Chick Hatchery Guide: Get Started With Day Old Chicks

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Hand in hand with our previous article about armchair gardening we put together a handy list of hatcheries for those looking to start raising themselves some fine feathered friends. Believe it or not, hatcheries routinely ship chicks across the country via USPS — you just have to be willing to order a minimum number required by the hatchery.


Now is a great time to start raising baby chicks provided you have a warm, draft-free environment. We’ve made sure to include the name, address, phone number, URL, and any thoughts we have about the assorted hatcheries listed below.

Cackle Hatchery
411 W Commercial St
Lebanon, MO 65536

Fairly old and well-established hatchery that is smack dab in the middle of the country. They frequently have sales and have a good reputation. They also have a wide selection of bird types including many rarer ones.

Country Hatchery
P.O. Box 747
Wewoka, OK 74884

A nice, friendly little hatchery that loves to help you select the very best for where you are. They state that they are an old-fashioned business that answers phone calls and they’re right!

Ideal Hatchery
P.O. Box 591
Cameron, TX 76520-0591

Email is manned by real people who actually know about chickens. Very helpful and friendly. Quality is great. Carries: chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, bantams, guineas, pheasants, partridges.

Meyer Hatchery
626 State Route 89
Polk, OH 44866

This is pretty much the standard, go to hatchery on the East Coast and Midwest. That being said, they’re good and they will ship small numbers of chickens during the warm season. They have great customer service by phone, never emailed.

Murray McMurray Hatchery
PO Box 458, 191 Closz Drive
Webster City, IA 50595

Carries started pullets, meat – everything, including “special packages” – a specialty order that contains several types of poultry geared towards a specific purpose, such as the Frying Pan special or the Top Hat.


And here are some other well known hatcheries that we haven’t personally dealt with:

Belt Hatchery
7272 S. West Ave.
Fresno, CA 93706
Phone: 559-264-2090 / Fax: 559-264-2095

Phone, fax and email orders (no online orders). There is an extra charge if you order more than one breed to meet the minimum requirement. They maintain their own breeding flocks.

Dunlap Hatchery
Box 507 – 4703, E. Cleveland Blvd.
Caldwell, Idaho 83606

Established in 1918, they have a store as well and do phone orders, MO and checks.

Hoffman Hatchery
P.O. Box 129
Gratz, PA 17030

Started in 1948 with one small Sears-Roebuck incubator. Family-run business. Only accepts checks and money orders. Orders must be mailed in.

Hoovers Hatchery
P.O. Box 200
Rudd, IA 50471

Established 1944. Free shipping, rare breeds, meat birds, bantams.

Ideal Poultry
PO Box 591
Cameron, TX 76520

Minimum order $25.00. Accepts Paypal. Claim to be the largest supplier of backyard poultry in the United States, shipping close to 5 million chicks annually. Offers surplus chick bargains and make your own mix.

Moyer’s Chicks
266 E. Paletown Road
Quakertown, PA 18951

Started in 1946. They hatch out year-round. They sell their own hybrid cross chickens.

Myers Poultry
966 Ragers Hill Rd.
South Fork, PA 15956

150+ varieties. Payment information must be phoned in.

Purely Poultry
PO Box 466
Fremont WI 54940

300+ breeds of chickens, bantams, ducks, geese, turkeys, guineas, peafowl, pheasants, ornamentals, chukars, swans and quail.

Ridgeway Hatchery
615 N. High St., Box 306
Larue, OH 43332

In business 93 years. Orders are placed online and then you call in your payment information.

Sand Hill Preservation Center
1878 230th Street
Calamus, Iowa 52729

“We are doing this as a hobby business service and we work as fast and efficiently as the time allows. If you are impatient and absolutely have to have something by a certain date, please do us and yourself a favor and order from somewhere else.” Linda and Glenn run this as a labor of love.

Schlecht Hatchery
9749 500th Avenue
Miles, IA 52064

Smaller selection but they do all of their own breeding.

Welp Hatchery
PO Box 77
Bancroft, IA 50517

Started in 1929. Broilers are specialty. Accepts money orders. No additional shipping charges.

Do you have a favorite hatchery or have a comment about one listed here? Tell us about it in a comment below!

How to purchase chicks by mail-order

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Since spring is almost here, many people are ordering chicks. But for first-timers are quite confused as to all the different terminology used and such. I found some great videos for you all to watch that will hopefully help dispel questions and concerns first-timers may have.

And as a sweet bonus today, a picture of subscriber Ted Johnson’s grandson Micah with one of their hens.


Buying Your First Chickens

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There’s not much cuter than a fuzzy yellow, newborn chick. Each spring, people are tempted to buy a few for their own backyard or to give them to loved ones as gifts. This is a terrible idea. They are adorable, true, but chicks are a huge commitment. Chicks have special heating and feed requirements. They grow into much larger and less cute chickens, which need a coop and a place to roam. Whether a gift for yourself or a friend, a chick comes with many strings attached: feed to buy, a living area to build and maintain, cleaning up after the chicken, veterinary care, and more. Not to mention the hassle the chicken may cause with your homeowner’s association! No matter how cute they are, resist the urge to liven your springtime with chicks. They do not make good Easter gifts.

If you’ve thought long and hard about the time and effort required to raise chicks and have already prepared your property for your birds, buying your first chicks can be one of the most exhilarating parts of chicken husbandry. Make sure that you have the knowledge to successfully raise them, a healthy and warm home for them, and that you’re willing to care for these birds for the next 5-7 years. Are you ready to make that commitment?

Online Vs. In-Person Ordering

Chicks can be ordered online and delivered to your home or purchased in-person from a farm or farm supply store. Online or catalogue ordering is a quick and easy way to choose your chicks. If you choose to order online, ask about the company’s shipping methods and fees, chick guarantees, minimum chick order requirements, and certifications.

Buying chicks in-person has a huge advantage: you’ll be able to see the condition of your chicks and check them for diseases. If any are in poor conditions or are sickly looking, you’ll be able to reject them instantly. Healthy birds should be alert. They shouldn’t have skin conditions, like bald patches or soreness and redness. Personally choosing the best of the flock will give you the best chance at successful chicken husbandry.

Also, remember not to get too many chicks. They are small now, but they’ll get much larger. Also keep in mind the number of eggs your chicken breed produces on average. Compare this with the number of eggs your family will realistically eat, the amount of space you have available, and the expense of caring for multiple

Caring For Your New Chick

For the first 5-8 weeks of life, chicks should be kept indoors in a brooder. Any sort of box, cage, or even an empty aquarium will do. Line the bottom with pine shavings or newspaper and keep the brooder warm with a light bulb and reflector. For the first week of life, the temperature must be kept between 90-100 degrees. For each week after that until the chicks have feathers, decrease the temperature by 5 degrees until you eventually get to 70 degrees.

Your new chicks not only need a sanitary place to live and warmth, but they also need a constant supply of water (make sure it is very shallow to prevent drowning) and a feeder. Feed them chick grit, which is specially formulated food for this stage of their lives. Check on your chicks several times a day to make sure they are warm enough, have food and water, and are not in harm’s way. Chicks require a lot of supervision!

Watch Your Chicks Grow

As your birds get larger and older, they’ll need more floor space per chick. They’ll also require more water and food and will be able to go outside in a safe, fenced-in area on a warm day. Once your birds are larger and fully feathered, it’s okay to start introducing them to their coop. If it’s cold at night, keep them in their heated
brooder during the evening hours. If it’s warm outside or if your coop is heated, you can keep your adolescent chickens in their coop. There is no one-size-fits-all age when it’s okay to transfer your chicks from the brooder to the coop. So long as your birds are healthy, feathered, and thriving, it’s up to you exactly when to move your chicks to their long-awaited home.