Mail Order Chicks
What to expect when you're expecting...
While you look at photos of your future feathered babies (giddy with excitement!), you’ll likely experience Chick Fever. For new chicken moms and dads, Chick Fever is generally accompanied by a long list of questions...
Where to buy them?
There are a lot of chick hatcheries! You’ll likely come across McMurray Hatchery, My Pet Chicken, Ideal Hatchery, Meyer Hatchery, Cackle Hatchery (and your local Tractor Supply will also sell chicks). A lot of the websites are easy to use and you can narrow your search to what is available for the week you want to receive your chicks.
We picked our birds based on availability for the next hatch. We loved that you could buy only one chick of a breed, as opposed to a minimum of 5 chicks of any one breed. The minimum order is 15 during the offseason and as little as 3 from April through November.
How many should I buy?
When we decided to buy chicks, we had to consider how many we wanted. First we checked the ordinances in our area to make sure the laws allowed for chickens. We are located in an area that allows up to 25 chickens with a minimum area of two square feet per chicken. Next, we checked our monthly "chicken budget" and thought about our coop size.
What to buy to prep?
Once the chicks were ordered, we had to put together the brooder. The chicks will live in the brooder for at least the first month of their life. We wanted to make sure there would be room for the chicks to grow and be protected while they are vulnerable. You can buy a brooder at the store, but we chose to build one reusing an old planter box and adding a chicken wire cover. We used pine shavings as a bedding and New Country Organics starter feed.
How will the chicks get here?
The chicks at Meyer Hatchery are shipped by USPS Priority Mail. The minimum order is 15 chicks. They are sent in a box with air holes, a heating pack, and straw to keep them safe and warm. We contacted our local post office to hold the chicks when they got there, and we picked them up ourselves. We could hear them chirping the moment we walked through the door!
Which breeds to buy?
We had to consider a lot of things when looking at which breeds to buy. Our purpose in getting chicks is to enjoy them as pets. We wanted a lot of rare and beautiful breeds. Our secondary purpose is to collect eggs. We want colorful and beautiful feathers and eggs. We wanted the chicks as soon as possible, so we ordered birds from the “Available Next Hatch” section.
What are hatching eggs?
Many hatcheries also sell hatching eggs. They are fertilized eggs that you can hatch yourself! We have never hatched anything before, so we ordered 6 eggs to try our hand at hatching our own chicks. In order to do so, we bought an automatic egg turning incubator. After the eggs are put in the incubator, the chicks will hatch in about 21 days. An important note is that there is no way of knowing what sex the chicks will be and the breeds are the hatchery’s choice. Check back soon for our review and experience!
When to buy?
Spring. That is the easiest answer! Spring is when most hatcheries are selling the majority of their chicks. If you want fewer than 15 chicks, we recommend either splitting an order between friends or waiting until April when the order minimum is lower. You will also find a lot of chicks in your local feed and seed stores during this time if you don’t want to have your chicks shipped to your house.
THE DAY OF!!
Our little bundle of joy arrived at the USPS near our office. We picked up the box and heard the little peeps trying to escape from the box they had been in for the last 2 days. We put them into the brooder and enjoyed watching the little fuzz balls eat, drink, and be babies!
Ready for some extra cuteness? Check out the arrival of our sweet little chicks!
Bella quickly adopted the Grubbly title “Intern Extraordinaire” with her can-do attitude, love for animals, and passion for ecology and communications (which she currently studies at the University of Georgia). Bella has proven to be a jack of all trades as she steps into the office each day, taking on any challenge that comes her way.