So you want to raise some chickens in your backyard for your family.  You’ve built a coop, watched YouTube videos, and read my post about processing chickens in your driveway while innocent tourists cycle by, and you’re ready to get started on your own home-grown food adventure.

So where do you get cute, fuzzy baby chicks from, anyway?

Baby chick.

Being born and raised a city-girl this was an interesting question for me.  I’d certainly never seen any for sale anywhere.  I’d never even ever heard of anyone that had chicks for sale anywhere.  Trust me, they don’t carry them at 7-11.  And everything I read kept talking about ordering them from a catalog.

Now surely you can’t just order baby chicks by mail, right?

I mean, they don’t just stick them in a shoe box and drop them in the mailbox, right?

There’s more to this…right?

Not really, folks.

Who knew you could mail live animals?

You can request a catalog–or these days just go online–place your order like you were ordering a book from Amazon and get your shipping date.

Catalog cover from Murray McMurray Hatchery, Iowa.

We’ve ordered from McMurray Hatchery in Iowa and and Mt. Healthy Hatcheries in Ohio now.  All you do is place your order, give them your credit card number, and they email you when the chicks are shipped.

A day later I got a call at 7:14 am from our little town post office saying they had them for me and did I want to come pick them up at the back door before they opened, please, because they were cold and were peeping to beat the band.

Our local Post Office.

The nice Post Office ladies had covered them with a towel and kindly handed them off to me.

Day old chicks in shipping box. 2010.

The hatcheries send you specific instructions on taking care of them with your shipping confirmation, including heat lamps, feed, water, and vitamin supplements.  If you don’t know what you’re doing, just do exactly what they tell you.  If you do know what you’re doing, it’s probably because you’re doing exactly what they told you.

Day old Buff Orpington chicks under a heat lamp. May 2010.

I’ve been totally astonished at the whole process.  At how easy it was.  I mean, it took me four months and 3 reams of paper to adopt my poor, stray dog–while I was working at a vet’s office!  Here I am getting live, day old animals shipped to me in a shoebox with holes punched in it and covered with coffee filter paper and I don’t have to sign anything, they don’t check your id, you don’t have to provide references…nothing.  (By the way, I’m exaggerating–about the shoebox and coffee filters part, anyway.)

So we just ordered our next batch of broilers, estimated shipping date of July 14th.  We’ll keep you posted!

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Mail Order Chicks — 2 Comments

  1. Unbelievable! Who knew. I guess it today’s time, you can buy anything as long as you have a credit card and an address. I look forward to seeing them grow…then become dinner?!

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