You can get baby chicks at your local feed store or through your local poultry association, but you might want to order them online through a chick hatchery or supplier. If you go the online route, you can choose from a more comprehensive array of poultry breeds. Also, you can specify your order by sex, in case you only want to purchase hens or roosters.
Besides chickens, online hatcheries also offer turkeys, geese, guinea, ducks, and more. Make sure you read the fine print, some of the prices look attractive but require a minimum order of a larger quantity than some other companies. Some offer free shipping, while others only ship several times a year.
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Cackle Hatchery is located in Lebanon, Missouri, and offers more than 200 varieties of poultry, including egg layers, meat birds, bantams, turkeys, ducks, geese, game fowl, rare breeds, Standard Old English, guineas, peafowl, and more. Their minimum is three chickens during chick season from February to September. You can order fewer, but that comes at an additional shipping fee.
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Freedom Ranger Hatchery is a small, family-owned and operated hatchery in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch Country that supplies slow-growing broiler chickens, ducks, and geese to small farms and organic, free-range, and pastured poultry operations. Their chicken breed, Freedom Ranger, is derived from genetic stock from France and harks back to American and European heritage breeds. Although their broilers grow more slowly than typical Cornish crosses used in factory farm operations, they are more suited to pasturing, free-ranging, and other alternative and organic growing methods. The hatchery touts its use of sustainable and environmentally-friendly farming methods. Their chickens are hatched every week, year-round.
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J.M. Hatchery is a small, family-owned hatchery located in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. They began raising their specialty of French Guinea fowl keets in the 1980s and opened the hatchery in the late 1990s. One of the only farms hatching guineas every week, they currently only sell guineas and bantam silkies. The minimum order is 15 birds from April 1 to October 31 and 25 birds from November 1 to March 31. They used to hatch all types of poultry, but they split off the chicken business to the Freedom Ranger Hatchery and the duck lines to the Fifth Day Farm. Their children run those hatcheries.
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Started in 1985, Meyer Hatchery, located in Polk, Ohio, offers 160 breeds of poultry including chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, guineas, peafowl, and game birds, plus a full line of feed and supplies. They were pioneers in the poultry industry by being one of the first to offer a small minimum order of three chicks, a 48-hour, live-and-well guarantee, 100% gender accuracy guarantee, breed stamping of their hatching eggs, and leg banding for hard to identify rare breeds.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
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In the chicken business since 1917, Murray McMurray has a wide selection of many types of poultry, supplies, and equipment. Their bird selection includes many varieties of chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, pheasant, quail, guineas, partridge, and peafowl. They are one of the larger U.S. hatcheries operating out of a 26,000-square-foot facility in Iowa. They have a six chick minimum.
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My Pet Chicken specializes in small orders for the urban or suburban farmer or homesteader. The company was started by backyard chicken novices in 2005, who had successfully started their flock and became the experts of urban chicken keeping. You can order as few as three chicks, and you can mix breeds. They even sell chicken diapers, saddles, and no-crow rooster collars. They sell fertile hatching eggs, chicken supplies like coops (including the Eglu), electric net fencing, and more.
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Privett Hatchery, located in Portales, New Mexico, was established in 1960. Privett offers a wide variety of chicks as well as bantams, ducklings, goslings, Guinea keets, and turkey poults. They require a minimum order of 25 chicks; otherwise, there is an additional shipping service fee. They guarantee 100% live delivery and in good condition. Since 2000, they test their birds for avian influenza (AI), and the results are always negative.
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Several generations of the Stromberg family have been running this hatchery and supply business since 1921. Stromberg's offers more than 200 varieties of birds, including chicks, doves, pigeons, adult birds, brooders, ducks, geese, swans, pheasants, quail, turkey, guinea fowl, and peafowl. Headquartered in Minnesota, they have five other locations in Florida, California, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Kentucky. They also sell birdhouses, building systems for coops, books, equipment, and supplies for breeding and rearing poultry. There are no order minimums; you must pay for shipping fees under $100. However, there are often promotions for a simple, flat-rate shipping fee for orders under $100.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
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Located in Bancroft, Iowa, and established in 1929, the Welp Hatchery sells egg layers, meat birds, rare breeds, bantams, turkeys, ducks, goslings, pheasants, guineas, and chukar partridges. The hatchery specializes in Cornish rock broiler chickens and ships from shipping points in Iowa, New Mexico, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, depending on the poultry type. They sell supplies and equipment, too. The hatchery requires a minimum order of 25 chicks and five per breed per sex. Minimums ensure the birds stay warm and prevent them from shifting around throughout the shipping process.
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In business since 1937, Ideal Poultry is a family-owned hatchery located in Cameron, Texas, that ships 5 million chicks per year. They hatch and ship chicks year-round. They sell rare white and brown egg layers and broilers, as well as bantams, ducks, geese, turkey, pheasant, and guineas. They have a minimum order of $30 worth of poultry. They guarantee 100% live delivery. The shipment includes males and females together; the males keep the females warm. You may purchase heat packs or extra straw if you specify that you do not want to have males included in your order.