Editor’s Note: We were recently contacted by the folks at Sorry Chicken, after they read one of our earlier posts. They offered us the opportunity to run one of their pieces, which complements our own chicken post. We encourage you to check out their site, if you are interested in raising chickens. They have lots of great information. This is the sort of networking that we appreciate, where people with specific knowledge work together.
For most people, the easiest way to buy chickens is to visit the local feed store. Feed stores usually start carrying baby chicks in the early spring. They’re especially easy to come by around Easter. You may also be able to buy chicks throughout the summer at some feed stores.
If you don’t have a feed store nearby or are looking for something specific, there are a few other options available.
Buy Baby Chicks Online
One tactic is to order baby chicks or fertilized eggs online. You can buy from a feed store website or purchase chicks from breeders or hatcheries across the country. If you go this route, be sure to buy from a reputable sender and have them shipped on a day you’ll be prepared to pick them up. You don’t want chicks stuck waiting in a shipping box for any longer than necessary.
Chicks that are freshly hatched don’t need to eat or drink anything for the first day or two thanks to the nutrition of the egg they grew up in. This makes it possible to ship them safely cross-country using overnight shipping methods.
If you have an incubator, you can buy fertilized eggs online and incubate them yourself. This is a more time-consuming option, but it can be very rewarding and in some cases cheaper than buying already-hatched chicks or older chickens.
Buy Chickens From a Breeder
Another good way to get chickens for your backyard farm is to find a local farmer or breeder who will sell you a baby chick or pullet.
You can often find these breeders by asking around your community. Visit the local farmer’s market and talk to anyone who is selling eggs. County fairs are another great place to meet chicken farmers. If you’re interested in a specific breed of chicken, visiting a poultry show or fair is often the best way to find the birds you need.
Join a Chicken Community
Another great resource for buying chickens and chicken supplies is a community of chicken enthusiasts. You may have a local group you can join to meet up and swap eggs or hatchlings. There are also numerous forums online where you can chat with other chicken owners. These chicken forums are a great place to pick up used supplies and even a chance to get free chickens, especially if you’re looking for a rooster or an older hen who has stopped laying. If you’re primarily looking for a chicken as a pet rather than a source of eggs, getting a free older hen from another farmer is a great choice.