Shipton's Big R Chicks, Billings

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Blooie, Mar 2, 2015.

  1. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    I'm not big on plugs for individual stores but I had to share this. I knew that the Shipton's Big R store in Billings, Mt. was getting in their chicks on March 1. We got there about 9 in the morning but they weren't in yet. So we wandered around town, checking back from time to time - Ken and I and dozens of other people. Other feed stores were getting their chicks too....why not just get some there? Because nobody does it like Big R, that I've ever seen. The area for the chicks was prepared the day before - lamps on, clean litter, food and water waiting. i know because Ken and I were spending the weekend in Billings for our anniversary and we'd been there the day before the chicks were due to come in.

    This is the set up they have for their chicks. Bear in mind that this picture was taken as the bins were being filled with chicks so not all of the bins have signs yet.

    [​IMG]

    When the chicks finally arrived it was like watching a well oiled machine at work. One man was on a ladder and he was in charge of getting the babies into their correct bins. The floor staff opened each box. The boxes were big and had 4 compartments each. Each compartment was labled with the kind of chicks and whether they were straight run or all pullets. As each compartment was opened, the chicks were taken out and looked over. If those chicks were to go into the upper row, the young man on the ladder took each one and put it - not plopped it - into the brooder. Chicks for the center and bottom rows were handled just as carefully by the folks on the floor. As soon as a compartment was emptied, the identification sticker from that compartment was placed on top of the waterer.

    We aren't talking a few dozen chicks here. There were 100 Barred Rocks, and 100 Easter Egger pullets, for example. When the last box was emptied, then the signage began. Staff had signs for the outside of each bin with information on that breed, and they matched the signs to the stickers that had been temporarily placed on top of the each waterer. The identification of those chicks is as positive as the labeling done by the hatchery that sent them, because there can be no mix-up at the store. The chicks can't get into each other's bins and customers can't pick one up and put it back in the wrong place.

    This was the first time I've looked at chicks and been sure of what I was choosing. They had people form a line - and the little boxes were prepared and waiting for the customers' choices to be put in them, heading for their new homes. This is the first time I've bought chicks from Shipton's and it won't be the last. By the looks of the line of people like us, we aren't the only one who felt that way.

    So hats off to this store in Billings! This is how it can be done, rather than stuffing chicks that the store personel can't identtify into metal or cardboard tubs, with hands reaching in from the top and not caring if they are supposed to handle the chicks or not, and not getting the right chick into the right place. No wonder so many people post pictures and say, "The kid at the feed store said this was a ________ pullet but it's the wrong color. What did I get?" And these chicks can see people - they aren't running frantically from the sudden appearance of overhead monsters. I was impressed. So often we hear about how wrong it goes - I felt that if a company is doing it right they deserve to get credit for that, too!
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2015
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  2. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    [​IMG]
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    I should have added this picture of that "well oiled machine at work" when I did my first post. This one shows the staff filling the bins. Also Shipton's carries these waterers. I'd never seen them before even though I use nipple waterers here, and I thought it was really great! I enjoyed myself thoroughly explaining to people how they work and what the benefits are as I see them.
     
  3. cicknmama

    cicknmama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree with you 100%. I had been waiting for weeks and took the hour drive from Hardin today to pick out my chicks. They do a great job at Shiptons. Lots of staff on hand and they all know their chickens. Great experience.
     
  4. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    They are wonderful there. We stumbled upon it accidentally - we were celebrating our anniversary by spending the weekend in Billings and went to Big R to pick up a couple of things we needed for the chicks we'd ordered from a hatchery. We weren't expecting to get chicks until the end of this month, but Big R had signs up that said they were getting chicks the next day. So after a lovely dinner and spending the night in a nice, fancy room, we went back first thing in the morning. And then we came back. And then we came back. And then we came back. Every time we went back we were told they were coming but hadn't arrived yet. Then finally they were there! I was thrilled because Ken had said if they weren't there this time we were heading for home and would come back in a week or so. We live almost 2 hours from Billings so we have to plan our trips accordingly. So far (we bought them on Sunday and it's now Wednesday morning) every chick is thriving! I'm very pleased. I'm so glad your experience mirrored mine!
     
  5. cicknmama

    cicknmama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Always get great customer service there. I picked up two Australorp pullets. One is very healthy and rambunctious. Keeping up with the EE. The other was very stressed. I stayed up with her last night because she was not eating or drinking. I wrapped her in a towel and layer her on my chest and slept in the recliner. Hand fed her water every couple hours. Afraid she wasn't going to make it but she did! She is eating well today, but still not drinking much. I have her separated from the rest of the flock so she doesn't have to fight for food. She seems to be alert. Will be keeping a close eye on her today. What breeds are you getting?
     
  6. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    I got Buff Brahmas, Light Brahmas, and Red Stars. Hope your little one pulls through!
     
  7. cicknmama

    cicknmama Chillin' With My Peeps

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    She did great today. Seems back to being a healthy chick. Thanks
     
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  8. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    Awesome! Glad to hear it1
     
  9. desertchicken92

    desertchicken92 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Our Big R in Redmond, Oregon is great. I was surprised on how knowledgeable the lady was on chicks. I got 3. Does anyone know which hatchery their chicks come from?
     
  10. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    You know, I should have thought to ask while we were watching them putting the chicks away! I was so enthralled I didn't notice anything about the cases they were in either, except to note the compartments and the identification labels! I'm heading back up to Billings next week, so unless somebody here beats me to it I'll try to get the information while I'm up there. Let's just hope all I come home with is information! [​IMG]
     
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