If you want at least part of your diet to be organic and more healthy, keeping chickens is a great way to achieve this. Not only do they lay eggs and provide us with delicious meat, but they are also great pets. In this article, you will find out everything you need to know about buying chickens in Massachusetts, starting from the top chicken hatcheries in this state.
Top 7 Chicken Hatcheries In Massachusetts
Hatcheries are one of the most convenient and easy ways of either adding chicks to your existing flock or making a new flock. They are usually placed on a large area of land where chickens can roam around and free-range without being stuck in cages.
This makes chickens healthier and their meat and eggs are of a higher quality if they are free and fed well. Here are the top 7 chicken hatcheries in Massachusetts.
1. Sheeran Farms Silkie Chicks
This farm is run by a fourth-generation couple of farmers. They only sell silkies and hatching eggs, but they pride themselves on the highest quality silkies you can find. The silkies they sell are free-range birds that only eat organic feed and natural dietary supplements.
You can buy bearded and non-bearded silkies in a wide variety of colors to choose from. The prices of baby chicks are 5$ to 10$, and the price of hens is 75$ to 100$, depending on the number of chicks you order. They are currently not NPIP-certified. This farm is located in Brimfield.
Location: 15 Prospect Hill Rd, Brimfield, MA 01010
2. The Goose And Hen
This family-run farm’s story is quite interesting. It all started when a second-grader declared he wanted to raise chickens. He got nine hens and now, when he is 15, he is raising a lot of different breeds of chickens, along with turkeys, ducks, and geese, all with help from other members of his family.
They sell Leghorns, Rhode Island Reds, Black Australorps, Delawares, and Buff Orpingtons, at less than 5$ per chick. You can also buy fertilized chicken eggs. This farm is not NPIP-certified at the moment. They are located in Harvard and deliver in bulk only.
Location: 85 Old Littleton Rd, Harvard, MA 01451
3. Bay State Pet & Garden Supply
This store exists since 1997. They provide supplies and equipment for farms, pets, animals, and gardens. Bay State Pet & Garden Supply is located in Taunton, and they offer curbside pickup. They do ship their orders to U.S.A. and Canada.
If you are wishing to buy live chickens from this store, you can get a random assortment of 10 chickens for 89.85$. They are either straight run or sexed with 90% accuracy.
Location: 429 Winthrop St, Taunton, MA 02780
4. Ashley’s Chickens And Lops
Ashley’s Chickens And Lops is a place where you can buy chickens and bunnies. The chickens come from NPIP-certified hatcheries and they are not available all year round. As of November 2021, the chickens are sold out until 2022.
When there are chickens in stock, you can expect to buy standard and bantam chickens, such as Cochins. There is a 10% chance that you will get a rooster, and refunds of any type are not available. You must order at least 4 chicks and Ashley implements the ‘first come first served’ policy, without a possibility of reservation.
Location: 9 Wenham St, Danvers, MA 01923
Email: [email protected]
5. Überchic Ranch
This ranch is located in Wilmington. They are dedicated on producing high-quality food and on selling exotic and rare chicken breeds of good genes. The breeds that you can find at this ranch are Bielefelder, Niederrheiner, and Bernevelder.
These breeds are docile and come at beautiful color patterns. You can use them both for meat and a steady supply of eggs. The prices range from 30$ to 60$ per baby chick, and they get more expensive as they get older. You can get an adult couple for 300$ to 835$. They ship to continental U.S.A. states. They are not NPIP-certified.
Location: P.O. Box 26, Wilmington, MA 01887
Email: [email protected]
6. Bridge Water Farm
Bridge Water Farm is a family-owned and operated business that focuses on providing people with farm supplies. They also sell live poultry, including chickens. You can place an order a few weeks before Easter as that is the only time of the year they sell the chicks. They are not NPIP-certified and you can contact them for more details about the breeds and shipping.
Location: 1000 Plymouth St, Bridgewater, MA 02324
7. Heavenly Hydrangea Silkie Farm
This is an NPIP-certified and AI-tested farm that specializes in breeding silkies in a variety of different colors. They ship both live chickens and hatching eggs. You can contact the owner for more information on the availability and prices.
Location: Russell, MA 01071
Email: [email protected]
What To Look For When Buying Chickens In Massachusetts
Buying chickens comes with a lot of choices and decisions. There are so many breeds, colors, and patterns out there so you may feel confused. Here is a short guide on what to look for when buying chickens in Massachusetts.
Alternative Ways Of Buying Chickens
If you cannot find a breed you want in one of the hatcheries in Massachusetts, if none of them are accessible to you, or if you just want to keep your options open, here are some alternative ways of buying chickens.
Check Out Local Farmers
Don’t hesitate to ask around for small, local farmers, or just people who keep chickens as a hobby. Many of them don’t normally sell chicks but would be happy to help you with starting your own flock.
If you are getting your chicks from local farmers, you cannot be sure about the quality of fertilized eggs or birds you get. However, you can observe the environment they grow up in, which can tell you a lot about their potential health.
Good farmers let their chickens free-range and forage food. They also have enough space for all of their furry friends and they don’t keep chickens confined in cages. If you notice that birds are lethargic, kept in small places, or underfed/overfed, you probably want to look somewhere else.
Check Out Online Hatcheries
If you cannot find what you are looking for in local hatcheries or local farmers, consider ordering your chicks online. There are many online hatcheries that send various breeds and hatching eggs all year round.
There is usually a minimum of birds that you have to order, but many of them offer a live guarantee, as well as a sex guarantee, which really comes in handy if you live in a place where no roosters are allowed. You can be one click and a few days away from your new flock!
Check Local Ordinances
Before you get to ordering your new chickens, you need to check if you can keep them at your property. Many parts of Massachusetts allow keeping chickens under certain conditions. Here are the ordinances of some of the major cities in this state.
Boston allows keeping chickens. There is no maximum of hens that you can raise, but you are prohibited from raising roosters. In order to have chickens in your backyard, you have to obtain a permit which costs 20$ per year.
Unfortunately, if you live in Cambridge, you are not allowed to keep chickens. This ordinance doesn’t stop people from raising chickens – some take a risk and hope that the neighbors don’t complain, but this is not recommended.
Somerville is one of the cities that lets you keep hens, but not roosters. You are allowed to have up to six chickens, providing that each of them has at least 2 feet square in their coop. You have to follow the City’s Noise Ordinance and no smell can spread from your backyard. You also need to obtain a Chicken License.
If you want to keep chickens in Danvers, you will need to obtain a permit. The ordinance concerning roosters is the same as in the other cities – roosters are strictly prohibited. You need to follow the health code, minimize the noise, and keep your area with chickens clean.
Springfield applies similar rules. You can keep up to six hens while no roosters are allowed. You cannot breed or fertilize them for commercial purposes. Chickens should be kept in a fenced area, and every part of the property needs to be properly maintained and cleaned.
Salem lets you keep up to six chickens with no roosters allowed. A coop should be at least three feet away from other lots on the property and at least 25 feet away from the neighboring areas. The coop itself should not be more than 120 square feet big and you should have a fenced area around it where the birds can securely roam around.
The city of Plymouth allows keeping up to six hens. You are required to apply for a permit that costs 100$ and lasts for two years, after which it should be renewed. A coop with an attached run cannot exceed 120 square feet, while 10 feet is the maximum height. It should also be placed in a rear yard.
Always make sure to check twice with your local authorities for the newest information on the actual law. Sometimes the websites are not properly updated so you can get in trouble unintentionally.
When choosing a breed that is the most suitable for you, it is good to consider the climate of the place you live in. Some chickens don’t stand hot weather, while some are not doing very well in cold areas. Massachusetts is both – it has hot summer and cold winter, so you need some hardy chickens for your flock.
The best chicken breeds are those that originated in the place where you live. In this case, you cannot go wrong with Plymouth Rock, Rhode Island Red, New Hampshire Red, and Wyandotte.
All of these originated in the Eastern part of the USA so they are quite used to the climate in this area. Some other hardy chickens that you can consider getting are Ameraucana, Buff Orpington, Brahmas, Australorp, and Welsummer.
Massachusetts is an optimal state to keep chickens – most of the country allows it and there are many breeds that can withstand this state’s climate well. Check with your local government if you are allowed to raise them, find a preferable way to get them, and you can start enjoying your new pets!
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.