baby chicks in a box
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Ordering Chicks from a Hatchery Ten Steps to Ordering Chickens

Have you considered ordering chicks from a hatchery? A few days ago we ordered 15 chicks from a hatchery. We decided to go with a hatchery after several weeks of searching on craigslist and talking to locals about buying chickens.

Ordering Chicks Online

The ordering process was super easy. We knew we wanted dual purpose birds, which means good for eggs and meat. Once we found the breeds we wanted, Wyandotte and Buff Orpington, we checked the box for female.  We put the amount we wanted and then added to our cart. Buying sexed birds does cost a little more or you can purchase not sexed.

Afterwards, the hatchery sent us an email receipt stating we would be notified when they have a shipment date. The chicks are overnighted to the post office or sometimes it may take two days to arrive.  The post office calls early in the morning for you to pick up.

Steps to Online Hatchery Orders

  1. We googled hatcheries near us, so the chicks didn’t have as far to travel. Just like us, traveling can leave them tired and stressed.
  2.  Ordering chicks from a hatchery – visit the hatchery website. The birds are divided into categories for easy selection. We looked under the tab “Baby Chicks” then subcategory “Brown Egg Layers” because we already knew we were looking for this type.
  3.  On the “Brown Egg Layers” page are pictures of the different breeds available. Click on each breed to get a description of the bird. They let you know the bird’s temperament, history, have videos, and the best uses of the breed.
  4. Choose your breed. Once we narrowed it down to Buff Orpington and Wyandotte we chose the sex, amount we wanted and then added to our cart. The more you buy the less it costs per chicken.
  5.  Fill out the new customer form.
  6. Check out. We checked the box to have the chicks shipped and then paid.
  7.  The hatchery emails a receipt and information about shipment.
  8. Shipment date. Once the hatchery had a confirmed shipment date, I received an email with that information.
  9. The Post Office will call EARLY for you to pick up your chicks.
  10.  ENJOY…optional!

Baby Chickens Arrivebaby chicks in a delivery box

We got a ring from the Post Office a little before 8:00 a.m. The boys had instructed me the night before to wake them up! They were so excited. Noah said, “The last time I was this excited was Christmas.” Anyway, we picked them up and gave a count in the car. We ordered 15 and the hatchery sent us 16.  The hatchery gives one extra chick for a “Just in Case one doesn’t arrive alive.”  All were alive and well.

I was a little nervous about ordering chicks from a hatchery for the first time.  I’m happy to report it was the perfect experience!

Chicken Brooderbaby chicks in a plastic brooder

Since we didn’t have a large amount of birds, we kept them in a tall plastic bin. In the bin we placed several inches of wood shavings or you could use fine mulch. Other supplies we added were:  a heat lamp, container for water, feeder, and organic chick starter.  We also put some fresh grass clippings for greens and soil/grit on a newspaper in the bin.  As they got older we added a stick for perching…we won’t do this again.  They were, of coarse, continually flying out of the brooder.

Supplies Needed for Chicks:
  • Chicken waterer & feeder – You’ll want to pick up each chick and place their beak in the water.  My recipe for healthy chickens is adding 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and 1 tablespoon of honey to the baby chicks water.  It boosts their immune system and kinda revives them after their overnight journey.
  • Brooder – For their brooder, we use a plastic bin.  Some people place them in a galvanized cattle water container.  If you’re ordering a large amount the cattle waterer is better.  For 15 chicks, a bin works fine.
  • Wood shavings – Fill at least 6 inches of wood shavings in the brooder.  If you notice a smell, just add more and it will take care of nasty odors.
  • Chick Starter Feed – Get them off to a good start by feeding them chick starter feed.  This feed has the nutrients their little growing bodies need.  They will grow fast!  In a matter of weeks, they won’t even look like the same birds.
  • Grit – Grit is a shovel of dirt with little pebbles.  We have rocky soil, so our dirt works fine.  If you have more sandy soil, you can bag a bag of grit.
  • Heat Lamp – Since they won’t have their “Mama Hen” to set on them, they’ll need a heat lamp to keep them warm!  This is a very important part.  They don’t have their feathers yet and are not able to keep warm on their own.  If you notice them huddled together and not running around, acting lethargic, adjust your heat lamp further away.

Thanks for stopping by!  Let us know if you have ordered chicks from a hatchery in the comments below.

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Blessings to you,
Shaun & Alisha

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