Are you wondering how and where to buy chickens? Well, wonder no more! Today, we will be answering these questions and so much more!
Venturing into the poultry world could look daunting. However, it doesn’t have to be. Today, let us help you ease your way into this world.
Without further ado, let us get right into it.
How to Buy Chickens?
To answer “how?” we will answer why, what, and when.
Why Are You Buying Chickens?
First, you want to answer this question, as the answer to it will not only make the next steps easier but it will also direct them.
Decide if you want a chicken for show or production. If the latter, determine if you are in it for the eggs, meat, or both. After that, you might also have to consider if you want it for some time or continually. Then, you also have to decide if the products will be for personal or commercial use.
In other words, you want to determine your purpose in buying chickens here. This step might seem obvious, but we wanted to give this part some emphasis because there are many reasons to go and buy chickens. We wanted you to take a good look at each one before committing.
What Chickens Do You Want to Buy?
Next, you have to decide what chickens to buy.
You want to decide if you will go for chicks, young chickens, or old ones. After that, you want to consider the gender of the chickens. Determine if you will go for females, males, or both. Finally, the breed is also something you have to take into account.
Take your time in answering this question. Again, the answer here will affect the next steps.
What Do You Want to Look for When Buying Chickens?
In buying chickens, you want to look for healthy ones. It is not always easy, especially if you are new to this world. However, it is something you will get the hang of in time. For now, here are the things to keep in mind on your first buy.
First, do a quick inspection.
Scan the head of the chickens you are eyeing first. From the head, check that the combs are vibrant and plump and not flaky and shriveled. Next, check the eyes and noses. These parts should be clear and clean with no signs of discharge. After that, examine the beaks are there (some places debeak their birds) and not broken.
From the head, go down to the body. Check that the crops are okay. This part should fill up when the chickens eat, but it should also flatten after some time. After that, see that the feathers are soft, smooth, and clean. Keep an eye out that there are no bald spots too. Also, do some digging! Gently part the feathers to see if there are any lice and such. Then, go and check the vents. It should be clean. A dirty vent can be an indication of trouble.
From the body, go down to the legs and feet. Check that both are clean without signs of wounds. Also, check that they can walk straight and not limp.
Finally, you want to do some observing.
Listen to the chickens. Crowing, clucking, and peeping are things to expect. Sneezing, coughing, or running out of breath sounds are not.
After that, observe how active the chickens are. Healthy chickens are mostly active. Unhealthy ones would likely be cowering and hunching in a corner.
Finally, determine if you can handle the behavior of the chickens you are eyeing. Some chickens can be feistier than others and cause more trouble than some.
When to Buy Chickens?
You can buy chickens at almost any time and day. However, here are some things you might want to keep in mind when it comes to when to buy chickens.
It is best to buy chickens during the day. Daylight will help you with more than just inspection. It will also help you observe the activeness and behavior of the chickens, as our feathery friends are usually not active at night. You will not be able to see much from sleeping chickens.
Also, it is best to buy chickens in spring and to avoid purchasing in the fall. Spring offers the best conditions for baby chickens. On the other hand, fall is the molting season of our feathery friends. As we have said above, bald spots could mean trouble. However, most – if not all – chickens sport bald spots during this season!
Finally, if you are ordering online, you might come across pre-order periods. If you have been searching far and wide for a particular chicken, it might be best to place your order early to make sure you make the cut.
Where to Buy Chickens?
Above, we answered the why, what, and when. However, there is another question that needs an answer. That is “where?”
There are many places from which to buy chickens. Let us discuss the most common choices you have.
You Can Buy Chickens From Hatcheries
Chicken hatcheries are probably the most obvious place to get some chickens on this list. In most cases, also the best place to do so too.
A chicken hatchery often dedicates itself to, well, chickens! With that, one can expect this place to be one – if not the best – at caring for our feathery friends. Additionally, being a place dedicated to selling these birds, they need to pass standards for keeping and selling them. With that, you can be a little bit more at peace with buying at this place.
Try to buy from a hatchery if you can. Many places selling chickens are commonly getting them from hatcheries anyway. To save, cut the middleman out of the picture.
With all that, you still want to be careful, though. There are still some bad ones out there.
You Can Buy Chickens From Local Farms
Local farms could be your next best choice if you cannot find a hatchery near your area. They are a little like hatcheries. However, as you might already know, they are often not only dedicated to chickens.
You Can Buy Chickens From Breeders
If you are looking for a hard-to-find chicken or the best of the best of a particular breed, a breeder might help you best. However, remember that a breeder is not only someone who allows a hen and a rooster to mate. If you want to buy from a breeder, look for a legitimate one.
You Can Buy Chickens From Neighbors
If you have land big enough to raise chickens, there’s a possibility your neighbors are already caring for a flock next door. You might not have to go far to buy some chickens. Go ahead and ask if they have some chickens for sale!
However, you might only want to buy chickens from your neighbor if you trust them.
You Can Buy Chickens Online
If you can’t find an establishment that sells chickens around your area, you can also turn to the internet. The world wide web offers several ways to get some chickens online.
First, you can find a hatchery online (e.g., Meyer Hatchery) that delivers to your area. On the other hand, you might also get in touch with a legitimate breeder or a farm willing to ship.
You Can Buy Chickens From These Places but with Caution
Here, we will talk about the other places to buy chickens. However, we don’t encourage purchasing from these places and suggest taking caution if you decide to do so.
You can buy chickens from shelters. There are likely some chickens up for grab in the pound near you. Shelters are not the best place to get chickens as you don’t know where they came from and how they were raised. They might cause trouble to you and your flock one way or another.
You can also buy chickens from swap meets, shows, and auctions. These are all fun places to meet with chicken lovers. However, they are not the best places to get some chickens for the same reason as with shelters. You can never be sure about the specifics regarding the chickens. Only consider buying from these places if you trust the seller.
Finally, you can also buy chickens from online platforms like Craigslist. However, like with shelters, swap meets, shows, and auctions, you should be cautious when purchasing here. Like with the others, you do not know why the chickens are there. You do not know the seller’s reasons for selling the chickens here.
How and where to buy chickens? Today, we answered these questions and so much more!
First, we discussed how to buy chickens, where we talked about the questions to ask and the things to know. After that, we discussed where one can buy chickens. Here, we talked about the many options those looking to get chickens have.
We hope we got to help you with this chicken concern today. If you have more, feel free to browse around!
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.