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How to Get Baby Chicks

Chicken or the egg? So you are ready to be a Chicken Mom or Dad! Get your brooder box supplies and build your coop first. These babies grow fast. Here are a few ways to start your fowl family.

1. Hatch Your Own: If you are really brave, you can get fertilized eggs and an incubator and spend the next 21 days completely absorbed in those little oval miracles. It is time consuming, but an absolute marvel. You have to monitor the temperature, rotate the eggs and check for duds. The payoff, getting to watch your family peck their way into your hearts. If this sounds like the right path for you, check out these resources:

Incubator - Getting one with an accurate temperature control and auto rotation takes a little of the guess work out of it. They range in size, but for a backyard flock, up to 12 is plenty. You can figure on a 80% hatch rate for the chickens. And unless you can keep several roosters, be prepared to say goodbye to the boys. This one is pretty inexpensive and won't take up too much counter space.

Candling - You need to check the progress (or lack of) to make sure the chicks are developing. Start at Day 5 and check every few days until Day 18. You should start to see movement by then and no longer handle them. To avoid exploding non viable eggs, make sure you know what to look for. If you don't, this might not be the route for you.

You can get a cheap candling gadget on Amazon:


2. If It Fits, It Ships!: You can have baby chicks mailed to you. No, seriously. A lot of chicken keepers swear by the mail order chicks. You can get more variety, they tend to be sexed, and a lot of times you might get a bonus chick! Meyer Hatchery is a well known company with lots of different feathered friends to choose from. Wait til warmer weather to prevent exposure to low temperature. Because the baby chicks eat part of the yolk sack hatching, they can survive for up to 72 hours without food or water. Who says the mail is nothing but bills and junk flyers?


3. Local Feed Store: Check with your neighborhood feed store. They typically have chicks in the spring. They will usually sell sexed chickens and you can pick up supplies while you are there. My fav spot is TriKee Tack. I get to look at the horses next door as an added bonus.


4. Craiglist: Always a gamble, always an adventure. I got my first chickens from a family farm off Craigslist. I ended up with a rooster, but I wouldn't change a thing! Good luck, brave souls. Here's a video of their arrival:


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