Hatchery sending extras?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Merrymouse, Jan 10, 2017.

  1. Merrymouse

    Merrymouse Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 8, 2017
    First time chicken keeper, (hopefully) this spring. Exploring ways to get my chickens. Im going to try to buy locally first. Im going to a poultry show this weekend hoping to learn more. But if I end up buying from a hatchery, Ive noticed they sometimes put extra
    chickens in your order which you all seem to refer to as "packing peanuts" (so funny) Anyway, since Im a first timer and this is a hobby type situation I was only thinking 6 to 8 chickens. So if they send say 15 or more to keep the chicks warm what the heck do I do with all those chicks? Im not adverse to having more but Im building a coop that can hold up to 15. Maybe Im over thinking this and I should just go for it but unfortunately that is not in my nature to not over analyze :) Plus its just fun and exciting to be talking about chickens. The planning has been fun so far. Thanks Oh and also, I cannot keep roosters so what do I do with those?
  2. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Chicken Obsessed

    Hi, welcome to BYC! [​IMG]

    Chances are all the packing peanuts will be boys.

    I am one of the biggest over thinkers... it never ends and I think about every single possibility... my mind spins... and there is still only one outcome. [​IMG]

    Either make plans for the boys to be butchered or focus on getting local. I recommend local because shipped chicks often have much loss. Though some don't. Last year USPS messed my shipment 3 times and I ended up loosing 30 chicks total. At the feed store, they absorb that already so you don't have to deal with any dead or dying chicks. If you do get shipped, get some pointers to help them, I have many tips.

    It's great to plan your coop bigger than you need because chicken math is dangerous! [​IMG]

    Have breeds you are already thinking about?
  3. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

    Nov 7, 2012
    What ever you do, get all from the same place at the same time. I strongly advise against buying them from a poultry show. chance of introducing disease is great. You might want to look at brooding in your coop, using heating pad brooder. Give them lots of room, minimum of 4 s.f. per bird in the coop. Give them minimum of 12" per bird on the perch, have perch above nest box, minimum of 18" above perch, and perch at least 12" away from back wall. 10 s.f. per bird in run. All openings in coop need to be covered with 1/2" hardware cloth to make it predator proof. Lots of ventilation in coop is necessary to prevent frost bite issues and to prevent ammonia build up in the coop. 10 s.f. in the run per bird. Wishing you the best with your flock. Check out Henderson's chicken breeds chart.
  4. Merrymouse

    Merrymouse Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 8, 2017
    Lol! "still only one outcome" so true!
    If I could find all of these from one source that would be perfect but Ill take what I get and not get upset :0
    So my wish list so far is
    Buff Orpington
    Plymouth Barred Rock
    Black Australorp
    Columbian Wyandotte
    Easter Egger
    Speckled Sussex

    Im going for docile, egg production, and a multi colored flock.

    Thanks for the welcome :_)
  5. Merrymouse

    Merrymouse Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 8, 2017
    Thanks for the help. Yes, I dont plan on getting my chicks from the poultry show, not even close to being ready yet. I just thought I could go talk to people, learn about different breeds, set ups, feed, coops etc, etc. Ive been a researching fool, looking at all the coop design on here and other places. What is Henderson's breed chart and where do I find it? on here somewhere? Ill try a search.
  6. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Chicken Obsessed

    Got the breed chart in my bookmarks... It isn't complete, but it's pretty good. Those are good breeds. A lot of them will be available at the LFS. I have 2 LFS and they get different breeds from each other, though the recommendation to get from one source is good. I see Wyandottes, but they are usually gold or silver laced. They get shipments every two weeks. If you talk to them ahead of time you may be able to find out what breeds they have planned for delivery on what dates and plan accordingly.

  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    A lot of hatcheries have minimum orders, though some use other means. Some hatcheries vary that minimum order by the calendar. The idea is that they want enough chicks in the box to keep each other warm during shipping.

    Hatcheries hatch a lot more boys than they need, that’s because they can’t control sex and most people want pullets. Often, especially if the weather forecast calls for cold weather, they give you for free some of those extra boys to help keep the others warm. Each hatchery is different but a lot of them might do this, usually with no advanced warning. I suggest you call the hatchery and discuss this. Some will not send packing peanuts if you ask them not to. Or if they do send them, if you ask them to they will usually mark them, usually with a drop of food coloring.

    So what can you do if you get some? Advertise them for free on Craigslist. They didn’t cost you anything so get someone to take them off your hands.

    Before you order, find someone to split the order with you. If you order enough together you may not get any. Or maybe your partner will take them off your hands. Just discuss it ahead of time.

    If it were me I’d be happy to get them. I raise mine mostly for meat anyway and that’s a bunch of cockerels that will make a good meal. But you may not want to go that route.
  8. song of joy

    song of joy Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 22, 2012
    Central Pennsylvania
    Yes, the planning is lots of fun. The possibilities seem endless as chicken math creeps in, but space is ultimately the limiting factor. (Chicken math: a highly contagious virus affecting chicken-keepers and prospective chicken-keepers. The virus is characterized by euphoric emotional states, especially when the following stimuli are present: poultry catalogs, chick-days at the feed store, pictures of baby chicks, and contact with BYC posters. There is currently no known cure. Temporary symptom relief is obtained via the procurement of chickens, especially baby chicks.)

    For starting out, you're wise to begin with a small number of female chicks (pullets). I've had very good luck with Meyer Hatchery (Ohio). Their minimum order is 3 chicks, beginning in April, and you would be wise to order now for spring delivery when it's safer to ship. Alternatively, sometimes a feed store will have a batch of all pullets, but you probably won't get the nice variety you're looking for. Your breed list is very nice. I've had most of these breeds, but can tell you that hatchery-stock barred rocks have been a mixed bag. About half have been great members of the flock, while the other half did not play nice with others. Dominiques are similar in color to barred rocks, but a bit smaller, and they tend to be very friendly.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2017
  9. dekel18042

    dekel18042 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 18, 2013
    If you want "packing peanuts" fine. They're boys but some really neat breeds have been sent as packing peanuts, but if you don't want any My Pet Chicken doesn't send any (Wish they would have the last time.) or I suspect you may request they send none as long as you meet their minimum order.
  10. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    If you only want that small of a number, I'd say go through a feed store. You'll probably do better.

    But, if you wind up ordering from a hatchery, call and speak to customer service. Some send packing peanuts, some do not. Read their ordering information. They'll never surprise you with a dozen packers, it will have been right there in the FAQs that no one ever bothers to read.

    If you can't keep roosters, don't let them send you packing peanuts. They'll be males and a headache for you to deal with.

    If you can't make the hatchery's minimum, consider splitting an order with someone locally. I see ads on my CL offering to do this, and I've done it myself. Not a bad way to meet fellow local chicken keepers [​IMG]. Or, if it's not too many more than you want, just order a few more. If you lose some, or get an Oops rooster, you'll wind up with the correct number of birds. If everyone lives and is female, you can sell some off around 6-8 weeks and recoup some costs.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2017

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