Transporting just-hatched chicks?

Tessa's Mom

In the Brooder
May 21, 2017
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MI
I would like to pick up some chicks in-person this coming February (I'm a planner!), instead of having them mailed and having to wait until April. I will only be picking up 5 and the hatchery is about 3 and a half hours away. Will the chicks be okay in a box that long? Should I put them in the passenger seat with the seat warmer on? I just want to give them the best start possible and don't know if they need some sort of warming device or something. They would be hatched the same day I pick them up, if that helps. Thank you!
 

Poultrybreeder

Crowing
Apr 21, 2017
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It is probably a good idea to have the seat warmer on since their are only 5. As long as they are kept warm they should be fine, I had chicks shipped to me, and it took 2 days for them to get to me, all but one were alive, so for 3 1/2 hours should be just fine.
 

azygous

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Hah! If only all baby chicks could be shipped by car on a seat with a warmer! Most chicks are in fact shipped from hatcheries to feed stores, pet shops, and regular people.

They ship them all year round, sometimes during the worst of winter weather. They often place warming packets in the shipping crates, but many times the chicks on the outside of the bunch get chilled and arrive dead or close to dead. No food and water is shipped with chicks.

The average journey for these chicks is three days. I had chicks shipped to me that took that long, and they arrived in pretty good shape. It was early May, and the weather was freezing at night and 40s during the day. They sure would have enjoyed a seat warmer.
 

Tessa's Mom

In the Brooder
May 21, 2017
46
29
44
MI
Thank you both for the replies! I know more chicks smooshed together means more warmth, so with only 5, I was really worried. This makes me feel loads better. I'll make sure to have the brooder all set up for them and that the temp is spot-on so that they have somewhere nice and warm to go into. February is pretty rugged in my neck of the woods, but they'll be inside in a brooder with a heat lamp. But I was sure worried about that car ride. I can only make it so warm in the car. Thanks again.
 

SueT

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May 27, 2015
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I drove to get my chicks at a hatchery 1 1/2 hrs away and then went on more errands in that area for the rest of the morning. I don't have a heated seat, so I put their box in a cooler with the lid slightly open. As everyone has said, the poor chicks going thru the mail don't have it so good.
I think picking them up yourself is so preferable to shipping. You get them only hours old, they've gone thru minimal stress and handling, and they can start eating and drinking on day one.
 

Tessa's Mom

In the Brooder
May 21, 2017
46
29
44
MI
I drove to get my chicks at a hatchery 1 1/2 hrs away and then went on more errands in that area for the rest of the morning. I don't have a heated seat, so I put their box in a cooler with the lid slightly open. As everyone has said, the poor chicks going thru the mail don't have it so good.
I think picking them up yourself is so preferable to shipping. You get them only hours old, they've gone thru minimal stress and handling, and they can start eating and drinking on day one.
This is extra reassuring. Thank you. Yes, more and more the mailing idea made me a bit nervous. Especially with so few. And waiting until April (when they'd ship such a small number in my area) is less appealing as that time of year is far more busy and I'd rather be able to take some time of work to spend with them when they're brand new and on heat. Extra bonus with getting them in February: I may have eggs by late summer!
 

SueT

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Yes, you will surely have eggs in summer that way. Two years ago, I got my first 4 chicks on April 5, and we began getting eggs in August.
 

brucifer

Songster
Feb 2, 2017
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I have 80+ chickens and a dozen or so different breeds and/or varieties, and I ALWAYS pick up chicks and/or hatching eggs from the breeders. I'm with you in that I don't like the idea of chicks and/or hatching eggs being shipping. Some people don't have much of an option, but fortunately I do, and it seems you do as well.

I live in the deep South so colds temps are rarely an issue here, so I can only imagine how cold it can be on a Michigan morning in February and a 3 1/2 trip for the chicks. That being said, exposure to chill is one of the worst things that can happen to day-old chicks. However, if the inside of your car is toasty warm when you get to the hatchery, your chicks should do fine. In addition, hatcheries usually have heat packs or you can bring one with you if you feel that the interior of your car will be too cold. Personally, I usually use a cardboard box with a layer of pine shavings and cover the top of the box with a towel when I transport chicks. Best of luck.
 

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