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. 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!