Raising chickens is becoming more popular even in urban and suburban settings. This isn’t surprising given how easy these lovely backyard pets are to care for. But keeping them entails a tremendous degree of responsibility. This involves selecting the best hatchery to ensure that you’ll be rewarded with healthy chicks.
Chicken hatcheries may now be found easily on the internet thanks to technological advancements. This makes poultry raising easier and more pleasurable for you.
If you live in Kentucky, you’ll need to look for a hatchery that sells newborn chicks in your area. Many hatcheries will have chicks available all year, but unique breeds and colors can only be supplied for a limited time during specific seasons.
Top 5 Chicken Hatcheries in Kentucky
It’s wise to see what’s offered in your area that can best meet your demands. Here are the top five hatcheries from which to pick.
1. Hodgepodge Farm
Hodgepodge Farm is a small, year-round farm run by a family. Every year, from May to September, you can usually purchase baby chicks.
They don’t accept credit or debit cards, and they’re normally only available by appointment.
They do offer one-way delivery for 50 cents each mile.
They raise five different chicken varieties, the majority of which are heritage breeds. Black Australorp, Barred Rock or Cream Legbar, French Black Copper Marans, Welsummer, and Easter Eggers are some of these species.
In January 2013, the farm earned its NPIP accreditation.
Location: 5175 Union Temple Rd, St Charles, KY 42453
2. Hagen Hatchery
If you’re looking for prime game fowl, Kentucky-Tuff Game Farm might be the place for you.
They offer both cocks and hens/pullets for sale, with most breeds priced at $200 for cocks and $100 for pure hens/pullets (crosses are available for $50).
One thing to keep in mind is that the prices listed do not include shipping costs. Kentucky-Tuff Game Farm ships via United States Postal Service (USPS) Express mail.
Location: 254 Reynolds Rd, Keavy, KY 40737, United States
3. Tewes Farm
Since the 1920s, the Tewes family has been keeping chickens. They concentrated on hatching and keeping chickens at that time.
Today, the family continues the tradition, although their major business during the holiday season has changed to dressed turkeys.
Except on Wednesdays and Sundays, the farm is open daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
As of this writing, their NPIP certification has not been verified.
Location: 2801 Crescent Springs Pike, Erlanger, KY 41018
4. Hen’s Haven
Hens’ Haven is a small business that can hatch out your selected variety if you give them ample notice and a deposit.
Unlike commercial hatcheries, they do not kill any extra male chicks they hatch out.
So, if you want to buy pullets from their farm, you must also take the cockerels.
They raise winning bloodlines of Buffs, Darks, Lights, Blacks, and Partridge Bantam Brahmas, and their parents can be viewed on the farm.
The cost of the chicks varies, and shipping is the responsibility of the purchaser.
Hens’ Haven is an NPIP participant, and their chickens are tested annually.
Location: 216 Meadowbrook Rd. Richmond, KY 40475
5. Chicken Ridge Farm
Chicken Ridge Farm, a small family-run farm, specializes in rare chick breeds. Due to high demand, they are by appointment only
The price of a chick starts at $5.
They’re open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day except Mondays.
At the time of writing, their NPIP accreditation had not been verified yet.
Location: 5888 Lower Tug Fork Rd, Melbourne, KY 41059
What to Look for When Buying Chickens in Kentucky
Check local laws
Raising backyard chickens can be a gratifying and fun experience for the entire family, but there are a few things you should consider before getting started.
To begin, check local rules to see whether keeping chickens is even authorized in your community. It’s best to know if there’s a restriction on the number of chickens you may keep at a time, if roosters are allowed, and if permits for the chickens or coop are required.
The last thing you want to do is spend time and money getting ready for chickens only to discover that you can’t maintain them!
So, if your mind is set on keeping chickens in Kentucky, have a look at the regulations listed in the table below.
Cities in Kentucky Allowing Backyard Chickens
Cities in Kentucky Allowing Backyard Chickens
|City||Allowable Number of Chickens||Rooster Regulations|
|Bowling Green||No limits||Allowed|
|Jefferson County||Maximum of five hens||Only one rooster allowed|
|Louisville||Maximum of 5 hens||Allowed|
Meanwhile, three cities in Kentucky ban keeping backyard chickens as of this writing. These are:
You are probably more enlightened now to decide which path to choose. Be mindful that some of the barriers may be right in your backyard.
In other words, your county or town may permit backyard chickens, but your neighborhood may not. Take some time to check on this, too.
If you’re determined to welcome feathered pets to your community, you’ll need to figure out how to balance your interests as a backyard keeper with residents who aren’t so enthusiastic about the newcomers.
Choose breeds suitable for Kentucky weather
Kentucky’s weather is normally mild and moderate due to its central U.S. location. Warm summers and relatively chilly winters characterize the state’s four different seasons.
However, summer daytime temperatures average 87 degrees, with a high UV index even when the sun is obscured by clouds. So, take necessary precautions if your chickens will spend a lot of time outside.
Chickens prefer temperatures of 55 to 75 ºF. When the temperature goes above 80 ºF, their bodies become stressed, especially when the humidity is high.
Winter lows, on the other hand, average around 23 degrees, making snow and ice a concern at times – so be ready.
Despite these patterns, Kentucky’s weather varies greatly day after day. You’ll never know when a sunny afternoon will turn into thunderstorms in an hour or two.
Heat resilient birds would work best for you in Kentucky because summer is more difficult for chickens than winter. The discomfort your flock feels can be reduced by choosing some of the best chicken breeds for hot weather.
Chickens use their wattles and combs, which are densely packed with capillaries, to regulate their body temperature. Capillaries transport body heat and blood close to the skin’s surface.
The heat quickly disappears from the combs and wattles when they’re hot. This implies that chickens with large combs and wattles are the ideal breeds for hot weather conditions.
Orpington, Easter Egger, Barred Plymouth Rocks, New Hampshire Red, Rhode Island Red, Welsummer, Leghorns, Brahmas, Andalusians, Appenzeller, and Sumatras are some of the well-known chicken breeds with prominent combs and wattles.
These breeds are more tolerant of high temperatures than others, and therefore have a lower incidence of heat-related mortality.
If you end up with a breed that isn’t well-suited to your area, make sure you have a plan in place to keep them safe from the heat.
Buy in person
If at all possible, buy your chicks in person. You must inspect what you are receiving, just as you would when buying something for yourself. Some companies offer delivery options, but reputable breeders have a collection-only policy for good reason.
When you buy in person, you can examine the condition of the birds and how they are kept. You can also reject any that are weak, sick, or not as advertised. If you’re ever in doubt, just walk away; you can always find other chickens.
In addition, make sure that you go and purchase your chickens in daylight so you can inspect them carefully. During the day, a healthy hen should be awake, active, and bright-eyed.
Feathers should be shiny and entire, but if the hen is in molt or at the bottom of the pecking order, this may not be the case. But don’t worry, she’ll regrow her feathers once she’s in your loving care.
Picking up a chicken and evaluating her condition for yourself is the only way to know for sure. Watch out for smooth legs and healthy feathers. Excellent muscle and meat development are indicated by a solid body.
If you wish to buy chicks, don’t be afraid to ask if sexed birds are available. Some breeders will sell day-old chicks in addition to pullets. It will be very helpful to ask since chicks might be hens or roosters.
When you buy sexed birds, the breeder will check to determine if the chick is a hen or a rooster. You may then choose which gender you want.
They might urge you to acquire a rooster as part of a pair of your chickens but if roosters are not permitted in your area, inform the dealer. They may be happy to retain him. If not, it’s generally best to walk away.
Your major concern is ensuring that your chickens are healthy and well-cared for. This begins with selecting the appropriate breed from the most reputable hatchery in your area. Now is the time to check your local ordinances and call or visit top Kentucky hatcheries that can best fulfill your needs.
Joseph Hudson has been raising chickens for over 15 years. In 2018, he completed the Agriculture & Natural Resources program at Mt. San Antonio College. He currently raises over 1400 chickens on his 7.5-hectare farm. He keeps sharing his experience on raising healthy and happy chickens on Chicken Scratch.