Where do you get your baby chicks?

Where do you get your baby chicks from

  • Breeder

    Votes: 10 15.2%
  • Hatchery

    Votes: 35 53.0%
  • Other (please post)

    Votes: 21 31.8%

  • Total voters
    66

mrskenmore

Songster
5 Years
Apr 21, 2014
369
255
166
After loosing my 1 year old BO this week suddenly to what I suspect was a heart attack, I am starting to rethink where I will get my next set of chicks to add to the flock. You see I am a backyard homesteader that has taken poultry classes at Cornell. So I like to think of my self as a savvy chicken keeper. I have a full time job and enjoy my laying hens as a hobby. I once had 6 hens last April, only to be down to three (lost a sexlink last year to EYP, my sussex turned out to be a rooster and now my BO has gone to join my sexlink up in the big chicken coop in the sky.) I have always gotten "sexed" (didn't work for the sussex lol) day old chicks and had fun raising them. As I have been doing this a little over 4 years now I don't want to be losing anymore hens to what I think are genetic and breeding disorders. I would like to ask the question of where do people get their chicks from. My problem is that I am on a 1/4 acre in suburbia so I like to keep my flock at around 6 laying hens. I need to rethink where I am getting the next set of chicks from as I would like three (preferable a Welsummer, a Sussex and another BO as she was lovely) Any help for breeder info, or if there is a good hatchery out there (I have had bad luck with two separate ones) please let me know.
 
Last edited:

Folly's place

Crossing the Road
8 Years
Sep 13, 2011
17,126
21,958
906
southern Michigan
Given good husbandry, genetics are a big issue, when you are looking for healthy long- lived birds.
Hatcheries, and most breeders, use one year old birds as breeders, and don't keep birds around longer. There's no selection for longevity!!!
Historically, heritage birds have done better longer than any of the sex-links or hybrid layers. That's a raging generalization, given how breeders are now kept by almost everyone.
I buy from hatcheries mostly, and have liked my birds from Cackle especially.
I also hatch and raise my own, and keep my hens and cockbirds as breeding stock as long as possible. Trying to select for longevity!
Cherish your healthy older birds!
My personal experience, based on few birds, has been that none of the red production birds, or buff Orphingtons, or standard Brahmas, have lived long. Again, very small numbers here.
Right now my white Chanteclers are doing great, as have the Belgian d'Uccles, Speckled Sussex, and small Jersey Giants (not the big ones!).
Mary
 

Lalo Rolon

Chirping
May 18, 2017
35
32
55
I have begun hatching and selling my own chicks. I keep enough to support my own needs for my flock, but I am a novice to the breeding game. I hope to continue learning how to create the best bird for my needs.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium member
7 Years
Nov 27, 2012
71,198
72,287
1,557
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
I mostly hatch my own too.
But I have the space for grow out and the ability to slaughter all those males.

But your situation is difficult, as it is for many small flock backyarders, because you only want a very specific few chicks. Gonna be hard to find that without using a hatchery and even then will be hard to time it right. Small orders better purchased during mild weather(late spring), as they won't ship small orders otherwise and then a lot of breeds are sold out. Might have best luck pre-ordering in winter with a specified delivery date, that can be tricky too. I'e never ordered form a hatchery so don't really know that ins and outs first hand, but have read plenty.

Finding a decent and real breeder is tough, many say they are 'breeders' but are just churning out chicks that came from a hatchery to begin with and may not be kept in the best environment. Knowing what hatcheries and what problems you had would help someone steer you in the right direction.

Not sure you're going to find a source where they never get sick or have problems.
 

mrskenmore

Songster
5 Years
Apr 21, 2014
369
255
166
Thank you all for your wisdom and insight to this topic. I am impressed that so many of you hatch/breed your own. I just simply do not have the time or space to do that currently, but am looking forward to those days in the future for sure! I agree that the combination of what I want is difficult if not downright impossible to find. I do not know of the two hatcheries as the first order was through an Agway (they had gotten their chicks in Ohio) and the second order was through a re seller that also had gotten his chicks in Ohio) So I guess to sum up what I am looking for so someone can steer me in the right direction of adding to my existing flock of 3 hens (if this wish list is even possible) please see below my chicken wish list :)

1. healthy stock that is vaccinated against Marecks' (it seems to have gone viral on Long Island where I live) that will live and be healthy for at least 5-6 years

2. large fowl cold hearty breeds

3. a variety of breeds available as I like to have a mixed flock

4. calm, docile friendly breeds that like to forage but don't mind being in a very large (200+ sq ft) coop for 13 hours a day- 5 days a week

5. females kept for laying purposes, they will be named, loved and kept as pets

6. preferably day old chicks, but would entertain pullets if the breed lines were docile/friendly enough
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium member
7 Years
Nov 27, 2012
71,198
72,287
1,557
SW Michigan
My Coop
My Coop
So you didn't buy direct from a hatchery. The second one was a private citizen buying day old chicks from hatcheries then reselling to the public? I'd avoid that one, who knows what they have floating around in their 'facilities'.

1. healthy stock that is vaccinated against Marecks' (it seems to have gone viral on Long Island where I live) that will live and be healthy for at least 5-6 years
Mareks is a virus ;) Vaccination does not protect them from all strains of the Mareks virus....and there's never a guarantee that a hen, of any breed - no matter the vaccines, will be healthy for 5-6 years.

Did you have Mareks in your flock, confirmed by lab testing?
 

Folly's place

Crossing the Road
8 Years
Sep 13, 2011
17,126
21,958
906
southern Michigan
If you can find other people interested in making a chick order, go together with them on one larger order. It will give you more flexability.
MyPetChicken ships as few as three, although I've never done it myself.
Order early, so you can get the breeds that interest you, all at the same time.
It's trial and error, choosing birds that look good on paper, and that don't appeal at home. Or having individuals who live short, even from long-lived stock.
Every chick that I get from a hatchery comes vaccinated against Marek's disease, and my home hatched chicks aren't vaccinated. So far, no Marek's disease here. Luck and good biosecurity!
Mary
 

mrskenmore

Songster
5 Years
Apr 21, 2014
369
255
166
Hi Aart,

Thank you for your prompt response! Correct, both times I did not buy direct from a hatchery. The first was an agway, and yes the second was a regular person buying and reselling from a hatchery. I find it difficult being a backyard chicken keeper, as sometimes I am limited to where I can buy as I don't have the facilities for 12 chickens unfortunately. I did not have mareks in my flock as I practice good animal husbandry and my remaining hens are healthy. Maybe I should try buying direct from a hatchery? I have just had such heartbreak in the last year with my little flock I am so conflicted as to where and when I get the next set of cuties from :barnie
 

mrskenmore

Songster
5 Years
Apr 21, 2014
369
255
166
Hi Folly-

You are correct, even the most well documented hens on paper with long lineage lines can pass or be taken by a predator. My Pet Chicken appeals to me, and maybe going with some of the lesser known breeds (as you mentioned earlier the problems with the BO's and sexlinks- both of which died on me way to early) Other than the genetic problems and the onetime bumblefoot on my one girl things are relatively healthy and good every day. I am no doubt scarred by my recent experiences.

Thanks for your help and good wisdom

this website has always been so helpful to me :)
 
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