Buy Baby Chicks to Raise
When you buy baby chicks, there are several things to consider. If purchasing your new baby chickens online, you have a choice of breeds and sex (male, female, or mix), as well as shipment dates. There are several sites that offer baby chicks for sale online, including:
- Meyer Hatchery
- Murray McMurray Hatchery
- Mt. Healthy Hatcheries
- Ridgway Hatchery
- Cackle Hatchery
- Estes Hatchery
Hatcheries often offer special packages, such as Murry McMurray's Meat N' Egg Combo that features Cornish birds for roasters paired with egg layers from the rainbow or brown layer breeds. Of course, you could put together your own flock by combing chicks destined to be layers, such as Rhode Island Reds, with Cornish peeps. The wide selection of chickens online makes it attractive to buy baby chicks from these hatcheries. Learn about the different breeds and which one(s) are right for your purposes before placing an order to buy baby chickens.
If you do find young laying hens that someone is willing to sell, the cost will generally be about $8 to $15 depending on your location and availability. When you first transition the hens to their new home, they may stop laying for a few days or even longer. Thus it is best to buy pullets that have not yet started laying in order to minimize interruptions in their laying cycle.
Tip: If you don't need as many chicks as the minimum purchase order, create a co-op and buy baby chicks with a friend or several other families.
Check to make sure that the hatchery from which you buy baby chicks has a good reputation (a few web searches should deliver that information) and generous replacement/ refund policy. Good hatcheries will replace your chicks if they die before arrival or within a set time frame after you receive them. Confirm that the chicks are all vaccinated at the time of hatching.
If you are buying the chicks locally, they could be a few days or weeks old when you get them, depending on your arrangements with the hatchery (especially if the hatchery is a neighbor with an egg incubator). At any rate, they will not have a had a long, tiresome journey and will make the transition to their new home more easily.
It'simportant to learn about proper care of baby chicks before you bring your babies home. You'll need a special brooder set up, which can consist of a sturdy box or cage and a heat lamp, as well as the right food and vaccination shots if the birds were not vaccinated at hatching.
You'll find that it is fun to buy baby chicks and rewarding to raise your own chickens from their first days. It's also a more frugal way to build your flock than buying full grown birds, and can be a potenitally profitable venture.
Go back to Raising Chickens or home to Egg Laying Chickens, or check out other chicken-related resources online:
Best Coop Plans:
How to Build a Chicken Coop - detailed plans and construction guide for making backyard coops.
These chicken coop plans and building guide are the best I've found, and purchased them myself to build our first coops. There are five different chicken coops included, beginning with the most basic double-story ark and culminating with the largest design, the Chicken Barn with attached screened-in chicken yard. I want to use their plans again for their largest chicken coop, the chicken barn, when we are ready to upsize our chicken flock's habitat. The coop pictured here is a medium-sized all-in-one design.
Recommended Chicken Books:
- Homemade Living - Keeping Chickens: All You Need to Know to Care for a Happy, Healthy Flock by Ashley English
- Storey's Guide - Raising Chickens by Gail Damerow
- Barnyard in Your Backyard - A Beginner's Guide to Raising Chickens, Ducks, Geese, Rabbits, Goats, Sheep, and Cattle
Favorite Chicken Quotes
“ A chicken you eat only once — eggs a hundred times." ~ Tajikistani Proverb
“ You cannot cook one half of the chicken and leave the other to lay eggs." ~ Sanskrit Proverb
“ You don’t have to kill the chicken to get eggs." ~ French Proverb