So you’ve decided to start your own flock or even grow the one you have. You’ve done your research with chicken coops, incubators and the right chicken breeds and know exactly how to take care of them. All you need is the actual birds. But where do you get them? Does Amazon sell them? Should you get them at the local farm? Maybe arrive very early in the morning to KFC?
In our opinion, the most versatile way to get chickens is by getting chickens online. Here’s how to get them, where to get them and how to make sure your investment is as safe as possible.
Chickens online vs Local Farm
Local farms are usually a great way to get cheap chickens. They usually already have self-sustainable flocks that produce baby chicks regularly. Good farms will take good care of their chickens and will even allow you to see where the chickens are kept.
However, since they already have their own chickens, they may not necessarily breed them for their best qualities. They may breed weird crosses to try and invent a “new chicken breed” or may simply not care about the breeding process at all. After all, for most farms, chickens are products. The more they have the more they’ll sell.
Now let’s say you find a local farm that is breeding their chickens with much care. They avoid inbreeding and only allow the best birds to breed. Chances are, they won’t have a lot of variety because they’re focused on a few breeds at best. After all, they’re not a hatchery.
Getting chickens online gives you the freedom to choose any breed, even wait for your favorite breed to be in stock. Good online hatcheries only breed the best of the best. After all, their business isn’t to have as many chickens as they can so they can be someone’s dinner in a couple of months, they breed chickens thinking of their plumage, their health and even their personalities!
“But if the online hatchery is in a different state” you might ask, “how would the chickens get to me?”
What to expect when you’re expecting (chickens in the mail)
You may be surprised to learn that chickens have been shipped around the country for over 100 years! The U.S. Postal Service is the only service that actually offers the shipment of live poultry.
Online hatcheries will never sell you just one or two chicks. They’ll usually have a minimum order (usually between 15-25) so the chickens can snuggle together for heat. Shipping several chickens can also guarantee that most of them arrive alive and safe.
Shipping chickens bought is surprisingly easy. Chicks are very resilient and can spend up to three days without food after hatching, often surviving on their yolk remnants.
Shipping chickens is also safer than it sounds. Although there aren’t statistics on chicken mortality when being shipped, several hatcheries report their chicks’ mortality in under one percent.
Once you get that box, open it immediately! Your baby chicks need you to take care of them and welcome them to their new home.
Buying Chickens Online Safely
Just like anything else, buying chickens online is safe as long as you get them from a reputable source. We’ve partnered up with Cackle Hatchery since we’ve had a long relationship with them and we’re comfortable endorsing their poultry.
Whether you want to buy from them or from anyone else, take a look on their guarantees. Cackle Hatchery offers a 100% live delivery guarantee. They usually accomplish this by shipping a bit more baby chicks than ordered so you’ll get the best bang for your buck.
They also offer satisfaction (for up to 30 days) and quality guarantees. Having these types of long guarantees with any hatchery will often speak on the quality of their poultry and the care they put on the shipments.
We’ve mentioned before how you can get cheap chickens by ordering non-sexed surplus chickens, however, when ordering female chickens they also offer a sexing guarantee!
Another great thing about ordering online is that you can easily order based on your needs. Cackle Hatchery offers, for example, chickens for cold and hot weathers, rare breeds and small orders for those looking for a city flock. They also offer very specialized options like a small self-sustainable prepper special focused to survivalists and even the most luxurious and expensive chicken in the world: the Ayam Cemani.
What has been your experience when ordering chickens online? Let us know in the comments below!