Feed store hunting for chicks, a good idea?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by bock, Sep 6, 2010.

  1. bock

    bock Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 10, 2008
    Northern CA
    This coming spring I am going to add about 12 more chickens to the flock. All of the hatcheries I have ever looked at had a minimum order of 25 chicks, so I think we are going to go feed store hunting. My plan is to call all of the feed stores in late March/early May, and figure out who has the breeds we want. Some of them have all the breeds mixed in one bin, so I am going to have to print of a picture of each breed as a chick, so I know I am getting the right breed. The only thing I am worried about is the age differences and spreading disease. Do you think this will be a problem, or not? The oldest ones might be as much as a week older than the younger ones. And is it even possible for such young birds to already have acquired an illness?

    I was also wondering if Purina chick starter was a good food (they will be a laying flock). I also wanted to know if I should give them medicated food or not. Thanks ahead of time! [​IMG]
  2. rhoda_bruce

    rhoda_bruce Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 19, 2009
    Cut Off, LA
    If I am understanding your concern about age correctly, I don't think you have anything to worry about. I really believe that when the feed store will get the chicks in, they will all come in one shipment. The only way I am wrong, is if they have left-overs and somehow chose to mix them up, which I wouldn't advise for safety reasons.....not disease. They all probably come from the same place anyway. In any event, if I were looking at chicks that seemed to be of different ages, I would choose the older ones, provided they looked healthy.
    I have to believe you, but I never personally witnessed a feed store mixing different breeds of chicks together in the same quarters. All our local stores, have the chicks separated and labelled. Why not mention this to them long before so they understand that you will be interested in certain breeds and not others. Maybe it never occured to them. Some chicks look very much like others, afterall. The only reason I can see to stop them from separating is if they don't have adequate brooder space.
  3. briteday

    briteday Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 16, 2008
    Northern NV
    I would start asking around at your feed stores now. You will find that each store might order chicks from a different hatchery. So there will be a different selection of chicks at each store. Depending on the breeds you want, that might dictate which feed store you end up buying from, or perhaps buying from more than one. I've also found that if the feed store knows you want a certain breed (and are willing to pre-pay for your chicks usually in Feb) they will order your specials along with their regular orders. Since most feed stores order large quantities of chicks you can often get your special breeds at a reasonable charge, even though you may only want 6. On the other hand, some of our feed stores only get in the same old breeds every year and do not want to be bothered by taking orders, placing special orders with the hatchery, and then calling customers when the special orders come in. So that's why I think it would be to your benefit to check around now...gives you more time to figure out what will work best for you.
  4. mama2many

    mama2many Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 20, 2010
    Check with mypetchicken.com I have used them in the past and they have low minimums. Good luck.
  5. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    You can order small orders and small quantities of each breed (like one, if you order a few different breeds) from mypetchicken.com and a couple other online hatcheries have small order quantities.

    With that said, almost all of the chickens in my 20+ flock came from two different feed stores, with the largest majority of them from ONE of those stores. But I bought some in Oct 2009, some in Feb 2010, some in March 2010, some in April 2010, some in May 2010, some in June 2010, and the last couple this past August. I've started incubating and hatching eggs I've bought on BYC, as well.

    I have mixed together chicks in the brooder with as much as 3 weeks' difference in ages.

    Everybody gets medicated chick starter feed until they are 8 weeks old.
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    I don't know about stores like TSC, but our Grange happily takes your special order and calls you when they come in. It might be more difficult if you want one or two each of several different breeds, but if you just want a half dozen or a dozen of a commen laying breed, shouldn't be a problem to pre-order them.
  7. bock

    bock Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 10, 2008
    Northern CA
    Thank you for all of the replies. I am glad that age and disease do not appear to be a problem. [​IMG] Briteday, the feed store I got 6 of my chickens from is privately owned, and has all different breeds of chickens, ducks, and turkeys all mixed in one bin. I will call a few different feed stores and see if they will special order some chicks for me, that sounds like a good idea. [​IMG] If for some reason nobody will order them for me, I might look into mypetchicken. Has any one ever had any good or bad experience with that particular hatchery? Thanks everyone! [​IMG]
  8. Siler

    Siler Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 25, 2010
    Central Indiana
    Keep checking around for small feed stores you may not know about. We just so happen to have a very small feed store nearby that sells chicks every spring. They have excellent stock. They do mix some of the chicks, but they know what is what. The first time I got chicks I was with my niece and she insisted one one particular chick that was bigger than the rest. It was all alone so she insisted we get it and so we did. We never had any problems with her since we got her at the same time.

    I too will be buying 12 more chicks in the spring. I haven't decided what I want yet so we'll just see what's available then and pick out a mix. I know that because mine are vaccinated for Marek's that I will be getting more vaccinated chicks.
  9. eggseroneous

    eggseroneous Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 1, 2010
    South-Western PA
    You could order the 25 from a hatchery and sell the rest in Craigslist--or go in half with someone. Also, in "chicken math" there is no difference between 12 and 25--it's all the same! I started out wanting 8. Now I have 30 chickens and 50 eggs in the incubator!
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2010
  10. werecatrising

    werecatrising Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 4, 2009
    Ask around right before chick season starts. The stores around here will gladly order if you want something specific. Their first few shipments are usually reserved by the time they arrive. They do mix the chicks, but know what is what and will help the customer pick.

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