead and get what I think I really want?

    Also, I'd like to end up with 3-4 chickens. How many chicks would y'all recommend buying?

  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    [​IMG] Go to the 'Social' forum and click on "Where am I? Where are you!" - locate your state thread and perhaps someone there can help you locate some Buff Orpingtons.
  3. EggcitedChick

    EggcitedChick Hatching

    Jan 26, 2015
    Thank you!!
  4. azygous

    azygous Free Ranging

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Don't rule out talking to your feed store manager about special ordering you some Buffs. If it's not one of those big chain outfits with corporate dictated ordering policies, many smaller independent feed stores are more than happy to tack your order of just a few chicks onto their Easter order. But Buff Orpingtons are a popular breed and are usually included in the big Easter chick sales.

    You have nothing to lose by asking.

  5. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

    Nov 7, 2012
    No matter what breed you end up with in your brooder, you're going to be attached to them. Can't not do it!
  6. EggcitedChick

    EggcitedChick Hatching

    Jan 26, 2015
    That's something I'm really worried about! I showed steers in high school and it was always so hard to sell them.

    I definitely think I'll give the local feed store a call and see if I can request some buffs for this spring. Thanks guys!
  7. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Crowing

    Apr 11, 2011
    Whether you pick them up at the feed store or order them from a hatchery, they're going to be shipped.
    The up side of getting them at the feed store is they're the ones that have to deal with chicks that succumb to shipping stress and you don't have to order a bunch of chicks to meet the hatcheries minimum number. You can also see the fluffies before you bring them home.
    Buff Orpingtons are a very popular breed, my feed store always has them. However, they've also been happy to add a few chicks to their order to accommodate me (though figuring out which chicks were mine was a chore, so you might see if they can request that the hatchery mark yours with a bit of dye to make identifying them easier).

    Good luck!

  8. Spangled

    Spangled Songster

    Jan 12, 2012
    Serenity Valley
    Well ... I like getting chicks from the local feed store and also ordering them from a hatchery. Our local feed store runs out of chicks so quickly, especially the Buff Orpingtons, leaving Naked Necks and White Plymouth Rocks and White Orpingtons available. And they don't get Buff Orpingtons each week, so it's difficult to get what I want when I want it.

    With ordering from a hatchery, it's easier to get what I want when I want it. Plus, lots of folks love Buff Orpingtons, but I also like getting something really different once in a while, like a Minorca or a Cream Legbar just to spice things up. I've never seen a feed store offer anything like Cream Legbars, Minorcas, Hamburgs, Marans, etc., just the standard layers like Orps, Rocks, Wyandottes, Sexlinks, Sussex, RIRs, New Hampshires, Leghorns. Those are all fine birds, but it's fun to try something new, too. So ordering from a hatchery myself makes sense.

    Always, always, always go ahead and get what you think you really want! If you want Buff Orpingtons, get them. If you're anything like me, if you don't get what you want this year, you will just want some next year or the year after anyway. Get what you want now (if you can) and be truly satisfied. [​IMG] You'll be happier.

    To end up with 3-4 chickens, you could just buy 4 chickens. There is a really good chance all of them will live. If I was going to play it safe, I would order or buy 6. Then in the late August, I'd get on Craig's List and offer two hens as "Point of Lay" pullets to the people who have had neighbors' dogs issues or just had a busy spring and couldn't get any chicks of their own.

    But hurry because some hatcheries are already waitlisting quite a few breeds. The old timers seem to say that a March chick is best if you want them to lay well through the winter. A June chick often won't begin laying until after the solstice at the end of December or maybe not even until February because she is growing up with the days getting shorter. A March chick has all of April and May and most of June with days getting longer while she grows up.

    And [​IMG]. Chickens are really a lot of fun, especially the picking out of new breeds to try out.
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2015
  9. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    If your local feed store is going to have the breed you want, I say go with them. They're still shipped, but the feed store absorbs the loss on any chicks lost to shipping stress. Plan to get your chicks a few days after they arrive at the store, this allows time for any weak or stressed birds to die off before you buy them. Not saying you won't lose any chicks, but it increases your odds if they're closer to a week old when you get them. Make friends with your local feed store. Mine will happily reserve chicks for me for up to a week after they arrive from the hatchery.

    As far as eating them in 4 years, that's a management decision you're going to have to work out for yourself.

  10. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

    Nov 7, 2012
    I want to speak to the other side of the coin regarding above advice: At least in my area, when chicks arrive on a Monday morning, they're often totally and completely gone by Monday afternoon. Also, even if you have chicks "spoken for" and intend to pick them up later in the week, you'll end up with the ones which were not chosen by previous customers. The cynic in me is of the opinion that these chicks may be the runts of that particular shipment. Also, I've had both good and bad experience with feed store chicks. A local hardware store did a special order for me in 2013. Excellent care provided for the chicks. I had no problem with these chicks other than the fact that the hatchery sent all males of one specific breed. In 2014, I special ordered from the same place... different manager. These chicks were in sad shape with some of them being half comatose when I arrived to pick them up withing 2 hours after they arrived. They had them in the same set up, but with only 2 lamps to cover 4 bins of chicks. Those lamps were hanging 3' above the bins, and the chicks were pig piling under the lamps, standing on their tip toes, (you could hear their screams of stress the minute you walked into the store) trying to reach the inadequate heat. So, I politely had it out with the manager, brought home my chicks, one of which was still comatose, and rode tucked inside my shirt pocket for extra warmth. So, my point is: your mileage may vary regarding waiting to pick up chicks from a feed store. After the last experience, I vowed that I would never do a feed store order again. An other issue: When 2 of those chicks died, I was told that there was no policy in place for replacement... dead chick = customer's loss. Again a policy change from previous management. If you order direct from the hatchery, YOU are in control of the chick's care from the moment they arrive, and the hatchery usually has a 48 hour credit policy. Do your homework regarding any of these issues.
    1 person likes this.

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