So, where is the best place to buy chicks? My answer is “It depends on why you want to buy chicks”.
- Are you starting a brand new flock of chickens?
- Do you have an existing flock that you want to add a few new chicks to?
- How many chicks do you want?
- Do you want to a specific breed of chicks?
There are obviously more reasons than the ones I listed about but they are a good place to start a discussion on where is the best place to buy chicks.
The best place to buy chicks in large numbers or in pre-sexed groups is online. There are chicken hatcheries like California Hatchery that you can get catalogues from or go online and place an order. If you are starting a brand new flock of chickens, you first need to know how many you have the room to keep. The California Hatchery will let you order as few as 3 chicks which is unusual because you usually have to order at least 24 chics from most places.
Advantages and disadvantages of buying chicks online are:
- Large selection of bird breeds.
- Birds can be sexed with about 99% certainty.
- Birds are usually guaranteed.
- Ability to purchase large numbers of birds which is both good and bad.
- Birds are shipped to local post office and have to be picked up.
If you are only looking to buy a small number of chicks, one of the best places to do that is to look locally. I have found a number of people online on Craigs List where I can go to get a few chicks.
Advantages and disadvantages of buying chicks locally:
- You can get a few chicks instead of having to buy two dozen or more.
- Buying locally allows you to meet the person you get the chicks from.
- Selection may be limited.
- It is possible that the birds are not purebred which may be a problem for some people.
- Since it is not a large commercial operation, the birds may or may not be vaccinated.
The best place to buy chicks is something you will have to do some research on. There are a lot of options out there for buying birds and you have to know what you want before you begin this process.
I have purchased birds locally and online through a hatchery and have not had any problems with either. The biggest problem that I had was when the birds were shipped to my local post office and someone forgot to call me. This was disastrous for the chicks.
I would strongly recommend that if you order chicks via mail, be sure and warn your local post office that they are coming. Make sure they have all of your contact information and make sure that you know exactly where to go to pick them up.
Update: The Kentucky State Fair has started here and I have learned that at the end of the exhibit time, many of the animals are either sold or given away. You may be able to visit the local fair in your area and get some very unique chickens to ad to your flock! Here is a great article on chicken fair hygiene.