10 Best Places to Buy Orpington Chickens Online

Looking for the best place to buy Orpington chickens online? You’ve come to the right place.

After all, what’s not to love about the Orpington chicken? First bred in 1886, this bird is one of the oldest heritage breeds and is now raised for eggs, meat, and exhibition. 

If you’re in the market for some Orpington chicks, you’ll find a ton of hatcheries specializing in all kinds of Orpingtons – including Buff, Black, Blue Laced, Red, Lavender, Barred, and more. You can even buy bantam Orpingtons or fertile hatching eggs online!

Ready to learn more? Here are some of the best places to find affordable, adorable Orpingtons to fill your brooder.

1. Cackle Hatchery

Location: Lebanon, MO

Average Straight-Run Orpington Chick Price: $2.85

Cackle Hatchery has several types of Orpington chicks and pullets available, including Buff and Lavender Orpingtons. These chickens can be purchased anytime from February through September, with options for female, male, and unsexed birds for sale. 

You can even hatch your own Orpington chicks by purchasing fertile hatching eggs from Cackle Hatchery! This company also sells bantam Orpingtons, too, in case a pint-sized version of the breed is what you have in mind.  

In addition to chicks of multiple breeds, Cackle also sells ducks, goslings, quail, guineas, pheasants, and more. You only need to order three per breed per color on straight run and female chicks – and just one on males.

Advantages: 

  • Large variety of breeds available
  • Bantam Orpingtons can be purchased
  • Affordable prices

Disadvantages:

  • Difficult to find delivery information

2. Meyer Hatchery

Location: Polk, OH

Average Straight-Run Orpington Chick Price: $3.04

Like Cackle Hatchery, Meyer also sells Buff, Lavender, Blue, Black Split, and even Jubilee Orpington chickens. You’ll get decent egg production with these chickens, which are shipped in batches of 15 chicks. All orders are shipped via USPS Priority Mail, shipped in a box with air holes, straw, and a heating pack.

You can buy started pullets or laying hens, too, if that’s what you prefer, along with hatching eggs. 

Advantages:

  • Hatching eggs available
  • Pullets and laying hens can be bought instead of chicks
  • Live poultry and hatching eggs can be picked up in-store to waive shipping costs

Disadvantages:

  • Large minimum order

3. Papa’s Poultry

Location: Redding, CA

Average Straight-Run Orpington Chick Price: $15

Don’t let the price tag deter you – Papa’s Poultry in Redding, CA is a great place to find some high-quality rare and heritage-breed chickens. 

Papa’s Poultry sells all kinds of Orpingtons, including chicks, hatching eggs, and starting pullets. Orders are generally shipped on Tuesdays with orders ready to ship within days as long as you order during the prime hatching season. 

You can buy all kinds of Orpington varieties, including Black, Blue, Splash, and more. This hatchery doesn’t specialize in large orders, so you have to order wisely. However, it’s a great option for chicken keepers who want high-quality birds from refined breeding stock. You’ll pay a bit more, but you’re going to get some high-quality birds for your money.

Advantages:

  • High-quality breeding stock chickens
  • Orders ship quickly 
  • You can preorder for future ship dates

Disadvantages:

  • Very pricy chicks

4. Hoover’s Hatchery

Location: Rudd, IA

Average Straight-Run Orpington Chick Price: $2.66

Hoover’s sells a variety of Orpington chickens, including Lavender and Buff. You can choose to have your birds vaccinated and you can also choose your ship dates. One of the nice things about purchasing chicks from Hoover’s Hatchery is that you will be able to see availability before you checkout. That way, you know exactly when you’re going to get your birds. 

The minimum order with Hoover’s is 15 chicks, but you can mix other breeds to make the minimum order (as long as you aren’t mixing other types of fowl).

Advantages:

  • Chick breeds can be mixed and match to meet the minimum order requirement
  • Many Orpington chick varieties available
  • You can choose your ship dates

Disadvantages:

  • Minimum of 15 chicks per order

5. My Pet Chicken

Location: Monroe, CT

Average Straight-Run Orpington Chick Price: $3.05

My Pet Chicken, located in Monroe, CT, is another hatchery that specializes in heritage breed birds along with other types of poultry, like ducklings, goslings, bantams, and more. 

Orders larger than 15 chicks ship via USPS Priority Mail service, while those that are smaller ship via USPS Express Mail so you can ensure you’ll get your birds in time. This hatchery is unique in that it can ship orders as small as three chicks! 

Advantages:

  • Small orders ship faster
  • Minimum order of just 3 birds
  • Other types of poultry available

Disadvantages:

  • Chicks are not bred from exhibition lines

6. Murray McMurray Hatchery

Location: Webster City, IA 

Average Straight-Run Orpington Chick Price: $3.33

Again, Murray McMurray Hatchery sells a variety of Orpington chicks, including Buff, Lavender, and White Orpingtons. You must place an order of at least six chicks, but you can mix and match to meet your quota. During the cooler months (prior to April 1st) you’ll be required to order 25 chicks per order. 

Murray McMurray also sells older birds, like four-week-old Buff Orpingtons, in case you want to invest your money in starting chickens instead.

Like some of the other hatcheries we’ve reviewed, the beauty of ordering through Murray McMurray Hatchery is that you can see a calendar of availability for the next few weeks and months. You’ll be able to select a ship date so you can order in advance and then spend the extra time getting your brooder and coop set up! 

Advantages:

  • Calendar of availability so you can select your ship dates
  • Only six chicks required per order 
  • Four-week-old chickens available

Disadvantages:

  • Shipping is somewhat restricted during cooler months 

7. California Hatchery

Location: Rancho Cucamonga, CA 

Average Straight-Run Orpington Chick Price: $6.99

California Hatchery sells Orpington as day-old chicks to anywhere in the contiguous United States. There’s a small minimum order quantity of as little as three chickens, with all birds hatched from high-quality flocks. 

When you order with California Hatchery, you’ll get an email notification with your exact hatch and shipping date – but you can select your desired dates at checkout for maximum convenience. There’s free shipping if you order more than 15 chicks at once, too. 

You can buy both Buff Orpington hatching eggs (a dollar piece, with a ten egg minimum) or baby chicks. You’ll add $2.50 per bird if you want sexed chicks. 

Advantages:

  • Free shipping on large orders
  • Minimum order of three chicks
  • Ships anywhere in the US

Disadvantages:

  • Higher overall cost per bird 

8. Townline Hatchery

Location: Zeeland, MI 

Average Straight-Run Orpington Chick Price: $4.20

You can opt for all kinds of extra services in your order with Townline Hatchery, too. You can get beak trimming for an extra $0.20 per bird along with Marek’s vaccinations. Bulk orders are eligible for discounts – buy more than 15 birds and you’ll get $0.05 off per bird, but buy more than 100 and you’ll get $0.88 off! 

If you’re willing to raise a flock of all-male Orpingtons, you’ll save quite a bit of money too – nearly $2 per bird, in fact, as compared to straight run chickens.

Advantages:

  • Discounts for bulk orders
  • Additional services available
  • Other breeds available 

Disadvantages:

  • Pricier chicks 

9. Manor Farms

Location: Cullman, AL

Average Straight-Run Orpington Chick Price: $7

Manor Farms is a very small hatchery located in Cullman, AL. If you live near Cullman or have a very specific idea of what you want, this hatchery is a great choice. Local pickup is available if you want to check out the farm, or you can have orders shipped for $25 on any order of 25 chicks. The hatchery has a minimum order of 12 chicks.

You can also buy hatching eggs, starter pullets, young hens, and cockerels from Manor Farms. Currently, Manor Farms has English Lavender Orpingtons for sale, with Buff, Black, Blue, and Splash Orpingtons available for sale in 2021. 

Interestingly, this hatchery also has a super productive egg laying cross between the Australorp and Lavender Orpington, too, if you’re interested in trying something different (plus, these chickens are absolutely gorgeous!). 

Advantages:

  • Chicks from high-quality breeding stock 
  • Family-owned hatchery 
  • Minimum order of 15 chicks with breed mix and match available

Disadvantages:

  • Pricier birds with limited availability 

10. Pete’s Hatchery

Location: Woodburn, OR

Average Straight-Run Orpington Chick Price: $2.50

Pete’s Hatchery is another small hatchery out of Woodburn, OR. It’s one of the best places to buy Orpington chicks in the west. You can purchase straight-run chickens for just $2.50 apiece, or $1.50 for orders of 100 or more. You’ll get a significant discount for purchasing roosters, too – they’re only $2 apiece. 

Pete’s is unique in that it sells chicks and only chicks. You can find a few other poultry species, like French Pearl Guinea, Ancona ducks, Runner ducks, and bantams, too, but there aren’t a lot of frills to distract you here. 

You can opt for local pick-up or shipping. All chicks are shipped the same day they hatch with 25 chicks per batch. You can order fewer chicks, if you choose, but you’ll pay an additional $5 for heating.

Advantages:

  • Affordable chicks
  • Heating available for small orders
  • Other types of poultry available

Disadvantages:

  • Limited selection

10 Best Hatcheries to Buy Rare Ayam Cemani Chicks

If you’re looking for ideas of where to buy Ayam Cemani chicks online, you’re not alone. 

These rare chickens are prized for their bizarre – yet gorgeous – appearance. Ayam Cemani chickens are completely black. Not just their feathers, but also their eyes, feet, beaks, and everything else are as dark as midnight. 

These birds aren’t necessarily the best for egg or meat production, but if a rare, gorgeous ornamental chicken breed is what you’re after, you’ve come to the right place. 

Here are the best places to find exotic Ayam Cemani chicks and adult chickens for sale.

1. Northwoods Poultry 

Location: Florence, WI 

Average Straight-Run Ayam Cemani Chicken Price: $45

Northwoods Poultry is a small hatchery located in the Northwoods region of Wisconsin. The hatchery specializes in rare and unusual chicken breeds, with all chicks hatch on-site. This breeder offers the perfect one-stop destination if you are looking for birds for a 4H project or just to keep as pets. 

All chicks are shipped with a heat pack and grow gel. The hatchery remembers that customers order 15 to 18 chicks. All birds can be vaccinated for Marek’s upon request, too.

This hatchery is one of the few places you can buy Ayam Cemani chicks. All birds are sold as straight-run at $45 each. Each order includes a few extras, too. You’ll pay a flat rate of $4 for shipping and handling for up to 24 day-old chicks. You can also buy Ayam cemani hatching eggs for just $15 each if you’d rather hatch your own eggs at home. 

Advantages:

  • Ayam Cemani chicks sold at an affordable price
  • Hatching eggs available, too
  • Marek’s vaccinations available

Disadvantages:

  • Shipping can be expensive

2. Cackle Hatchery

Location: Lebanon, MO

Average Straight-Run Ayam Cemani Chicken Price: 

Cackle Hatchery, located in Lebanon, MO, is a hatchery that specializes in chicks and hatching eggs of all kinds. You can find bantam and standard size chickens available in all breeds, in addition to other poultry species like pheasants, ducks, quail, goslings, guineas, and more. 

You can buy Ayam Cemani chicks as straight-run birds from Cackle Hatchery. These rare chickens can be purchased in quantities as little as three birds, or you can order a larger batch to fill your entire chicken coop. Vaccinations are available, as are fertile hatching eggs. 

Advantages:

  • Minimum order of just three chicks
  • Sold as both day-old chicks and fertile hatching eggs
  • Inexpensive shipping

Disadvantages:

  • No discounts available for larger orders

3. Sugar Feather Farms

Location: Berlin, VT

Average Straight-Run Ayam Cemani Chicken Price: $17

Sugar Feather Farms is a hatchery in Vermont that specializes in rare, unique breeds as well as heritage lines of chickens. The company sells chickens in addition to geese, guinea, turkeys, and ducks.

This hatchery offers buyers one of the most affordable resources to buy Ayam Cemani chicks. You can buy one straight-run chick for just $17, or you can choose to buy fertile hatching eggs or fully-feathered adult birds (around six to eight weeks old). 

Although chicks cannot be sexed, adult birds can be sexed for an additional $5 fee. This is worth it if you are interested in filling your flock with primarily hens. You can have these chicks shipped right to your door, or you can pick up your order right on the farm, located in Vermont. 

Advantages:

  • Shipping and local pick-up available
  • Affordable chick prices
  • Hens can be sexed for an additional fee

Disadvantages:

  • Limited availability 

4. Feather Lover Farms 

Location: Loomis, CA

Average Straight-Run Ayam Cemani Chicken Price: $59

Feather Lover Farms is a small hatchery located in Loomis, California. This hatchery specializes in rare and unique chicken breeds and is both family-owned and operated. It ships to all 50 states.

Here, you can buy straight-run Ayam Cemani chicks (unsexed) for just $59 each. You’ll have to order at least three chicks to qualify for the hatchery’s Live Arrival Guarantee. Ordering is easy, since you’ll get a hatch and ship date on one of the Tuesdays of your estimated ship month. This makes it easy to plan in advance. 

You’ll pay a bit more for shipping, but that extra will provide you with heat packs and professional packaging so you don’t have to worry about your chicks not making it to you in good condition. You can add a Marke’s vaccination if you choose, too. 

Advantages:

  • Good availability 
  • 3 chick minimum 
  • Shipping dates provided in advance

Disadvantages:

  • Shipping is expensive 

5. Gypsy Shoals Farm 

Location: Centre, AL

Average Straight-Run Ayam Cemani Chicken Price: $80

Gypsy Shoals Farm is one of the best places to buy Ayam Cemani chicks if you plan on starting a small backyard flock. You can’t buy Ayam Cemani chicks separately, nor can you mix and match with other breeds – you will have to purchase at least six chicks in your order. 

However, the investment is well worth it, as you’ll receive six unsexed chicks that are healthy and ready and raring to go once they arrive at your doorstep. You don’t have to limit yourself to six chicks, either. You can add additional Ayam Cemani chicks for just $80 apiece. If that still sounds like a steep price, keep in mind that the cost of shipping is included in your total price.

With Gypsy Shoals Farm, all chicks are “made to order,” meaning the eggs are collected and incubated when you place your order. The chicks ship 21 days after you place your order. 

Advantages:

  • One of the few hatcheries in the South
  • Chicks are “made to order”
  • Shipping is included

Disadvantages:

  • Can’t mix and match with other chick breeds

6. Hatch Poultry Farms

Location: Waterville, ME

Average Straight-Run Ayam Cemani Chicken Price: $25

Hatch Poultry Farms is best known for its 30 different lines of quail – but this hatchery doesn’t only specialize in quail. It also offers ducks, geese, turkey, and of course, rare chicken breeds for sale to customers all over the United States. 

Hatch Poultry is one of the few hatcheries that will sell Ayam Cemani chickens that are sexed. You can buy hens, roosters, or straight run birds here, with significant discounts if you choose to go with straight-run birds.

Chicks are shipped every week from Monday through Wednesday. You can also buy fertile hatching eggs, depending on availability. 

Advantages:

  • One of the few hatcheries located in the Northeast
  • Chicks shipped weekly 
  • Sexed chicks available 

Disadvantages:

  • Limited availability 

7. California Hatchery 

Location: Walnut Creek, CA

Average Straight-Run Ayam Cemani Chicken Price: $135 for three birds

California Hatchery is one of the few chick hatchers on the west coast – and one of the only hatcheries in the country that specializes in Ayam Cemani chicks. This hatchery ships day-old chicks just about anywhere in the contiguous United States, with a minimum order quantity of just three birds. 

Order with California Hatchery, and you’ll be blown away by the customer service. You will receive an email notification with your exact shipping and hatch dates so you don’t have to second guess yourself. You can also set desired dates at checkout if you have certain plans in mind, too. 

The cost of Ayam Cemani chicks at California Hatchery is strep – but you pay for quality. You will be required to purchase at least three birds but your order will ship within two weeks. Shipping costs are included in your total purchase, too. Birds are unsexed and shipped as day-old chicks.

Advantages:

  • Shipping costs are included
  • Can receive chicks anywhere in the United States
  • You can set desired shipping dates at checkout

Disadvantages:

  • Have to buy at least three Ayam Cemani chicks, with no mix and match available

8. Cemani Farms 

Location: Indonesia

Average Straight-Run Ayam Cemani Chicken Price: $99

Cemani Farms is a small hatchery located in Indonesia. Although it’s not a hatchery located in the United States – so you may have a few forms to fill out for shipping – it is one of the best places to go if you are in the market for exotic foreign breeds.

As you might expect from the name alone, Cemani Farms is one of the very best places you can buy Ayam Cemani chicks. You can buy baby chick, juvenile, or adult birds from this hatchery – but have your checkbook ready, as adult birds can cost up to $390. 

You won’t get the best discounts when you order from Cemani Farms, but you’ll receive chicks that are from some of the very best breeding stock. These chicks ship directly from Indonesia, the home of this famed chicken breed. You can also buy fertile hatching eggs (in minimum quantities of 20 eggs apiece) if you’d rather hatch your own chicks at home. 

Shipping is free worldwide, with a minimum order of 20 birds. 

Advantages:

  • Adult and juvenile chicks available
  • Hatching eggs offered, too
  • Some of the very best breeding stock you will find 

Disadvantages:

  • Expensive chickens

9. The Sheppard Ranch 

Location: Coeur d’Alene, ID

Average Straight-Run Ayam Cemani Chicken Price: $55

The Sheppard Ranch is a small family-owned and operated farm in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. This hatchery sells all kinds of farm products, including pigs, chickens, sheep, garlic, and honey. All animals here are raised to the highest standards of care so you can rest assured that you’ll receive healthy, thriving chicks when you order. 

Shop for Ayam Cemani chicks with The Sheppard Ranch, and you’ll enjoy free shipping each and every time. The company sells chicks, started birds, and even hatched eggs. To buy chicks, you will need to buy at least eight birds, but you can mix and match from various breeds.

Advantages:

  • Family-owned and operated hatchery
  • Day-old chicks as well as adult birds available
  • Minimum order of eight chicks with mix and match available 

Disadvantages:

  • Shipping tend to get backed up

10. Valley View Ayam Cemani

Location: Oley, PA

Average Straight-Run Ayam Cemani Chicken Price: 

You can buy Ayam Cemani chicks directly from Valley View Ayam Cemani, a specialized breeder in Oley, PA. 

This company sells just a limited number of these high-quality chicks. Because this hatchery is so small and specialized, you may have to sign up on a waiting list to receive your order. However, you will always receive chicks that meet or exceed the standard for the breed. You will need to buy at least three day-old chicks when you order. 

The company offers a 24-Hour Live Guarantee so you don’t have to worry about shipping harming your chicks. You can order up to 20 chicks at once when you order. 

Advantages:

  • Specialized breeder produces chicks perfect for exhibition
  • Minimum order of three chicks
  • Comes with 24-Hour Live Guarantee

Disadvantages:

  • You may need to be put on a waitlist
The 10 Best Hatcheries for Brahma Chicks

The 10 Best Hatcheries for Brahma Chicks

They’re big. They’re feather-footed. And they’re undeniably fancy. 

Brahma chickens are fantastic dual-purpose birds you can raise on your farm. Although these chickens are some of the most popular meat birds, they can nonetheless be difficult to find in your local area. 

Therefore, it’s important to find a reliable hatchery that will ship Brahma chicks right to your door. Here are some of our favorite Brahma chick hatcheries for you to consider. 

1. Cackle Hatchery

Average Straight-Run Brahma Chick Price: $3.05

Located in Missouri, Cackle Hatchery is one of the largest online chick retailers. Not only can you find more than 185 different kinds of chickens here, including broiler, egg0laying, and bantam species of all kinds, but Cackle also specializes in several rare breeds.

At Cackle, you can also find other species of poultry like geese, turkeys, ducks, game fowl, and more. You can also buy Brahma fertile hatching eggs if you want to raise your own birds from start to finish. There are also exhibition-line birds available for purchase, too. 

You’ll be required to purchase at least 15 birds in most cases. However, Cackle does offer a unique “city/town” package in which you can buy just five to ten birds, but they’ll be priced higher per bird on average.

Advantages

  • Bantam and exhibition birds available
  • Pullets can be purchased instead of chicks
  • Low average chick price

Disadvantages

  • Limited inventory of Brahma birds

2. Meyer Hatchery

Average Straight-Run Brahma Chick Price: $4.35

Meyer Hatchery is another large hatchery, this one located in Ohio. Along with a variety of chick breeds, you can also buy things like hatching eggs, books, coops, and pullets. 

One of the benefits of ordering from Meyer Hatchery is that you are only required to order three birds (as long as you order at opportune times of the year). This is a good option for people who are interested in raising a small flock of Brahma chickens and don’t want to deal with the hassle of minimum orders of ten or more birds.

If you live close to the hatchery, you can even pick up on-site!

Advantages

  • Only a 3-chick minimum 
  • Sells light, buff, and dark Brahma chicks
  • Sells other kinds of Brahma-raising equipment too

Disadvantages

  • No substantial discounts for orders of more than 25 birds

3. Purely Poultry 

Average Straight-Run Brahma Chick Price: $3.85

Purely Poultry is a family-owned business that specializes in Brahma chickens along with chickens of other breeds. You can also buy things like waterfowl, turkeys, peafowl, quail, and more, here, too. 

If you’re buying baby Brahma chicks, you’ll be required to order at least three birds. However, if you’re willing to wait for adult birds, there are no shipping restrictions on how many you need to order. Located in Wisconsin, this company specializes in Brahma Bantams, Buff Brahmas, Dark Brahams, and Light Brahmas. 

Advantages

  • All kinds of Brahmas available 
  • Minimum order of 3 birds
  • Has a live arrival guarantee 

Disadvantages

  • No apparent discount for purchasing in bulk

4. Townline Hatchery

Average Straight-Run Brahma Chick Price: $4.20

Townline Hatchery is one of the oldest hatcheries on this list, having been in business for more than a century. One of the greatest benefits of ordering with Townline Hatchery is that the company maintains its own breeder flocks. Everything is raised on-site so you can rest assured that your chicks are raised in the ideal conditions. 

The employees here are some of the best, attending to each and every chick each day as they gather eggs, set up incubators, and care for the fresh hatches. Townline also has excellent customer service –  you can tell that this hatchery has really worked out the kinks in its more than 100 years of operation. Located in Michigan, this hatchery is actually the oldest mail-order hatchery in the country!

You’ll have to buy chicks in minimum batches of fifteen, making it a less than ideal situation for people who want to raise Brahams in small urban settings. However, if you’re buying in bulk, Townline is the way to go, since this hatchery offers a discount of more than $2 per bird when you order 100 chicks or more.

Light, Buff, and Dark Brahmas are available. 

Advantages

  • Has a solid reputation
  • Excellent customer service
  • Significant discounts for ordering multiple chicks

Disadvantages

  • Has limited hatching availability around the  year 

5. Murray McMurray Hatchery

Average Straight-Run Brahma Chick Price: $3.90

Despite the funny, somewhat repetitive-sounding name, Murray McMurray is one of the best places to buy Brahma chicks in the United States. You’ll find all kinds of poultry – of all ages – here, but it’s best known for its baby chicks. 

As one of the largest hatcheries in the country, it’s headquartered in Iowa. you can buy light, buff, or dark Brahma chicks along with pullets here. Unlike many other hatcheries, you’ll get a significant discount for purchasing sexed male chicks, which are about $.90 cheaper than unsexed birds.

Advantages

  • Male chicks are cheaper here
  • Pullets available 
  • Can mix and match breeds

Disadvantages

  • Minimum order of six chicks

6. My Pet Chicken 

Average Straight-Run Brahma Chick Price: $3.25

My Pet Chicken is a website that offers a wealth of information about how to raise chickens, but what many people don’t realize is that this website is also a great resource for ordering baby chicks, too. Located in Connecticut, this is one of the few chick hatcheries located on the eastern seaboard.

This hatchery specializes in small orders. You can purchase as little as three chicks and you don’t have to order a certain number of breeds, either. If your heart isn’t set on only Brahmas, you can also order chicks of other breeds for a “mix and match” order, too. 

You can buy all the gear you will need to raise your Brahma chicks here, too, including chicken saddles and diapers, fencing, fertile hatching eggs, and more. As the name implies, this hatchery is one of the best for people who are interested in raising pet chickens.

Advantages

  • High live chick rate
  • Only requires a minimum order of three chicks 
  • Several breeds can all be shipped at once together 

Disadvantages

  • Limited Brahma availability at certain times of the year

7. California Hatchery

Average Straight-Run Brahma Chick Price: $5.99

Although California Hatchery ships to anywhere in the United States, this is one of the few hatcheries on the west coast. Here, you’ll find both light and buff Brahma chickens, along with bantam Brahmas, too. This hatchery specializes in exhibition fowl, so you’ll get good genetics and reliable shipping, too.

Advantages

  • Comes with a safe arrival guarantee
  • Minimum order of just three chicks 
  • One of the best Brahma hatcheries on the west coast

Disadvantages

  • High per chick price

8. Valley Farms Hatchery

Average Straight-Run Brahma Chick Price: $2.60

Located in Alabama, Valley Farms Hatchery is one of the few hatcheries you will find in the southern portion of the United States. The company guarantees 100% live delivery on all orders and is one of the best places to purchase Brahma chicks. You can not only buy light, dark, and buff birds, but you can also buy bantam Brahmas and hatching eggs here, too. 

This hatchery offers some of the lowest prices per bird. You’ll have to buy at least three birds, unless you’re buying males – then, the minimum order is only one bird. There are discounts for buying more than 50 birds, too, though not as substantially marked down as some of the other hatchers on this list.

Advantages

  • Minimum of one chick if you’re buying males
  • Hatching eggs and bantams available
  • 100% live delivery guarantee

Disadvantages

  • Limited availability 

9. Hoovers Hatchery 

Average Straight-Run Brahma Chick Price: $3.65

Hoover’s Hatchery is one of the best Brahma chick hatcheries if you don’t want to deal with extra shipping expenses. Here, you’ll enjoy free shipping on just about everything. You do have to invest in an order of at least 15 birds, though, so be prepared to buy in bulk.

Along with Brahma chicks, you can find chicken breeds of all kinds. You can also buy geese, turkeys, bantams, pheasants, ducks, guinea keets, and more. Located in Iowa, this hatchery is one of the few that hatches chicks all through the winter, too. 

Advantages

  • Good refund policy
  • Hatches chicks year-round  
  • Sells all kinds of Brahma chicks, including light, dark, and buff 

Disadvantages

  • Large minimum order required 

10. Stromberg’s Chickens

Average Straight-Run Brahma Chick Price: $5.19

Located in Minnesota, Stromberg’s is one of the best and most well-known online hatcheries around. It is incredibly large, specializing not only in baby chicks of all breeds, but also adult birds. You can also find rare species like pigeons, doves, ducks, and more, along with equipment like coop building supplies and wild birdhouses. 

Stromberg’s sells all kinds of Brahma chicks, including dark and buff variations. You’ll enjoy a discount of about $2 per bird when you order more than 100 birds, with smaller discounts available for purchases of 25 or 50 chicks, too. Stromberg’s is a large company that regularly offers special promotions and discounts on chicks – including free shipping. 

Advantages

  • Sold as live chicks or eggs
  • Minimum order of five birds
  • Regular discounts available

Disadvantages

  • Shipping dates are not calculated at check-out – you don’t get them until your order goes out

Create The Best Chicken Brooders For Baby Chicks!

Create The Best Chicken Brooders For Baby Chicks!

Heard of chicken brooders, but not sure what the fuss is about? Getting chicks, and not sure which brooders are best? In this article, we’ll give you all the details so you can pick the perfect home for your newest pets!

Chicks! Little balls of down that are so adorable you just want to eat them up! Or maybe that’s the family cat, we’re talking about… So maybe eating them up is a terrible idea. A good idea, however, is bringing them into the family. Soon, these day-old fuzzy butts will grow into amazing full-sized chickens: hens of the greatest laying potential and roosters whose protective skills are without peer! 

The question, then, is how to ensure that these chicks do reach adulthood. What can we do to protect these helpless little bundles of cute? Where can we keep them until they are ready to join the flock? What tips and tricks can we utilize to ensure that the cat stays away from them long enough to get big enough to defend themselves?

The answer to the above questions is quite simple: you need to get yourself a chick brooder. 

What is a Chick Brooder?

A brooder is a safe environment where a group of baby chicks can stay warm and comfortable until they’re ready to join other chickens in the run. All told, a chick will spend about 8-10 weeks in a brooder. It is a relatively short, but incredibly important part of their lives. 

Anything can serve as a brooder, from a plastic bin to a pre-fabricated brooder sold on Amazon. I personally just use a plastic tote bin because they’re cheap and easy to clean. 

You can see my brooder set up in this video:

Why Have a Brooder?

In the wild, chicks have a very unique personal defense system that they do not have in the adoptive world of your family. That defense system is called a mother hen. The mother hen digs or builds a nest for her chicks and there, she sits on them, defending and protecting them from all manner of dangers: from predators to chill weather. When a person decides to take on chicks and raise them, that person volunteers themselves for the role of mother. It’s obviously not a good idea for you to sit on a clutch of chicks for several weeks – we don’t have quite the warm, protective tail feathers that mother hens have (in addition to being far too heavy). As a result, we need a safe place to keep our developing chicks. That is where the brooder comes into play. 

What Size Brooder Should I Have?

It goes without saying that those cute little chicks will grow. Because of this, you’ll want to consider two recommended sizes for a good brooder. The smaller brooder should be about 12 inches tall, and should be large enough so that each chick has about 6 inches of space when they’re day olds – 4 weeks old.. This smaller brooder will become obsolete, however, at or around week 4 of their lives. At this stage of their development, you’ll want to upgrade them to a 24-inch tall brooder that gives them 1 square foot each. This will keep them safe and in check until they complete their developmental phase.

 It is possible, however, to forego the smaller brooder for the larger one. Your chicks will outgrow the smaller one, after all. If your resources are limited, then there is much to be said for that option. 

Where Should I Keep My Brooder?

A brooder is a safe place for your chicks. You’ll need to keep it in a secure place that can hold heat and protect your hatchlings from any and all of those great dangers just lurking out in the wider world. You could put it in a barn, a workshop, a garage, a basement, or even right in the house. The key is to keep it very safe from predators, such as cats, raccoons, opossums, and rats. 

Because you will need to provide your chicks with heat, a reliable power source is key. You’ll also want your brooder to be easy to get to, as you’ll probably want to check on your chicks at least a couple of times per day. I would also strongly recommend putting some kind of cover over your chicks – a mesh one for warmer weather or a piece of insulation in colder weather. 

Chickens are birds, after all, and once their wing feathers start coming in, they just might succumb to the urge to test out those flight enablers. The other reason for a covering your chicks are the curious whims of the family cat. Or dog. Or child. As much as we might love the other beasts in our menageries, they might not have the best interests of your chicks at heart. 

How Many Chicks Should Be In A Brooder?

I personally only put between ten and fifteen full sized chicks into a brooder at a time. This helps to ensure that there is enough space for each one, at least 6 inches of space per chick. Ten to fifteen chicks is easy to keep track of (for example, if one gets sick, it should be easy enough to identify that one.) It is also small enough to start getting to know the chicks’ personalities. If you’re like me and hope that these chickens become family, then it’s best to start familiarizing yourself with them sooner rather than later. Why not start right from the brooder?

If you’re going to have a clutch of bantams, up to 17 chicks is a good number. This is mostly just to help them stay warm, as being smaller chickens, they could use just a touch more heat. But the clutch should be no more than that. Otherwise, your chicks might squash each other.

At farm stores, you sometimes see there might be 50 chicks in a big bin. Farm stores do that because the chicks aren’t going to be there for that long. Many stores sell out in a day! 

So most farm stores don’t need to worry about whether a chick has long term access to food and water. At home however, if you have a lot of chicks in your brooder, you can’t guarantee that everybody’s getting the food that they need. So stick to a smaller clutch size, and get more than one brooder if necessary.

It’s harder to keep track of everybody and everybody’s health when a lot of chicks are in one brooder. They’re all running everywhere, and you can’t look at everybody really closely. 

Smaller numbers in your brooder make it easier to keep track of everybody’s condition. Is everybody getting the food that they need? Is everybody developing correctly? Is everybody warm enough? Does somebody look too cold?

If you use apple cider vinegar, it’s easier to make sure that everybody gets access to that. If you have one waterer and a large number of chicks in your brooder, maybe not everybody’s getting enough water or the apple cider vinegar in the water that they need. This is all the more reason to keep numbers manageable in a brooder. 

What Do Chicks Need In A Brooder?

For a brooder to be 100% effective, it will need a few key components. The first is warmth. Newborn chicks are covered in down, which is lovely and soft, but not that great at providing your precious little ones with the warmth they need to develop strong, hale and hearty. In their first week of life, the ideal temperature is about 95 degrees F. You will want to adjust this as your chicks start to feather out, as feathers provide them with natural insulation against the cold. 

The 95 degrees that was good in the first week might be too hot in the second week. If your chicks are too hot, they might start panting or moving far away from the heat source. Having a thermometer on hand will help you identify whether or not your heating source is too close to the clutch. When you test the temperature, be sure to be on the same level as your chicks. You want the readings to be as accurate to your birds’ experience as possible. 

Next comes food and water. A chick has to eat, right? Provide your clutch with a couple automatic waterers and feeders. If you put them in the corners of the brooder, it will help to reduce how much waste your chicks will deposit into the feed or water troughs. Most will spend their time in the warmest sections of the brooder – especially on colder days – and will then have to disperse to fill their other needs. The water and feed should be changed daily. If your chicks are especially messy, then this could be upgraded to twice a day refilling. 

Countless chicken lovers will tell you that waterers could use an anti-drowning preventative. Chicks are just getting their legs, so to speak, and as such, they might have a mishap or two with regards to how they drink. Shallow as their drinking troughs are, there is still a risk of drowning. To prevent this, put a number of marbles into the trough. This will give your chicks full access to water, but it will prevent them from dunking their heads.

The final thing your brooder will need is bedding. Chickens of all ages have the potential to be terribly messy. 

The Best Options For Flooring And Bedding

It seems like the go-to for bedding across the USA is pine shavings. This is very similar to what horses get in their stalls, and it tends to be light, fluffy, and holds chick waste quite well. In the first couple of weeks, it will need cleaning and changing every couple of days, but as your chicks get bigger, they will start producing greater quantities of waste. If pine shavings are unavailable in your local farm store, other options include straw, shredded paper towels (for the first week at most), or newspaper. Of all of these options, pine bedding works best for absorbency and overall comfort. You’ll need between an inch and three inches of bedding for your chicks. 

What Types Of Heaters Are There?

There are a few varieties of heaters to use in your brooder. The most common are a heat lamp and heating pads. A simple heating lamp can be clamped right onto the side of the brooder or dangle above it. These then produce powerful localized heat that spread out quite well over a general area. This actually provides both hot zones and cooler zones within the brooder. In the event that the weather shifts in your brooder’s shelter, your chicks will have temperature escapes. However, I don’t personally use or recommend heat lamps. They’re very dangerous.

Heat lamps produce tremendous heat. That much heat concentrated over wooden bedding is a fire hazard waiting to happen. When setting up your heat source, be sure that it cannot fall – secure it thoroughly with clamps or a bungee. 

Heat plates are a solid pad that is elevated off the ground and provides a surface area of warmth. Their height is adjustable so that your chicks will not bump their heads on the pads. These pads more closely simulate the localized warmth of a hen sitting on her clutch, but they tend to be far more expensive than heat lamps. 

You can also use space heaters.

Is There a Do It Yourself Option for a Brooder?

Brooders are remarkably affordable or easy to make. They require some basic and easily accessible materials, and can be quite durable, usable season after season. The simplest ones can be made from a large plastic tub or a large wooden box or coop. 

When Should I Get a Brooder?

It is imperative to get your brooder before you bring your first clutch of chicks home. You will want to set it up and test it out for any problems that might arise before your chicks get into it. You can trouble shoot anything that might hinder your chicks’ development or cause them undue stress. You can also check that  there is enough bedding, the heat lamps are secure and safe, and their water and feed is all set up. The latter is very important because when your chicks arrive. You’ll want to orient them to their food and water by dipping the beak of each one. This will ensure that they know where their essentials are.  

Sharing your home with a clutch of chicks is a truly amazing experience, and it all starts with having a good brooder for them. It’ll ensure they’re healthy and safe from predators. You’ll also get lots of hands on experience with your new pets! 

What’s your best chicken brooder tips? Leave a comment below!

Alternative Feed For Chickens: Best Ideas!

Alternative Feed For Chickens: Best Ideas!

If you’re looking for an alternative feed for chickens that won’t break the bank and will help support your healthy flock, then you’re in luck – there’s an abundance of surprising alternatives!

While your hens should always have a high-quality layer feed, you might find yourself without a bag one day (and the feed store might be closed) OR you might have table scraps you don’t want to toss. You also might want to make your own chicken feed.

Nutritious feed doesn’t need to come with a golden price tag, but it does need to satisfy the hunger cravings of your beloved flock and provide much-needed nutrients and vitamins.

Whether you want to craft your own chicken feed or just want to give your flock some treats, it’s always good to know what chickens eat! In this article, we’ll discuss the possible alternatives to your usual feed – and you might be surprised at our list of ingredients!

What Is The Best Food For Chickens?

The best chicken feed for laying hens is a high-quality 16% protein layer feed with a calcium supplement. For chicks (under 16 weeks), a high-quality 18% chick starter is best. The feed should have the required nutrition and vitamins for them to stay healthy and become consistent egg layers. Most commercial feeds make it easy. If you want to make your own layer feed, you can use my organic homemade chicken feed recipe here.

How To Feed Chickens Without Buying Feed

While I never really recommend this, there’s plenty you can feed chickens without actually having to buy feed. You can feed them table scraps (there’s a table below of what human food they can eat), grow food for them (we have a leafy green garden for our flock), or raise mealworms or black soldier fly larvae.

You can learn how to raise mealworms here and why black soldier fly larvae are healthy for chickens here.

If you have a “corn hookup” you can feed them dry corn as well. One of our neighbors is a farmer. One year, his crew spilled a LOT of corn on the ground. He didn’t want to clean it up, so he asked if we wanted it, LOL!

It’s best to feed a 16% protein layer feed however – you want your chickens to be healthy and lay eggs consistently. Nine times out of ten, when a reader emails me because her hens have stopped laying, diet is the reason why.

What Can Chickens Eat?

Chickens can eat so many things – it’s probably easier to talk about what they CAN’T eat! Chickens especially seem to love protein – insects (alive or dead) are HUGE with backyard chickens. They also love seeds such as sunflower, wheat, or hemp seeds. Of course, fruits and vegetables are popular, too (especially corn)! As for leafy greens, it’s best to stick with lettuce, kale, and spinach.

Here’s a brief table of suggested treats for your chickens (not comprehensive):

Fruit Legumes Vegetables Seeds Proteins Dairy Grains
Berries Peanuts Spinach Sunflower Mealworms Milk Wheat
Cantaloupe Alfalfa Hay Tomatoes Flax Black Soldier Fly Larvae Greek Yogurt

(Plain)

Oats
Watermelon Peas Squash & Pumpkin Pumpkin Dried River Shrimp Cheese Rye
Bananas Clover Kale Hemp Eggs Whey Millet

What Can You Feed Chickens If You Run Out Of Feed?

Alternative feed for chickens if you’re out of feed are whole grains like wheat, corn, flax, cooked rice (NOT UNCOOKED!), and raw or cooked oatmeal. Protein-rich foods like cheese, plain greek yogurt, and sunflower seeds are also good choices. Most table scraps you have on hand will also be suitable as an alternative. Bugs like black soldier fly larvae (which are remarkably easy to cultivate), worms, and crickets are options as well. Just be sure to steer clear of beans!

What Do Chickens Eat Naturally?

What chickens eat naturally (and that will cost you next to nothing) is food you can produce in your backyard, such as green plants, vegetables, fruits, and seeds. Chickens will also naturally hunt for insects such as earthworms, slugs, grubs, black soldier fly larvae, and other creepy crawlies. This alternative feed for chickens is cost-effective, full of protein, and can be found in their natural habitat.

However, before attempting to use any of the above as dinner for your flock, you should be aware of what food can harm to your flock if you’re considering an alternative feed for chickens. Bad food such as salt, sugar, coffee, or liquor and any uncooked raw or dried beans, raw green potato skins (which can contain a poison called solanine). Onions also are a poor food to give to chickens.

What Scraps Not To Feed Chickens?

What foods are toxic to chickens? Well, plenty. For starters, chickens should never consume anything moldy or rotten because it can make them sick. The chart below lists various foods and scraps that chickens shouldn’t eat:

Vegetables Fruit Legumes Grains Other
Potato skins Avocado skins & pits Dried beans Dry rice Salt
Onions Apple seeds Uncooked beans Chocolate
Chards Peach pits Lots of sugar
Rhubarb leaves Coffee

What Is The Cheapest Way To Feed Chickens?

The cheapest alternative feed for chickens would be using table scraps that don’t include anything moldy or rotten. Other free chicken feed ideas are insects such as grubs, mealworms, or black soldier fly larvae (or crawfish, if they’re in your region). Mixing your own non-gmo organic chicken feed is another option, especially if you can bulk buy ingredients at a lower cost. We have an article about making your own homemade chicken feed here.

Do Chickens Need Food And Water At Night?

Chickens typically only eat food and drink water when they are awake during the day. At night, chickens prefer to roost and get some sleep. However, there’s nothing wrong with leaving food and water in the coop overnight (especially water) if you don’t have a rodent problem. You should always make sure the feed won’t attract predators. A chicken feeder that automatically closes at night is always a good option.

What Vitamins Are Good For Chickens?

Like people, chickens need all the vitamins they can get. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can produce numerous health problems for chickens (including poor egg production), so it’s important to feed them a balanced poultry diet enriched with vitamins A, D, E, K, B12, Biotin, Thiamine (B1), Riboflavin (B2), Niacin, Choline, Folic Acid, and Pantothenic Acid. Also, minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, copper, iodine, zinc, cobalt, phosphorus, and, manganese are important. Most commercial chicken feeds have all the vitamins and minerals your hens need. To ensure your flock has enough calcium to produce good eggshells, you can offer an additional supplement like oyster shells.

What Can I Grow For Chicken Feed?

You can grow garden cover crops such as alfalfa, clover, buckwheat, and annual rye. In your garden, you can grow tomatoes, leafy greens like kale or spinach, wheat (can be sprouted into fodder), bell peppers, sunchokes (boil and mash to feed), corn, and herbs. Just remember that you will need to feed your chickens year round, so if you want to grow feed for your chickens, have a plan to preserve some. Other chicken feed ingredients you can grow are wheat and millet.

If you’re wondering what to feed chickens to lay eggs, it’s important to give your flock plenty of protein. So, if you really want to grow your own chicken feed, it’s a good idea to also raise mealworms or other insects so your hens have plenty of protein.

How Much Should I Feed My Chickens?

Ideally, you should feed your chickens about 1/4 pound of feed per chicken per day, or, 1.5 pounds of feed per chicken per week. Environmental conditions, such as whether it’s very hot or very cold, can also effect how much you should feed your flock. In the winter, you’ll likely want to increase their rations so they can produce enough body heat. If your flock isn’t laying eggs consistently, you’ll want to increase their diet, as well. Typically, chicken feed 50-pound bags are sold at stores to make it easier.

Are Oats Good For Chickens?

Yes! You’ll read varying opinions about this, but oats are perfectly fine to feed your flock. You can feed them dry or made into a mash. Quick oats and instant oats are fine as well – just make sure they’re plain, and without any extra preservatives or ingredients. During very cold nights, many owners make their chickens oatmeal to give them extra energy at night. In the summer, you can mix oatmeal into frozen suet cakes.

Will Chickens Eat Roaches?

A great alternative feed for chickens are bugs – chickens love them! While there are many critters hens love to eat, cockroaches are one of them! If you raise cockroaches, then you’re in for a treat. Chickens love chasing them, and they’re full of protein.

Is Peanut Butter Good For Chickens?

While peanut butter (natural, no salt, no added ingredients) is okay for chickens to eat, it’s not the best for them. A high-quality layer feed is better. However, there’s nothing in peanut butter that will hurt them, as long as it’s 100% natural with no salt or added ingredients. Honey is also healthy for chickens, so you can mix it with honey if you want!

Summary

There’s a lot of alternative feed options for backyard chickens. However, it’s important to make sure your flock has the right amount of protein, vitamins, and minerals in their diet. Otherwise, you might not get as many eggs!

What’s your favorite alternative feed for chickens? Leave a comment below!

Raising Backyard Hens For Eggs Is Easy!

Raising Backyard Hens For Eggs Is Easy!

If you’re thinking about raising chickens for the first time, you might feel a little bit intimidated by the process. You may even be asking yourself, “how do I get started raising chickens?”

Luckily, chickens are some of the easiest animals you can raise – but it’s important to learn how to do it correctly. In this article, we’ll walk you through some of the most important information you need to know in order to get started. 

Why Raise Backyard Chickens?

In these uncertain times, a lot of people are concerned about food security. Raising chickens means always having a supply of fresh, organic eggs (even as the prices in the stores skyrocket). 

Chickens are easier to care for than dogs or cats. They only need:

  • A home
  • Food
  • Water
  • Protection from predators
  • Veterinary care as needed

Unlike dogs, you never need to walk them. You can also leave them alone for a couple days (with food, water, and protection from predators) if you need to leave town for a few days. Hens are quiet, and like parrots, these birds can provide companionship. They’re also a great pet for kids!

How Do I Get Started Raising Chickens?

Buy the Chickens!

Your first step in raising chickens? You’ve got to buy the chickens, of course! Don’t rush out to the feed store to purchase your chicks right away. Make sure you have a brooder set up and ready to go so that you have somewhere to put the little fluffy butts. This should include a heat lamp and plenty of food and water. 

If you plan on raising adult chickens, you can skip this step. Otherwise, keep reading – we’ll give you more information on where to buy your chickens below.

Feed

You are also going to need an ample supply of feed to give your chickens. We’ll talk more about this later in the article, but make sure you have your feeders ready to go. 

Waterers

The same rule applies to waterers. You are going to need a water for your chickens so they can stay hydrated at all times. Invest in good water because they can last for quite some time when cared for properly.

A Coop

Last but not least, you’re going to need a coop in which to house your chickens. It doesn’t have to be huge, but there are some considerations you will need to make.

Where Can I Buy Chickens?

The first thing you need to do is purchase your chickens. Decide on your breed first. If you want your chickens to be pets as well as egg producers, some friendly breeds that give lots of eggs are Australorps, Orpingtons, Speckled Sussex, Brahmas, and Cochins.

Next, start the search for your birds. Hatcheries are often chosen by beginning chicken keepers because they raise and ship chicks in a safe, humane fashion. Yes, that’s right – you can get mail-order chicks!

When you order from a hatchery, the chicks are sent at one day old and sent directly to the post office. You’ll pick them up there. You will be able to choose from a wide selection of breeds. If you;re not allowed to have roosters in your neighborhood, you have the option to purchase only hens (female chickens). 

There are hundreds of hatcheries out there, but it’s important to find one that is reputable. We use Cackle Hatchery, but other good options including Murray McMurray and Meyer Hatchery. Do your research and make sure your hatchery of choice has plenty of positive customer reviews! 

You may also want to check out local farm stores. Most people are familiar with shops like Tractor Supply, Rural King, and Orschelns. The only downside to purchasing chicks from a farm store is that you are often limited to what they have in store. That said, some stores allow you to place an order ahead of time in which you can specify how many and what breed you are interested in buying. 

A final option is to consider local breeders or even your neighbors. The internet is a glorious invention that makes it possible for us to find chicks for sale just about anywhere! Just remember to inspect your chicks carefully before you bring them home to make sure they are healthy. 

Want to learn more about where you can buy baby chicks? Here’s a helpful resource to get you started.

How Much Should I Pay for a Chicken?

In most cases, a baby chick will cost less than $4 apiece. Often, that price is quoted by hatcheries with all expenses – including shipping fees – rolled in. After all, buying chicks should not break the bank! 

Hatcheries will sometimes offer discounts if you buy in bulk – with discounts usually given for purchases of 25, 50, or 100 birds – or if you purchase unsexed chicks. 

You can also purchase adult chickens that are ready to lay. While the price of these can vary widely depending on the breed and age of the bird, try not to pay more than $10 to $20. It’s very easy for you to find yourself scammed or overcharged!

If you want to buy adult chickens, keep an eye out for free birds on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and via other Facebook groups. Again just be aware of scams and don’t be afraid to ask for health records for the birds!

What Do Chickens Eat?

Chickens are easy creatures to feed, but you will need to pay attention to what you are feeding them – especially in the early days.

Young chicks (those under the age of 16 weeks) need to be fed a chick starter ration. This contains 18% protein and all the nutrients your chicks need to be healthy. You can purchase chick starter from your local farm store. If you want it shipped directly to your home, you can purchase chick starter from our website here. 

Once your chickens get a bit older, you’ll need to provide them with alternative feed. Laying feed is fine for laying hens – it contains extra calcium – while broiler feed is best for meat birds. If you want layer feed shipped directly to your door, visit our store here

Now, chickens are some of the best backyard pets you can raise because they are incredibly versatile creatures that can be fed a wide variety of scraps and leftovers. If you want to read a full list of what chickens can and cannot eat, be sure to check out this post

frugal feeds chicken water feeder hacks

What Type of Waterers Are Best?

Having plenty of fresh, clean water at all times is just as important as having plenty of fresh feed. Although you can use basic waterers from Amazon (here’s some options), or even just a dog bowl with water for your adult chickens, you’ll need to be more careful about how you give water to young chicks. 

Chicks can easily drown in open bowls of water, and while some people simply put rocks or pebbles in the bottom of their adult chicken waterer to prevent this, accidents can still happen. Therefore, you will want to use a mason jar-style waterer, which tends to be much safer to use. Here’s a video that will walk you through everything you need to know about chicken waterers. 

What Type of Coop is Best?

You can purchase your own chicken coop on Amazon or you can build your own chicken coop. Here are some free plans to help you get started. There are all kinds of styles you can choose from, including coops that are portable and meant to be moved every day, those that are designed for small flocks, and those that are best for oversized breeds. 

Either way, remember that you will need at least six to ten feet of space per bird in your coop. You’ll need even more than that out in the run, so make sure you leave plenty of outdoor space for your birds, too. 

Also in the coop, you will need to leave room for nesting boxes and roost bars. The roost bars should be no more than a few feet off the ground and positioned away from the nesting boxes. 

You can purchase a coop for as little as $200 on Amazon. But remember that any structure can serve as shelter, as long as it’s dry, draft-free, and provides protection from predators. So, if you have a garden shed or even an old play house that’s no longer used by your kids, you have the start of a great coop!

How Much Room Do Chickens Need?

Experts recommend 10 square feet of space per chicken. So, if you have 3 hens, then your coop should be 30 square feet. Your flock will also need a fenced-in run so they can get sunshine and exercise! If you can’t build a run, don’t worry. While it’s not ideal (due to predators), you can allow your chickens to run around your yard part of the day to stretch their wings.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How do I keep my chickens safe from predators?

There are all kinds of creatures that like munching on chickens! From raccoons to coyotes, weasels to foxes, your chickens need to be protected from these threats. The easiest way to do this is to build a strong, secure chicken coop that can withstand any threat. Make sure it has no openings or gaps through which a predator can sneak and lock your chickens in each and every night.

You can find more tips on how to make your chicken coop predator-safe here

What temperature is best for baby chicks?

As with all baby animals, young chicks are extremely susceptible to temperature fluctuations when they are first born. Baby chicks need to be kept in a warm place until they have all their feathers. 

The brooder should be at least 95-100 degrees for the first two weeks of their lives, and then reduced five degrees each week until the chicks reach four weeks old.

Not sure if your chicks are too warm or too cold? Here’s a video that will tell you quick ways you can figure it out. 

What kind of nesting boxes do I need?

You can build your own nesting boxes or you can purchase some prebuilt ones from the farm store or Amazon. Whichever you choose, make sure you have at least one nesting box for every four chickens. You’ll Want to fill it with fresh, clean bedding and check it at least once a day to keep it from becoming overrun with eggs.

Here are some more tips on what to look for and consider when researching nesting boxes. 

When do chickens start laying eggs?

Wondering when all of your hard work is going to pay off – and your chickens are going to start laying eggs? If you’ve purchased layers, they should begin laying eggs right away. 

You can learn more about when chickens start laying eggs by watching this video, but as a general rule of thumb, baby chicks start laying when they’re six months old. Some breeds, like White Leghorns, Sex Links, and Australorps start laying as early as sixteen weeks old, but others can take up to eight months to start laying.

How often do chickens lay eggs? 

Most hens lay four to five eggs each week, but some breeds (like Production Reds) lay more and some less (such as Mille Fleurs). You can encourage better laying patterns by feeding a high-quality feed. Check out this article for more information!

Final Thoughts

Getting started with backyard chickens is very easy – and chickens are simple to care for! As long as they have shelter, food, water, protection from predators, and appropriate veterinary care, they’ll do great! If you do decide to dive right in, we have all the resources you need on this website! If you’re not sure, and have a million questions, then reach out to us at [email protected] and we’ll do our best to answer them!