How to Order Baby Chicks in the Mail – Backyard Poultry

Do you want to start raising backyard chickens? and you want to start with cute and hairy girls? Of course yes. you can buy them from another farm, a local feed store, or order chicks by mail.

wait, you say. is that safe for chicks? amazingly, it is. hatcheries have been mailing chicks for decades, and the postal service is very adept at handling orders.

During the first two days of life, the chicks are still digesting the yolk sacs of the eggs. they can survive shipping as long as they are kept warm and arrive within three days at most. the chicks are packaged in bulk, in safe and well-identified containers. If your chicks don’t arrive safely, reputable hatcheries will be quick to refund your money.

In 2012, I ordered ideal bird chicks, combining my order with another friend. We ordered about 40 baby chicks and ducklings including little silkies. of the entire shipment, only the male duckling did not survive. the year before, the same friend ordered 25 chicks, with no casualties. Two other friends safely ordered from the same hatchery. these babies arrived in March and April; one shipment arrived in January!


On the other hand, I once walked into a local feed store and found chicks that either had soggy bottoms or were incredibly sick with swollen faces and runny noses. I told my daughter to back off and not touch anything. we left that store and sanitized our shoes before heading back to our chickens.

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Ordering Chicks in Mail

how to order chicks by mail

first, start now! you can choose the ship date, but if you want specific breeds of chicken, hatcheries can sell out long before that ship date. Get a catalog, or go online, and place your order ASAP to reserve rare breeds. to get a catalog, go to the website and request one. order chicks online because it’s the best way to ensure what breeds are available.

Some hatcheries specify that you order a certain number of chicks, while others specify that you only order a certain dollar amount. ideal poultry requires a minimum order of $25, which equates to 10 chicks or less, depending on breed. each hatchery also varies when it comes to shipping policies and fees. Be sure to read each hatchery’s shipping policy. It also helps to know where the incubator is, so your babies have the shortest trip possible.

If you don’t order enough hatchlings to warm each other up, little roosters can be added for warmth. You will not be charged for these roosters as they are generally “extras” and are the breeder’s insurance that your purchase will arrive safely.

Do some research on your races, if you don’t already know what you want. a fun tool from my pet chicken lets you find which breed suits your needs.

Some hatcheries allow you to choose between pullets and roosters. This differs from site to site. For example, Ideal Poultry only sells Polish chicks direct (you get what hatches). Meyer’s hatchery will polish the sex, selling pullets. my pet chicken will have silky sex, which is difficult for this tiny breed.

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Because sexing isn’t always accurate, hatcheries have a 90% policy: If you order chicks and end up with a few roosters, they refund anything over 10% of the order. so if you order 10 pullets and one ends up being a rooster, you won’t get a refund; if two are roosters, they reimburse for one of them.

When you order chicks by mail, the hatchery will always notify you when your chicks have been shipped. the post office will call you when your babies have arrived.

Get ready for those babies. Have a nursery box with bedding, a heat lamp, starter food, sand, and a water bowl. your babies will be tired from the trip and won’t want to wait for some water and warmth. When you take the babies out of their box, dip their beaks in the water before placing them under the heat lamp. encourage them to have a few more drinks. let them rest and relax for a bit before picking them up again.

and enjoy your babies!

Which hatchery is the best? If you google each hatchery you will find reviews of all of them easily. customers are quick to report hatcheries with poor quality or sick chicks, or poor customer service. Because the hatchery wants you back in business and because they have to meet certain humane standards, they go to great lengths to ensure you have a safe and happy birth.

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Originally published in 2014 and reviewed regularly for accuracy.

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