Help! In California and afraid to order from hatcheries 1400 miles away.

CoconutCoffee

Songster
Oct 27, 2021
243
427
111
Eastern NC
A lot of new to chicken people have no clue about chicken diseases... Nor do they understand how crappy people are when it comes to selling chicks to people who aren't in the know.
True, but the future owner is already on BYC well before they plan to get the chicks. There's at least some planning involved. They can easily be educated on what to look for in a breeder etc if they don't want to risk the USPS handling it. I personally am too frightened to have chicks shipped so I drove about 3 hours to pick up my latest additions. Ultimately its up to the individual.
 

Aunt Angus

Crossing the Road
Jul 16, 2018
6,580
16,902
832
Nevada County, CA
Well, I've not had any issue with my local feed store as they order pullets from Hoovers. They get the breeds all mixed up and mislabeled, but I've never gotten anything but pullets. You can always read reviews of breeders and visit farms. But, yes, there are often bad breeders out there. This site is full of horror stories about them.
 

Poshlissa

Chirping
Oct 18, 2021
24
113
66
High Desert, California
As long as the hatchery is in the USA, it probably doesn't make much difference.

The chicks usually travel by airplane, so even all the way across the country is just a few hours.

The chicks usually spend about 2 days being shipped, but most of that is because of the time it takes to sort mail, put it on and off of planes and trucks, and drive them the last bit of distance to your local Post Office.

So living close to a major airport makes a big difference, but living close to the hatchery does not make much difference, unless you live close enough to drive there and pick up your chicks in person.


Look at the prices for the chicks you want, before you worry too much about that. Sexed pullets (female chicks) cost more than males or unsexed ones, and some breeds cost a lot more than others.

You might also be able to split an order with someone, or get a few meat birds to raise with your females but butcher the meaties at 2 months old. Or get twice as many pullets, but butcher the less-favorite half when they are a few months old, but that tends to be emotionally more difficult because they might all be favorites ;)



I would expect all of those to be fine.

Some people have had trouble with chicks arriving late in bad shape, but most chicks have still been arriving within a safe length of time.

If you order, do not panic when the "arrival date" is 5 or more days after shipping date. The Post Office computer system has been estimating longer shipment times, even though the actual chicks are mostly arriving within the usual 3 days.



I strongly recommend building your coop before placing the chick order, so you can brood the chicks right in the coop.

Other than that, for McMurray or Cackle or Meyer, I would go with the earliest date they will ship the small-order size you want. For Ideal, almost any time, but winter/spring are probably better than the middle of summer. February or March might be good, because the people in cold areas of the country do not want chicks that early, so availability is better.



:lau OK, I will help you: order from McMurray, either the week of April 4th or the week of April 18th. Flip a coin to decide which date.

Reasons:
April 4th is the first week they will ship an order of 6 chicks. April 18th is after Easter (and chicks sell out really fast around Easter time).

Personally, I like Ideal, but I think you will be happier with one of the other hatcheries you named. Ideal tends to put extra chicks in the package (male chicks are cheaper than heat packs, and work better too.) I don't mind the extra males because I like to eat them, but I'm guessing you don't want them.

For choosing among McMurray, Cackle, and Meyer: I simply have a bit more experience with McMurray, so if you need to be told which hatchery, that's the one I'm telling you to use.

(Seriously, any of the hatcheries you named should be fine, and many other dates will also be fine.)
Hahahaha!! Thank you!! This is perfection! McMurry it is! 😂

I was looking at Cackle (I believe) and seeing everyone commenting on how they sent them extra chicks and how awesome that is. Well it’s awesome if you have the space for those chicks!!! I understand why they do it and it’s great if you lose one or two in transit, but if they all live and your coop is now over crowded…that’s not so great. I know exactly how many I can have via the 4sq ft and 10sq ft recommendations. Plus as a first time chicken mama I really don’t want to be overwhelmed…which is why I’m thinking 4-5 chicks even tho I’ll have room for 7 max.
 

Poshlissa

Chirping
Oct 18, 2021
24
113
66
High Desert, California
As long as the hatchery is in the USA, it probably doesn't make much difference.

The chicks usually travel by airplane, so even all the way across the country is just a few hours.

The chicks usually spend about 2 days being shipped, but most of that is because of the time it takes to sort mail, put it on and off of planes and trucks, and drive them the last bit of distance to your local Post Office.

So living close to a major airport makes a big difference, but living close to the hatchery does not make much difference, unless you live close enough to drive there and pick up your chicks in person.


Look at the prices for the chicks you want, before you worry too much about that. Sexed pullets (female chicks) cost more than males or unsexed ones, and some breeds cost a lot more than others.

You might also be able to split an order with someone, or get a few meat birds to raise with your females but butcher the meaties at 2 months old. Or get twice as many pullets, but butcher the less-favorite half when they are a few months old, but that tends to be emotionally more difficult because they might all be favorites ;)



I would expect all of those to be fine.

Some people have had trouble with chicks arriving late in bad shape, but most chicks have still been arriving within a safe length of time.

If you order, do not panic when the "arrival date" is 5 or more days after shipping date. The Post Office computer system has been estimating longer shipment times, even though the actual chicks are mostly arriving within the usual 3 days.



I strongly recommend building your coop before placing the chick order, so you can brood the chicks right in the coop.

Other than that, for McMurray or Cackle or Meyer, I would go with the earliest date they will ship the small-order size you want. For Ideal, almost any time, but winter/spring are probably better than the middle of summer. February or March might be good, because the people in cold areas of the country do not want chicks that early, so availability is better.



:lau OK, I will help you: order from McMurray, either the week of April 4th or the week of April 18th. Flip a coin to decide which date.

Reasons:
April 4th is the first week they will ship an order of 6 chicks. April 18th is after Easter (and chicks sell out really fast around Easter time).

Personally, I like Ideal, but I think you will be happier with one of the other hatcheries you named. Ideal tends to put extra chicks in the package (male chicks are cheaper than heat packs, and work better too.) I don't mind the extra males because I like to eat them, but I'm guessing you don't want them.

For choosing among McMurray, Cackle, and Meyer: I simply have a bit more experience with McMurray, so if you need to be told which hatchery, that's the one I'm telling you to use.

(Seriously, any of the hatcheries you named should be fine, and many other dates will also be fine.)
Coop is being built as we speak. Should be done well in advance. I like the idea of using it as the brooder!!!! I actually bought a brooder from MPC that I was going to use in the house but I think I’ll maybe do that the first week to make sure all is well, and then just move the whole brooder set up into the coop. Then as they get older I can open the brooder door and let them wander their future home.
 

Poshlissa

Chirping
Oct 18, 2021
24
113
66
High Desert, California
Well, I've not had any issue with my local feed store as they order pullets from Hoovers. They get the breeds all mixed up and mislabeled, but I've never gotten anything but pullets. You can always read reviews of breeders and visit farms. But, yes, there are often bad breeders out there. This site is full of horror stories about them.
Ugh. I’ve not seen any of the bad breeder threads yet. I really, really don’t want to get unhealthy birds. 🙈
 

Poshlissa

Chirping
Oct 18, 2021
24
113
66
High Desert, California
McMurray's small order minimum is 6.
That is more than the 4-5 you are thinking of, but still under your maximum of 7.
(Of course, if one or two die, you'll be down to 5 or 4.)
Yeah, most require a min of 6. That’s way more doable than a minimum of 25 that some require. 🙄 I have six breeds picked out so it’s doable if needs be. I currently just got hit with Covid tho so I suppose I shouldn’t make any chicken decisions until I live through that. 🤪
 

CoconutCoffee

Songster
Oct 27, 2021
243
427
111
Eastern NC
Hahahaha!! Thank you!! This is perfection! McMurry it is! 😂

I was looking at Cackle (I believe) and seeing everyone commenting on how they sent them extra chicks and how awesome that is. Well it’s awesome if you have the space for those chicks!!! I understand why they do it and it’s great if you lose one or two in transit, but if they all live and your coop is now over crowded…that’s not so great. I know exactly how many I can have via the 4sq ft and 10sq ft recommendations. Plus as a first time chicken mama I really don’t want to be overwhelmed…which is why I’m thinking 4-5 chicks even tho I’ll have room for 7 max.
When I was getting my first flock I avoided any that threw in extra chicks. Those are usually roosters.
 

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