Sourcing Chickens: How and Where to Buy Chickens

March 12, 2024 | Molly Sutton

Whether you are new to raising chickens or are looking to expand your existing flock, you may have questions about where to source chickens for your backyard or farm! Below is a list of common places to purchase or find free chickens.

Follow these tips when deciding where to buy chickens!

Make sure to check out these related articles:

There are many options for sourcing chickens for your farm or backyard. This list is meant to help you find the best option in your area and needs!

Where to find chickens for sale or trade:

1. Feed Store (Tractor Supply, C-A-L Ranch, Local Feed Store, Etc.)

These stores ship chicks in multiple times a year (they will be happy to give you a schedule!), or you can order through the store if you do not want to purchase a minimum from the hatchery.

Feed stores typically have lower minimums than hatcheries.

Ordering chicks may take 1-3 weeks to arrive at the store, but is a great option if you would like to order vaccinated chicks.

Check community boards at these locations for people selling chicks.

Willing to take "leftover" chicks?

  • Talk with the manager at your store and let them know you are willing to take any leftover or sick chicks. Sometimes these chicks will be given to you at a discounted or free rate.
  • We recommend this for experienced chicken owners only, as some health issues can be compilated for a beginner to treat.

2. Hatchery

You can Google a hatchery in your area for pickup, or mail order chicks and eggs. Try asking friends on social media for hatchery recommendations in your area.

Typically, hatcheries require minimum orders of 10 chicks to keep them warm during shipping.

Hatcheries we recommend:

Chicken Math:

The phenomenon where

1 chicken + 1 chicken = 4 chickens

Chicken math is a common term among chicken keepers used to describe their addition to raising chickens. Sometimes, there are good reasons for it!

Say you plan to add 2 chickens to your flock of a specific breed. You go to the feed store and find they require a minimum of 4 to be purchased. Now, those two chickens have turned into 4 chickens!

 

To help avoid bringing home unplanned chickens, make sure you shop with a list going into feed stores in the spring. Only buy chickens when you are prepared with a brooder and chicken coop that has enough space to house your new furry friends!

3. Facebook Groups and Blogs

Join a rehoming, farm, or chicken group on Facebook for your area. People often list chicks for sale, rehome chickens, or could suggest reputable sources in your area.

Backyard Chickens Blog has some great threads for this!

  • Search by breed, “Rehoming Chickens”, or “Chickens for Sale”

Where to buy chickens

We highly recommend against purchasing chicks from a pet store. They are often not healthy.

4. Trusted Farms and Friends

Do you know people who raise chickens? Ask them if you can purchase chickens of various ages. Especially if they have a rooster! You can purchase fertilized eggs, chicks, pullets/cockerels, laying hens and roosters.

Some farms breed backyard chickens but are not considered a “hatchery,” so check around!

Chickens are social animals!

Many sellers require multiples of chickens to be purchased at a time, either because they have a higher survival rate, or they do not want single chicks left over. It is always a good plan to buy chickens in pairs or higher multiples, especially of the same breed, similar size or age to ensure your hens have the best chance of survival.

5. Farm Animal Auctions

You can find all sorts of chickens at poultry auctions, where individuals come to sell poultry. Sometimes you can buy chickens at a discounted rate from a feed store or hatchery. Often, chickens will be grouped either by breed or quantity. You don’t have to buy a lot of chickens though! Often, you can purchase as little as 3-5 chickens, comparable to a feed store.

A simple google search will help you find poultry auctions in your area. A great resource is PoultryShowCentral.com where you can search auctions by state.

6. Schools

Some classes hatch chicks in the spring and need to find homes for the chicks.

Schools looking to source chickens:

  • If you are a school looking to have chicks donated, check with local 4-H groups for eggs to incubate (which sometimes means the chicks will go back to the 4-H program).
  • Farms, feed stores, hatcheries and individuals are usually happy to donate 4-8 chickens for your classroom if you ask.

Do you have questions about sourcing chickens in your area?

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