How Cold is Too Cold for Chickens?

No matter how experienced you are in raising chickens, as the mercury begins to drop you might start second-guessing yourself and wondering, “how cold is too cold for chickens?”

This is a concern raised by people who love raising chickens everywhere, but especially those who live in cold, unforgiving climates. Luckily, chickens are pretty hardy creatures and can withstand the bitter cold much better than you might think. 

There are some conditions you’ll want to keep in mind, of course. For example, some chicken breeds aren’t as adept at withstanding the cold as others. There are certain precautions you can take, too, to help your birds shed the cold and continue to stay healthy, even when you’re trying to get through the winter without electricity.

Here’s what you need to know. 

How Cold is Too Cold For Your Chickens?

how cold is too cold for chickens with snow

Your chickens are tougher than you might think. In fact, even though they aren’t wearing big, puffy coats like us in the wintertime, they have natural defenses and conditions against the cold that can keep them warm. 

Chickens have several types of feathers. There are wispy feathers and plumage feathers. The plumage feathers are the colored ones that are easiest to see when you quickly glance at your birds. The wispy feathers are similar to down in that they stick tightly to the skin and keep chickens warm, essentially creating an airtight barrier. 

Not only that, but chickens also have high metabolisms. They have higher resting temperatures than we do. While a human stays around 98 degrees, chickens are closer to 105 to 109 degrees Fahrenheit. Plus, their hearts beat a lot faster than hours – up to 400 beats per minute. This helps your birds stay warm even when you’re running toward the woodstove.

Depending on the breed, most chickens can survive inside an unheated, uninsulated coop at cool temperatures that are well below freezing. There’s no hard and fast number on how cold is too cold for chickens, since there are so many variables that affect a chicken’s cold hardiness. Here are a few.

Breed

Some chicken breeds are naturally better at shaking the cold than others. Usually, chickens that are heavy and large will be better at staying warm. Some of the best breeds for winter weather include:

  • Barred Rocks
  • Salmon Faverolles
  • New Hampshire Reds
  • Rhode Island Reds
  • Wyandottes
  • Jersey Giants
  • Australorps
  • Welsummers
  • Sussex
  • Orpingtons
  • Barred Rocks 
  • Delawares
  • Brahmas

Cold-hardy chicken breeds are those that have high body fat and don’t have any areas of exposed skin. Similarly, frizzles (or curly feathers) along with feathered feet can make chickens more sensitive to the cold. Therefore, you’ll want to avoid breeds like Silkies, which don’t dry out easily in cold, wet weather or when there is a draft in the coop.

Weather Conditions 

It can be tough to determine how cold your chickens can get because it’s not just the temperature you’ll need to keep an eye on. In fact, chickens tend to be more sensitive to humidity and moisture than actual cold. 

In almost all cases, chickens will handle dry, cold weather better than wet, cold weather. This is especially true if your coop has a tendency to hold moisture. A driving wind can also lower the ambient temperature and make it more difficult for your chickens to stay warm, too.

Age and Life Stage

Finally, consider how old your chickens are (and whether they are in any particular stage of life that would make them more sensitive to the cold).

For example, young birds and those who are molting may not have as many feathers to withstand the cold. You’ll need to take a few extra steps to keep them warmer during unusually cold weather. You can read more about the ideal outdoor temperature for baby chicks here.

How to Help Your Chickens Stay Warm 

purebred chicken walking through snow in cold

Avoid a Heater

The number one tip to remember when helping your chickens stay warm is that nine times out of ten, they do not need a heater.

Heaters are problematic for several reasons. First, with all that bedding, you’re inviting a fire. Chickens do not need a heater because they will huddle up together on a cold night to stay warm. A well-ventilated coop with plenty of fresh bedding (and a proper ratio of roost bars to chickens) is all your birds need. 

Another issue with a heater is that, if the power goes out (or when your chickens venture outside) they will suffer from the fluctuation in temperature. Your chickens don’t have a hard time acclimating to the cold when it’s always cold out -but when they can’t adjust to sudden swings, that’s when health problems arise.

As long as your coop is well-ventilated, it doesn’t need to be insulated, either. In fact, too much insulation can be detrimental because it makes it difficult for moisture to escape. Believe it or not, chickens release a lot of moisture when they breathe, so a too-tight coop can lead to moisture build-up in the coop. This will chill your chickens much faster than the cold weather will. 

The same goes for heating pads. One member of the Chicken Vet Corner group writes:

Heating pads raise humidity, increasing the chances of frostbite, and make temperature differences inside the coop verses outside the coop harder for the chickens to deal with. Unless you have -30 degrees or colder weather, don’t even use them

Susan Toler

Try Deep Litter

Deep litter is a method of bedding that allows bedding material and chicken manure to build up over the year. By winter, you’ll have a foot or more of composting material on the floor of the coop. As you probably already know if you have a compost bin, the composting bedding will give off heat and will warm the coop naturally. You can clean it out come spring.

One tip for the deep litter method – don’t neglect the nest boxes. Although your chickens should do just fine with a bit of built-up litter, the nesting boxes still should be changed out on a regular basis. Consider adding some nesting herbs like these, while you’re at it!

Feed at Night

Take extra care to feed your chickens at night during particularly cold spells. If you give them high-energy, high-protein foods, like cracked corn or seeds, they’ll stay warmer overnight as their stomachs work to digest the food. 

An occasional treat like sunflower seeds is a great way to help your chickens build their body heat and raise their body temperatures to withstand cold temperatures with ease. It’s not a bad idea to up the food intake of your chickens and provide extra feed during this time, anyway.

Consider providing your chickens with some high-energy treats inside the coop at night, like these mealworms. Your hens will go crazy for them! Just make sure you feed any kind of treat in a container rather than on the ground – this can help you prevent parasites.

Keep Them Occupied

Make sure your chickens are kept entertained during the day – the activity will boost their metabolisms even further, helping to keep the hens warm. Ideally, you should let your chickens out of the coop to roam around during the day, but you might find that, when it’s super snowy, your chickens don’t want to venture outside (although the cold does not bother them, they aren’t fond of walking in heavy snowpack). 

If your chickens can’t be encouraged to go outside in cold conditions, consider hanging a head of cabbage by some twine in the coop. This will entertain your chickens on the darkest days of winter.

Harness the Power of the Sun 

Consider adding a sunroom to your coop. You can do this in several ways. 

A coop with plenty of natural lighting is best, as this will help warm the coop during the day (and the coop will hang on to some radiant heat at night, too). You can also build a cold frame-style addition to your chicken coop or run by covering a section with clear, heavy-duty plastic. Basic tarps should work, too.

This will give your chickens somewhere to relax in the sun during the day – and as a side bonus, it will usually stay free of snow, too. It also offers a shelter against intense winds.

Don’t Forget the Roosts

Chickens don’t need a heater! Again, they just need a place to perch. The key to warm chickens is a good roost set-up. The roosts will not only keep chickens off the cold ground (ideally, two to three feet off the ground) but they will also allow the birds to huddle together. When chickens are able to roost properly, they’ll be able to use their feathers and bodies to cover up their cold-sensitive feet, too. 

Guard Against Frostbite

As long as your chicken coop is well-ventilated, you shouldn’t have to worry about frostbite. However, in the coldest winter climates, some breeds of chickens who have large wattles and combs may develop frostbite. Luckily, it’s nothing serious – it will just cause some discoloration on these parts of your birds. 

However, you can protect against it by dabbing some petroleum jelly on the wattles and combs. It forms a moisture-resistant barrier. 

Plan for Laying Declines

Your hens’ laying patterns will naturally decline during the winter – that is only to be expected. It is caused not only by a reduction in natural daylight hours but also the fact that your chickens are spending more calories on staying warm than they are on producing eggs. 

If you’re really concerned about a drop in egg production, you can add a light to the chicken coop. This is really only for your benefit, though – the chickens don’t necessarily need it. 

One tip – if your laying decline continues past the extreme cold weather, you may want to give your girls a boost by adding some egg-production nesting herbs to the nesting boxes. Here’s a great option – the girls are sure to love them!

Fresh Water is Essential

Your chickens will naturally eat a bit more during the winter months, since they don’t have access to fresh forage and they need to eat just to stay warm, too. Make sure they have consistent access to feed and remember – without water, the feed is pointless.

One of the biggest challenges of raising chickens during the winter is having to deal with frozen waterers. Consider using waterers with heated bases to help prevent the waterers from freezing even in below freezing temperatures. Don’t forget to refill often – eight chickens need at least a gallon of water per day. 

You can use heated livestock containers or even make do with simple swaps, like heated dog water bowls.

Should I Insulate the Chicken Coop?

Your chicken coop does not need to be air tight, nor do you need to worry about stacking straw bales around the outside. Extra modifications aren’t needed.

In most cases, as long as your chickens are well bedded and have each other to rely on to keep the flock mates warm, no extra insulation is needed. It’s your personal decision, of course, whether you want to take this step in preparing your chickens for winter but most of the time, it’s unnecessary.

A coop that is bundled up too tight can lead to extra problems. Too much insulation can trap air and lead to problems like frostbite and moldy bedding. Airflow is key. Do your best to eliminate drafts and reduce excess moisture, but otherwise, no other steps are necessary.

What About Sick or Injured Chickens and the Cold Weather?

The one exception to chickens in cold weather has to do with those who are sick or injured.

No matter what kinds of chickens you are raising, even one of the most cold hardy breeds, it’s important that you exercise some common sense and bring your chickens inside if they are suffering from some sort of physical or health issue.

You don’t need to snuggle up in bed next to your favorite hen or rooster, of course, but you can bring them into the garage or another area with some supplemental heat until they recover.

Remember, baby chicks also need to be kept indoors under supplemental heat until they are old enough to be outside.

Plus, if you have a sick bird, you really shouldn’t have it hosued with the entire flock, anyway. This can spread disease and make it more likely that your sick bird will be picked on.

Chickens in Winter: They’re More Cold-Hardy Than You Think!

too cold for chicken outside of coop

When it comes to raising chickens during the winter, you’ve got to give them some credit – they’re tougher than you might think! And they’re a lot tougher than humans without any extra heat for sure.

In fact, one member of the Chicken Vet Corner group writes:

I live in Ontario and have never ever heated my coop in any way, it is not insulated and there’s a 1×1 completely open window covered in hardware mesh in it…. even in the dead of winter my birds don’t get frostbite. I find heat lamps or heat of any kind don’t let the birds become adjusted to the cold and gives them a much worse chance of frost bite.

You also have to think of the shock that a power outage might cause… The only important things are providing wide roosts that their toes don’t wrap around, lots of ventilation and a fairly small sized coop for the number of birds in it. Moisture is the enemy, not cold. Too many heat sources cause unnecessary moisture.

Annie Page

While there will be some extra work involved when you are raising chickens during the winter, ultimately, the stress will be on you and not on them. Collect eggs a few more times during the day and make sure the waterers stay thawed out. Otherwise, your chickens will hardly even know that it’s winter outside!

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How to Fix a Broken Beak

A broken beak is a problem that no chicken owner wants to deal with – but unfortunately, knowing how to fix a broken beak is a skill that all chicken keepers should have in their back pockets.

Chickens are similar to humans in that their beaks grow a lot like fingernails. These birds can “file down” their beaks, or so to speak, with actions like preening and wiping their beaks on objects. 

Just like humans with their fingernails, each chicken has its own unique beak, too. Some chickens grow beaks that are long and elegant, while others have beaks that are short and stubby. 

Unfortunately, just like human fingernails, bird beaks can (and often do) break. Therefore, it’s essential that you know how to fix a broken beak – and how to best care for your chickens in the process. 

Here are some tips.

All About Chicken Beaks

Before you can help a hen with a broken beak, it’s important to understand some basic anatomy.

A chicken’s beak is made out of keratin, an insoluble protein that is known for its toughness. It is the same protein that helps make up horns, antlers, hooves, and, for us humans, fingernails.

Each chicken’s beak is comprised of two parts – the upper portion is the maxillary rostrum, while the bottom is the mandibular rostrum.

Beaks are constantly growing, but only the beak itself and not its bony framework. The bones in a chicken’s beak are connected to the skull. The tip of the beak contains nerve endings and blood vessels, which makes it sensitive to pain.

As you probably already know, chickens use their beaks for all sorts of tasks, from eating to grooming and even for balance.

What Causes a Beak to Become Broken?

chickens fighting can cause broken beaks

Chickens use their beaks as tools, and like all tools, they can become broken. Most chickens use their beaks like they would use their hands, if they had them, so it’s no surprise that they can easily become worn down. They use their beaks for everything from eating to grasping, exploring to grooming. 

Chickens even use their beaks to communicate!

Minor beak injuries are incredibly common. Chickens can obtain injured beaks from fighting with predators, engaging in squabbles with other chickens, or even getting them stuck in hard objects, like between the slats in hardware cloth fencing. 

Chickens can also injure their beaks from some of the following behaviors:

  • Collisions
  • Fighting
  • Grooming
  • Digging
  • Exploring
  • Eating

How to Prevent Beak Injury

If you’re worried about your chickens developing broken beaks, you should do whatever you can to prevent a beak injury in the first place.

Most of the time, chickens injure their beaks via interactions with other chickens. Often this is due to fighting, the likelihood of which can be reduced by making sure your chickens have plenty of food, water, and space to roam.

How to Fix a Broken Beak

chickens eating from a trough can cause broken beak

Your first step in fixing the cracked beak of your chicken is to examine the extent of the damage. Beak injuries can be as severe as complete removal or severing of the beak or as minor as a simple chip. Often, if it’s just a tiny chip you’re dealing with, you may not have to do anything at all. 

If your chicken has a more significant or traumatic beak injury, you’ll know that you need to address it because your chicken is suffering extreme pain. Your chicken might not be eating or drinking normally, which can of course threaten its ability to gain weight, maintain weight, and survive. 

If it’s just a minor crack, feel free to leave the cracked beak alone. Often, a tiny crack will grow out and repair itself over time. However, more severe cracks sometimes need to be stabilized and splinted. Ideally, you should call in a veterinarian to help you out, but the reality is that there are not that many veterinarians who specialize in chickens in most areas of the country.

Therefore, you should be prepared to render any first-aid necessary to help your chicken out.

Engage in Regular Beak Maintenance

For the most part, chickens will take care of their beaks on their own – you won’t have to do a single thing. Your chickens will care for their own beaks via actions like preening (which help prevents issues like chicken mites), picking up rocks, and engaging in other activities.

If you keep your chickens in an enclosed run and do not allow them to free range, you may want to provide them with hard objects like rocks to help them hone their beaks. Grit is also essential.

Some chickens develop beaks that grow abnormally. Also referred to as scissor beaks, these beaks require assistance when it comes to maintaining their shape and length. 

Have a First Aid Kit on Hand

It’s a good idea to have a well-stocked first-aid kit on hand regardless of your chicken flock’s overall size and wellbeing.

You’ll want to keep some of the following items on hand with special regard to beak care:

  • Vetericyn Poultry Care Spray
  • Tweezers or forceps 
  • Superglue
  • Cotton swabs
  • Old towels
  • Bloodstop powder or spray (such as Blu-Kote)
  • Nail clippers
  • Pain medication

One unique first aid kit item you might also want to keep on hand is a plain tea bag – you’ll learn more about why in a moment. 

Another item that might be helpful? Herbs. You can buy some herbs for chickens here, which will provide your chickens with some of the nutrients they need to recover in an all-natural way.

Clean the Area Thoroughly – Then It’s Time for Surgery

If you notice a hen with a broken beak, your first step is going to be to clean the area thoroughly. The worst thing you can do is to allow dirt and bacteria to get inside the wound. As you clean the wound with poultry care spray, you are going to want to be extremely gentle – that tissue is sensitive. 

As you work, you can keep you calm by wrapping her in a towel with her wings secured by her side. She won’t be able to flap her wings or injure herself more in this fashion.

If there are any rough edges where the beak has broken, you may need to use a nail file to smooth them out. Otherwise, it’s the tea bag to the rescue.

Use your teabag to help create a salve. You need to empty the contents of the packet and cut a small patch from the bag that’s just slightly larger than the torn area of the beak. Using your pair of tweezers, you can put some superglue gel on the patch. Align the broken piece of beak and put the glue patch over it. Make sure no rough or jagged edges remain.

Once the first outer layer of glue dries, you can apply a second layer of glue over it with a cotton swab. Let that dry completely, too.

This remedy works great on minor cracked beaks and cracks but be cautious about using too much superglue gel, as it can be irritating to birds. Do not let the glue touch any exposed tissue or get into the bird’s mouth. 

If the beak looks incredibly dirty or infected when you discover your hen, you may want to delay the glue-sealing process. This can seal in bacteria that will make your chicken incredibly sick. Instead, clean the area and apply disinfectant. Once you’ve taken care of the infection, you can fix her beak.

Helping a Hen With Exposed Beak Tissue

If your hen has a beak injury that is so severe that she has exposed beak tissue, you may need to get a bit more creative in your approach.

If you notice bright red blood, you will want to make sure the tissue is no longer red and swollen before you do anything else. Use some Vetericyn spray to keep the wound clean and keep your hen away from the flock for a few days. Apply the wound cleaner as often as possible. 

Another tip – if you don’t have any Vetericyn, you can use some hydrogen peroxide or Blu-Kote. 

Just avoid using superglue on a beak that has exposed tissue. It will really hurt your hen.

If you find that your hen is missing only a portion of the beak, keep pressure on it to cut off blood supply loss until you can get your chicken into a veterinarian. Often, the use of acrylic beka prosthetics or splints will be necessary.

Caring for a Hen With a Broken Beak

Once you’ve mended the beak of your hen, you need to take a few extra steps to make sure she gets back to feeling 100%. For starters, you will want to keep her away from the rest of the flock. This will avoid further injury and also prevent other birds from picking on her.

If the wound involves blood, this tip is going to be doubly true – chickens will pick on each other if they notice any exposed blood supply and this can kill your chicken. Some chickens even engage in cannibalistic behavior when given the opportunity.

Instead, wait until the wound is undetectable before returning your hen to the flock. Watch the wound carefully over the next few months to make sure the beak heals completely. Usually, your chicken will be able to return to her natural behaviors, honing her own beak without dislodging the crack. 

In some cases, the injury may be extreme enough to warrant the use of antibiotics or anti-inflammatories. These must be prescribed by a veterinarian. 

Caring for your hen will, more or less, be the same after the beak injury.

Feeding Chickens With Beak Injuries

Do not drastically alter the diet of your hen – adding in foods or any kinds of supplements that your chickens are not used to can make your chicken feel thrown off-guard and unhealthy. 

Instead, consider providing your chicken with a natural feed on a regular basis. You can find a good option here that will keep your birds happy and healthy at all times.

You may, however, find that your hen has a hard time picking up pieces of food. You might need to switch to a mash and add some water. It should be the consistency of grits. Replace and clean the dish every few hours to prevent the growth of mold. Of course, providing plenty of fresh, clean water is also essential.

Will A Cracked Beak Heal Itself?

hen with broken beak watching flock

In many cases, a cracked beak will heal itself – but only if you provide your chicken with the TLC she needs to recover.

One final tip? Know what you can do in the event of an emergency that you cannot treat yourself. Often, veterinarian care is necessary when it comes to treating broken beaks. While veterinarians can be tough to find, it would behoove you to have veterinarian contact information on hand long before you need it.

Fortunately, broken beaks aren’t usually fatal for chickens – as long as you can catch and treat them early. Stay vigilant!

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Best Hatcheries to Buy Sultan Chickens

A good sultan is hard to find. Since the 1550s, the title has belonged to Muslim sovereigns, and the tradition has carried through the centuries into the present day. Though they have largely become individuals of lore, there still exist certain areas in the Middle East and Africa where the honorific endures. The news and other worldly outlets are hard pressed to find stories of them. Look hard enough, and you will. 

Sultan chickens are quite similar to sultan humans: a challenge to find. Perhaps one of the reasons for this is their role: they are almost completely owned as show chickens. Many chicken breeds are layers, good as broilers, or even dual-purpose, which is a blend of both uses. Any certified breed can also be a show chicken, strutting its stuff of the catwalk (roostwalk?), but Sultan are pretty much limited to the latter.

These incredible birds look as if they have been bred specifically for the show ring. Their heads are completely covered in feathers in such a way that they poof; it’s like a permanent pompadour rising up over their eyes and sometimes foofing up into a ball or collapsing down their faces, like a part in a willow tree. The special feathering culminates in a wonderful spread of tail feathers and down their legs.

Due to being a smaller breed, Sultan Chickens aren’t ideal for meat and are poor layers, offering a bounty of between 50 and 70 eggs per year. Besides their splendid appearances, one of their main strengths is their friendly and affable personalities. If you’re looking for a lovely bird to add to your family, look no further than a Sultan Chicken! 

To aid in your quest for one, we’ve compiled a list of 9** hatcheries that offer Sultan Chickens for you. 

** And a bonus of sorts. 

1. Murray McMurray Hatchery

Average Straight-Run Sultan Chicken Price: $6.26

Murray McMurray started his chicken business in 1917. As a banker, he sold his chicks to locals through the bank and by 1919, he had developed his own stock of chickens. During the Great Depression, he devoted himself to chickens full time. Since then, Murray McMurray Hatchery has developed into one of the largest chick hatcheries in the country. They sell more than just chickens, with ducks, geese, guineas, turkeys, other fowl and game birds all in the catalogue.

Advantages:

  • Males are extremely inexpensive.
  • Bulk discounts available.
  • Excellent breed availability. 

Disadvantages:

  • Minimum order of six birds at a time.

2.California Hatchery

Average Straight-Run Sultan Chicken Price: $6.99

Nestled in the hills outside of Los Angeles, California Hatchery is making a name for themselves as an online resource for chickens, ducks, and goslings. They are proud to offer day-old ducklings nearly every day of the year! This is great for their backyard duck enthusiasts. While availability of their chickens isn’t quite as high as their ducks, they do ensure that their chicks can be shipped anywhere in the USA, which is certainly a plus for chicken enthusiasts! 

Advantages

  • Low minimum shipping numbers which can be mixed and matched. 
  • Safe arrival guarantee for replacement or reimbursement. 
  • Reasonable shipping costs. 

Disadvantages

  • Optional Marek’s vaccination is quite expensive. 
  • Service fee on any cancellations shorter than a fortnight. 

3. Meyer Hatchery

Average Straight-Run Sultan Chicken Price: $4.35

Meyer Hatchery is based in Polk, Ohio, and boasts itself as the “premier Poultry Source.” Priding itself on customer service and availability, Meyer Hatchery provides a variety of chicken breeds to meet customer demands for color and diversity. They welcome mixing and matching of breeds of the same poultry type to meet minimum order requirement for safe shipping. To help with orders, they have a calendar of hatchings. 

Meyer has a variety of means of communication, including multiple phone numbers, fax, and email. They also run a blog that covers everything from breeds to plant pairing with chickens, feed, cooking recipes, fowl entertainment, and survival tips.

Advantages

  • Significant discounts if buying male chickens.
  • Accepts checks and credit cards.
  • Guarantees gender of chicks either through refund or store credit.
  • Optional vaccination.
  • Member of the National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP), and provide NPIP VS Form 9-3 free of charge. 
  • Offer orders of over 100 chicks.

Disadvantages

  • Limited store hours that change with the season.

4. Cackle Hatchery

Average Straight-Run Sultan Chicken Price: $3.50

Cackle Hatchery proudly boasts that they have been hatching and shipping since 1936. A third-generation hatchery based in Missouri, their mission is to provide customers with quality poultry for showing, meat, enjoyment, and eggs. They ship throughout the USA, including Alaska, Puerto Rico, and Hawaii. They offer nearly 200 different types of chickens at all stages. 

Cackle also offers many other kinds of poultry including ducks, water fowl, game birds, turkeys, and other fowl. They are also a good source for supplies and book. 

Advantages 

  • Discounts if you buy male chicks.
  • Vaccinations available.
  • Only need 3 birds to ship (or just one for male birds).

Disadvantages 

  • Limited availability. 
  • Sold as baby chicks only.

5. Stromberg’s

Average Straight-Run Sultan Chicken Price: $4.85

Stromberg’s Chicks and Game Birds Unlimited has quite the name! It is appropriate, because they have a selection of birds to match the ambition of their name, with over 200 breeds available to their customers. This impressive family business got its start when Ernest and Josephine Stromberg brought 100 White Leghorn chicks to supplement the family income. Whatever they did must have worked wonders, because 99 years later (as of 2020), they are still going strong! In addition to livestock, Stromberg’s Publishing Company offers a number of books on poultry, poultry-related subjects, and myriad educational bulletins, all of which help make Stromberg’s an excellent source of all your fowl needs. 

The first farm was located in Doge, Iowa, but have since moved their headquarters to Hackensack, Minnesota. Including Hackensack, they ship from all locations:  Woodland, CA; Wilkes-Barre, PA; Marshall, TX; Winter Haven, FL, and Clarkson, KY.

Advantages

  • 13% discount offered on orders of 30 or more!
  • Free shipping on orders of $100 or more. 
  • Chicks are shipped immediately upon hatching. 

Disadvantages

  • Minimum orders of 5 chicks. 
  • Alaska residents suffer additional shipping costs and no live bird guarantee on orders shipped there.

6. My Pet Chicken

Average Straight-Run Sultan Chicken Price: $4.35

My Pet Chicken got started in 2005 by Traci Torres and her husband, Derek Sasaki, two novices to the chicken world who had a dream to help other novices in their farmers’ goals. To do this, the put free how-to information on the web and offered some unique products and services. 

The website launched in 2005 and in 2006, their flock had grown to the point to where they started offering chicks for sale from their headquarters in Monroe, CT. The site has been mentioned in another of publications, and serves tens of millions of page views per year.

Advantages 

  • Offers Marek’s vaccinations on all standard chicks at the click of a button.
  • Consistent hours of operation. 
  • A good source for questions about ordering chickens, chicken care, and about raising chickens.
  • Full refund for any bird that has been incorrectly sexed. 

Disadvantages 

  • Limited availability.
  • Does not have a storefront.

7. The Chick Hatchery

Average Straight-Run Sultan Chicken Price: $4.10

The Chick hatchery is Michigan’s “premier source for superior quality poultry.” With a creed that revolves around the sharing and joy of raising chickens, they operate in no-kill facilities. They raise their chickens humanely, with any unsold chicks going to Amish farms. Much of the experience of raising chickens is the awareness of the individual chicken and the relationship between food and our own health.

Advantages

  • Ships a minimum of 3 of each sex.
  • All poultry guaranteed live delivery.
  • Offers discounts on orders of larger quantities of birds. 

Disadvantages

  • Limited availability – February to September.
  • Does not ship to Hawaii or outside the USA.

8. Ideal Poultry  

Average Straight-Run Sultan Chicken Price: $3.48

From Texas to your home, Ideal Poultry has been providing chicken owners with stock since 1937! At Ideal, their excellent customer service agents seek to provide their clients with everything they might want, from exceptional birds, to smooth and safe shipping, to even supplying answers to any and all question that might be raised about their fantastic fowls! They ship 5 million chicks annually! And that doesn’t even include the variety of non-chicken birds available. 

Advantages

  • Can ship orders exceeding 100 chicks!
  • Easy-access breed availability calendars on the web pages for each breed. 

Disadvantages

  • Expensive optional Marek’s Vaccinations. 
  • No direct access to shipping information on their website.

9. Chickens for Backyards

Average Straight-Run Sultan Chicken Price: $4.25

Chickens for Backyards is an online poultry store that ships orders from Phillipsburg, MO. It sells over 100 breeds of day-old chicks, ducks, geese, turkeys, and guineas with orders as low as three fowl. They have a mix and match option for all breeds, which can be shipped all in the same order. 

Advantages 

  • Orders can be cancelled up to 24 hours before shipping. 
  • Free shipping on supplies.
  • Comprehensive FAQ that covers a range of questions from care, feed, shipping, sexing, local laws relating to chicken farming, and terms.

Disadvantages 

  • Offer a 90% sexing guarantee, and will refund 90% of the purchase price once the 90% guarantee is surpassed. 

10. Welp Hatchery

** Please note that while Welp does offer Sultan Chickens, they are only sold in assorted runs along with a number of other Chicken breeds. ***

Average Straight-Run Feather Legged Assorted Bantam Chicken Price: $3.02

Average Straight-Run Crested and Polish Assorted Bantam Chicken Price: $3.43

Located in Bancroft, IA, Welp Hatchery was founded way back in 1929 by Joseph H. Welp. While their specialty is Cornish Rock Broilers, they have diversified to include a wide range of chicken breeds. To simplify their orders, they have a catalogue available for viewing or downloading. From their shipping points in Iowa, New Mexico, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, this hatchery truly has a wide reach. 

Advantages 

  • Can choose the breeding date on the product page. 
  • Marek’s immunization is a one-click process.
  • Minimum orders of 5.
  • Wintertime availability for select breeds.

Disadvantages 

  • Maximum orders of 25.

10 Best Hatcheries to Buy Silkie Chickens

Looking for the best hatcheries to buy Silkie chickens? You’ve come to the right place.

When Marco Polo journeyed up across Asia along the Silk Road, he no doubt had dreams of tales of dragons and phoenixes, of strange tubular foods and spices. He was going to China, a land as different from the West as Thanksgiving is to Cinco de Mayo. Of all that he found, who would have thought that the most amazing, adorable, and most entertaining of all his discoveries would be a chicken?

Silkie Bantam Chickens are named from the Silk Road that Polo traveled, and this ancient breed is one of the most unique of all chicken varieties (check out our article all about odd Silkie facts here). Its feathers are as soft as down – little more than wisps of fantasy to the touch; its skin is as black as midnight – quite striking under white or buff feathering; their 5 toes sprawling; and their voices? Chatty! All the various colors of Silkie Bantams are loveable and utterly devoted to their humans. Indeed, they are one of the best possible chicken breeds for chicken owners who have small children.

In the USA, no matter the size, they are bantams, which is another remarkable detail unique to these incredible birds. We know you’re interested; who wouldn’t be? So with their origins halfway around the world, do we have to follow in Polo’s proverbial footsteps on China Airways to find our own fluffy feathered fowls? Fortunately, no! Silkies are available throughout the USA. Below is a list of TEN of the best hatcheries to buy Silkie chickens. If you’ve been considering these birds, you also might enjoy our article all about silkies!

silkie chicken chick on white table

1. Purely Poultry

Average Straight-Run Silkie Price: $5.76

As a family-owned business, Purely Poultry has some of the best customer service around. They pride themselves on their knowledge of their products, selection, and how-to details related to everything they offer, including ducks, chickens, geese, and lots of other birds! 

Located in Durand, WI, they guarantee live birds with every order, which is a good promise, indeed! They offer Black, White, Buff, and a hatchery Choice, which offers a $.28 discount!

Advantages:

  • Each order backed by live arrival guarantee.
  • Other kinds of poultry offered, too.

Disadvantages:

  • Not a huge advantage to buying multiple chicks – discounts are minimal. 
  • For shipping, 15+ bantams are required per order.

 2. My Pet Chicken

Average Straight-Run Silkie Price: $19.85

 My Pet Chicken got started in 2005 by Traci Torres and her husband, Derek Sasaki, two novices to the chicken world who had a dream to help other novices in their farmers’ goals. To do this, the put free how-to information on the web and offered some unique products and services. 

The website launched in 2005 and in 2006, their flock had grown to the point to where they started offering chicks for sale from their headquarters in Monroe, CT. The site has been mentioned in another of publications, and serves tens of millions of page views per year. Their Silkies can be purchased by variety: Black, Blue, Buff, or Assorted, which could also come out Splash.  

Advantages 

  • Offers Marek’s vaccinations on all standard chicks at the click of a button.
  • Consistent hours of operation. 
  • A good source for questions about ordering chickens, chicken care, and about raising chickens.
  • Full refund for any bird that has been incorrectly sexed. 

Disadvantages 

  • Limited availability.
  • Does not have a storefront
  • Sexed female Day-olds cost an additional $20.00

3. JM Hatchery

Average Straight-Run Silkie Price: $3.75

The Martin family, based out of New Holland, PA has been running JM Hatchery LLC for generations with an eye on excellent customer service, quality product, and satisfaction that they work in accordance to their Mennonite faith. One of their goals is to ensure that their care and attention to their birds is every bit as true as their daily devotion to their Lord. The family started raising guinea keets since the 1980s, and started the hatchery in the 1990’s. They work closely with three other farms: Blue Banty Farm, which specializes in Silkies; Fifth Day Farm, Inc., which specializes in ducks and geese; and Freedom Ranger Hatchery, which specializes in Freedom Ranger Broilers. 

Advantages

  • Guarantee live birds with replacement for any that arrive failing to meet this criteria.
  • Ship to every US State and Puerto Rico.
  • Shipping is through USPS by zone.

Disadvantages

  • Potential ordering confusion resulting from hatchery outsourcing orders to parent farm.
  • Minimum orders from Nov. 1 through Mar. 31 is 25 chicks.
  • White Silkies are featured on website, but no mention of other Varieties available.

4. Mill Valley Chickens

Average Straight-Run Silkie Price: $25.00

Holistic and humane, Mill Valley takes pride in the love they raise their chickens with. Indeed, they ensure that all bedding is devoid of metal wiring, that their chickens receive only the highest quality organic feed, and ensure plenty of natural lighting. With all this care and attention, they have a single goal: to get you the highest quality chicks in the best possible health. From their headquarters in Marin County, CA, they not only raise chickens, but they design coops, and offer courses on raising chickens. 

Black Silkie variety only. 

Advantages

  • All chicks are a flat rate (unless otherwise noted). 
  • Provides a number of hatching dates. 
  • All chicks come vaccinated for Marek’s Disease. 

Disadvantages

  • Cluttered product web page. 
  • Pick up or limited shipping. 

5. Feather Lover Farms

Average Straight-Run Silkie Price: $49.00

Getting their start with the rare black Ayam Cemani breed, Feather Lover Farms, based in California, has expanded their roosts to include a number of other rare chicken breeds, including Silkies, Marans, Malaysian Seram, and Swedish Isbar. They have indoor/outdoor breeding facilities which offer equal amounts of shade and warm California sun. The climate allows breeding to happen 365 days a year. 

Advantages

  • Shipped weekly!
  • Low minimum orders of 3. 
  • Flat-Rate Shipping.
  • Optional Marek’s Vaccinations.

Disadvantages

  • Max orders of 15. 
  • Black Variety only.

6. Cackle Hatchery

Average Straight-Run Silkie Price: $4.15

Cackle Hatchery proudly boasts that they have been hatching and shipping since 1936. A third-generation hatchery based in Missouri, their mission is to provide customers with quality poultry for showing, meat, enjoyment, and eggs. They ship throughout the USA, including Alaska, Puerto Rico, and Hawaii. They offer nearly 200 different types of chickens at all stages. 

Cackle also offers many other kinds of poultry including ducks, water fowl, game birds, turkeys, and other fowl. They are also a good source for supplies and book. Silkies are offered in Black, White, Buff, Blue, Splash, or as an Assortment Special.

Advantages 

  • Discounts if you buy male chicks
  • Vaccinations available
  • Only need 3 birds to ship (or just one for male birds)

Disadvantages 

  • Limited availability (February through August)
  • Sold as baby chicks only.

7. Chickens for Backyards

Average Straight-Run Silkie Price: $6.00

Chickens for Backyards is an online poultry store that ships orders from Phillipsburg, MO. It sells over 100 breeds of day-old chicks, ducks, geese, turkeys, and guineas with orders as low as three fowl. They have a mix and match option for all breeds, which can be shipped all in the same order. 

Shipping schedules run from February through October. On their website, they offer a comprehensive FAQ page and Chick Care information. Silkies are offered in White, Splash, Buff, Blue, Black, and Assorted. 

Advantages 

  • Orders can be cancelled up to 24 hours before shipping. 
  • Free shipping on supplies.
  • Comprehensive FAQ that covers a range of questions from care, feed, shipping, sexing, local laws relating to chicken farming, and terms.

Disadvantages 

  • Offer a 90% sexing guarantee, and will refund 90% of the purchase price once the 90% guarantee is surpassed. 
  • Limited availability.

8. Northwoods Poultry

Average Straight Run Silkie Price: $10.00 

After leaving a life of Nine to Five, Charmaine and Jeff headed out into the countryside of Florence, WI to start a life of horses, chickens and trees. In the nine years since, they have built up a happy home supported by their chicken habit. They have made a point to select among some of the rarest and unusual chicken breeds to accommodate the demands of all manner of chicken enthusiast.

Northwoods offers three Varieties: Splash, Buff, and White. 

Advantages

  • Very affordable
  • All chicks are sold as a straight run.
  • 48 hour live chick guarantee.
  • Offers Marek’s Vaccine to order.
  • Mixing and matching is possible.

Disadvantages

  • Expensive shipping.
  • Requires orders of 15 or more. 

9. Meyer Hatchery

Average Straight-Run Silkie Price: $4.34

Meyer Hatchery is based in Polk, Ohio, and boasts itself as the “premier Poultry Source.” Priding itself on customer service and availability, Meyer Hatchery provides a variety of chicken breeds to meet customer demands for color and diversity. They welcome mixing and matching of breeds of the same poultry type to meet minimum order requirement for safe shipping. To help with orders, they have a calendar of hatchings. 

Meyer has a variety of means of communication, including multiple phone numbers, fax, and email. They also run a blog that covers everything from breeds to plant pairing with chickens, feed, cooking recipes, fowl entertainment, and survival tips. They offer a variety of Silkie colors: White, Blue/Splash, Buff, Black, and Assorted.

Advantages

  • Website is up-to-date in real time. 
  • Accepts checks and credit cards
  • Guarantees gender of chicks either through refund or store credit.
  • Optional vaccination.
  • Member of the National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP), and provide NPIP VS Form 9-3 free of charge. 
  • Offer orders of over 100 chicks. 

Disadvantages

  • Limited store hours that change with the season. 
  • Limited availability.

10. Serenity Sprouts

Average Straight-Run Silkie Price: $15.00

The futility of city life was abandoned for the “simpler (harder working) homestead lifestyle” of Serenity Sprouts in Strasburg, CO. There, a primary goal is providing organic quality eggs and chicken breeds to all they could. At Serenity Sprouts, they take as much joy as sharing chicken experiences they do in helping others get started with their own chicken-related lives. 

Serenity Sprouts offers Silkie Bantams in Buff, Black, White, Blue, Splash, and a “Surprise Me” option.

Advantages

  • Chick hatches can be reserved 1.5 years in advance!
  • Offer delivery to residences within 200 miles, otherwise, orders must be picked up at the farm.

Disadvantages

  • Increased rates depending on the chick’s coloring.
  • Cannot ship live animals. 
  • No refunds offered, though store credit is available in event of a faulty product. 

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This article about where to buy silkie chickens was updated 11/20/2020.

Best Hatcheries to Buy Polish Chickens

Looking for the best hatcheries to buy Polish chickens? You’ve come to the right place.

When people think of Polish Chickens, they probably don’t think of the following: Netherlands, wacky, docile, and inquisitive. Most people get so caught up in the pom-pom or “70’s rocker” quality of their “hairdos.”

This often makes them look past their Dutch origins or their amazing temperaments. Certainly, it is so easy to fall for those amazingly poofy head displays, that we might overlook the fact that it is sometimes really hard for these chickens to see under them.

Any stumbling or klutziness that might result from these feathery displays, only make them even more endearing to chicken hobbyists. As well they should. Polish chickens – both the Frizzle variation and the standard one – are truly wonderful chickens that are best as show chicks or as a lovable pet that adds tons of personality both physically and individually. 

In the market for a Frizzle chicken? You can find our recommendations for some of the best hatcheries specifically for these kinds of birds here.

These birds are not as difficult to find as one might think. Indeed, as people are finding more and more ways to raise their own chickens, the bouffant heads of these remarkable birds make them instantly desirable. Below is a list of ten of the best hatcheries to buy Polish chickens- in all the wonderful varieties that they come in!

10 Best Hatcheries to Buy Polish Chickens

Polish chicken in front of white background

1. Meyer Hatchery

Average Straight-Run Assorted Polish Standard Chicken Price: $4.17

Meyer Hatchery is based in Polk, Ohio, and boasts itself as the “premier Poultry Source.” Priding itself on customer service and availability, Meyer Hatchery provides a variety of chicken breeds to meet customer demands for color and diversity. They welcome mixing and matching of breeds of the same poultry type to meet minimum order requirement for safe shipping. To help with orders, they have a calendar of hatchings. 

Meyer has a variety of means of communication, including multiple phone numbers, fax, and email. They also run a blog that covers everything from breeds to plant pairing with chickens, feed, cooking recipes, fowl entertainment, and survival tips.

We have linked the page to the Assorted Polish Standard Chickens above, but Meyer offers individual types of Polish and Crested Chickens as well. 

Advantages

  • Significant discounts if buying male chickens.
  • Accepts checks and credit cards.
  • Guarantees gender of chicks either through refund or store credit.
  • Optional vaccination.
  • Member of the National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP), and provide NPIP VS Form 9-3 free of charge. 
  • Offer orders of over 100 chicks. 

Disadvantages

  • Limited store hours that change with the season.

2. Hoover’s Hatchery

Average Straight-Run Assorted Polish & Crested Chicken Price: $3.67

Another established brand if you’re looking for chicks is Hoover’s Hatchery. Hoover’s supplies many farm and garden supply stores in the United States with their chicks, making them a smart choice if you want to skip the middleman and order from the hatchery directly.

If you’re ordering chicks, make sure you have everything you need to keep them healthy. Pick up some chick starter before your little ones arrive!

Plus, Hoover’s offers free shipping on practically everything you order. You’ll have to buy at least 15 chicks; so Hoover’s might not be the best option if you live in a city with chicken restrictions. However, as long as you’re willing to buy in bulk, it’s a smart choice. You can even mix and match your order by adding other birds of other chicken breeds along with poultry species like pheasants, turkeys, guineas, ducks, and more. 

Not sure if you might want to add other species to the mix? You may change your mind after reading about some of these duck breeds that lay beautiful colored eggs.

Another benefit of ordering from Hoover’s Hatchery? Despite the fact that this hatchery is located in Iowa, not necessarily a warm-weather state, it hatches chicks all throughout the year – a must-know feature if you plan on buying chicks around Christmas time. 

If you are looking for a specific type of Polish or Crested Chicken, there is also a list of individual Polish and Crested Chickens for sale. 

Advantages:

  • Excellent guarantee and refund policy in case of shipping problems.
  • Hatches chicks during the winter, one of the few hatcheries to do so.
  • Sells other kinds of poultry too.

Disadvantages:

  • Large minimum order of 15 chicks or 20 bantams. 

3. Murray McMurray Hatchery

Average Straight-Run Golden Polish Chicken Price: $4.80

Murray McMurray started his chicken business in 1917. As a banker, he sold his chicks to locals through the bank and by 1919, he had developed his own stock of chickens. During the Great Depression, he devoted himself to chickens full time. Since then, Murray McMurray Hatchery has developed into one of the largest chick hatcheries in the country. They sell more than just chickens, with ducks, geese, guineas, turkeys, other fowl and game birds all in the catalogue.

Sexed male chicks tend to be the cheapest, meaning you can get some serious savings if you’re planning on raising these birds primarily for meat. You can also buy pullets or mix and match your order with chicks of other breeds, too. If you’re interested in reading more about how to raise Polish chickens, you may want to check out our article on the subject.

We have linked the Golden Polish Chicken above, but if you are looking for other types of Polish Chickens, a list is available here

Advantages:

  • Males are extremely inexpensive
  • Bulk discounts available
  • Excellent breed availability 

Disadvantages:

  • Minimum order of six birds at a time

4. My Pet Chicken

Average Straight-Run Assorted Polish Chicken Price: $4.20

My Pet Chicken got started in 2005 by Traci Torres and her husband, Derek Sasaki, two novices to the chicken world who had a dream to help other novices in their farmers’ goals. To do this, the put free how-to information on the web and offered some unique products and services. 

The website launched in 2005 and in 2006, their flock had grown to the point to where they started offering chicks for sale from their headquarters in Monroe, CT. The site has been mentioned in another of publications, and serves tens of millions of page views per year.

Like with the above Hatcheries, My Pet Chicken offers individual types of Polish Chickens if you are looking for a specific breed.

Advantages 

  • Offers Marek’s vaccinations on all standard chicks at the click of a button.
  • Consistent hours of operation. 
  • A good source for questions about ordering chickens, chicken care, and about raising chickens.
  • Full refund for any bird that has been incorrectly sexed. 

Disadvantages 

  • Limited availability.
  • Does not have a storefront

5. Cackle Hatchery

Average Straight-Run Silver Laced Polish Chicken Price: $3.95

Cackle Hatchery proudly boasts that they have been hatching and shipping since 1936. A third-generation hatchery based in Missouri, their mission is to provide customers with quality poultry for showing, meat, enjoyment, and eggs. They ship throughout the USA, including Alaska, Puerto Rico, and Hawaii. They offer nearly 200 different types of chickens at all stages. 

Cackle also offers many other kinds of poultry including ducks, water fowl, game birds, turkeys, and other fowl. They are also a good source for supplies and book. 

The link above brings you to the Polish Chicken sales page. The price above relates to the Silver Laced Polish Chicken breed, however. 

Advantages 

  • Discounts if you buy male chicks.
  • Vaccinations available.
  • Only need 3 birds to ship (or just one for male birds).

Disadvantages 

  • Limited availability. 
  • Sold as baby chicks only.

6. Purely Poultry

Average Straight-Run Silver Laced Polish Chicken Price: $4.46

As a family-owned business, Purely Poultry has some of the best customer service around. They pride themselves on their knowledge of their products, selection, and how-to details related to everything they offer, including ducks, chickens, geese, and lots of other birds! 

Located in Durand, WI, they guarantee live birds with every order, which is a good promise, indeed!

The link above will take you to the Polish Chicken page, and for individual Polish Chicken breeds, just click on the link you’re interested in. . The pricing above is for the Silver Laced Polish Chicken. Please note that the rates change depending on the breed you click on.

Advantages:

  • Each order backed by live arrival guarantee
  • Small order minimum on chicks 
  • Other kinds of poultry offered, too

Disadvantages:

  • Not a huge advantage to buying multiple chicks – discounts are minimal

7. Mill Valley Chickens

Average Straight-Run White-Crested Black Polish Chicken: $19.99

Holistic and humane, Mill Valley takes pride in the love they raise their chickens with. Indeed, they ensure that all bedding is devoid of metal wiring, that their chickens receive only the highest quality organic feed, and ensure plenty of natural lighting.

Need to stock up on some additional organic feed before your birds arrive? You can find some here.

With all this care and attention, they have a single goal: to get you the highest quality chicks in the best possible health. From their headquarters in Marin County, CA, they not only raise chickens, but they design coops, and offer courses on raising chickens. 

Advantages

  • All chicks are a flat rate (unless otherwise noted). 
  • Provides a number of hatching dates. 
  • All chicks come vaccinated for Marek’s Disease

Disadvantages

  • Cluttered product web page. 
  • Pick up or limited shipping.
  • Expensive

8. Sugar Feather Farm

Average Unsexed Tolbunt Polish Chick Price: $35.00

Located in the Green Mountains of Vermont, Sugar Feather Farm is a newer farm that got started in 2018. While the family got their start in California, they wanted the opportunity to share their love of animals, the environment, and sustainability, and found their opportunity for just that in the hills of Vermont.

They focus on heritage breeds as these are the breeds whose past closely align with our own and give us the strongest reminders of our history. 

Advantages

  • Take a “holistic” approach to the rearing of their animals. 
  • Convenient ordering instructions. 
  • Shoot for a 5-7 week order process. 

Disadvantages

  • Expensive. 
  • Does not offer Marek’s vaccines.

9. Omega Hills Farm

Average Straight-Run Tolbunt Polish Chicken Price: $39.00

If you live near Columbus, MS, Omega Hills Farm is quite close to you! Located  just outside that city, Omega Hills is 16 lovely acres cresting a hill that is maintained by not one, but three generations of family! While the farm has been going strong for over a decade, rare chicken breeds were not introduced until 2012.

Since then, they have had the great pleasure of seeing these rare breeds thrive as they seek to share them with you!

Advantages

  • Custom fills every order that comes in. 
  • Aim to ship orders as close to 5 weeks after the order as possible. 
  • Guarantees live orders of 6 chicks or more. 
  • Offers shipped chicks as well as pick-up orders. 
  • Vaccinate all chicks for Marek’s disease.

Disadvantages

  • Expensive.
  • Do not offer Day-Olds. 

10. Greenfire Farms

Average Straight-Run White Crested Cuckoo Polish Chicken: $29.00

Greenfire Farm, located in north Florida, takes great pride in a very important factor of the American life: immigration. They bring in most of their flock from abroad and get them USDA permits for hatching and sales. This makes Greenfire Farm’s chickens of very nationally unique bloodlines, which is a plus for chicken hobbyists looking for the most unique birds in the country.

To make sure that their foreign guests are happy, they provide ample sun, shelter, and snacks, which, in essence makes the farm a first rate tourist destination that their birds never want to leave! Their offspring are eager to share stories of this first step in the American journey with your flock, so get them while they’re young. 

Advantages

  • 6-chick minimum.
  • Sell Day-olds exclusively. 
  • Original importer of most of their flock. 
  • Ships to Hawaii and Alaska. 

Disadvantages

  • Expensive.
  • 6-chick minimum.

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