I’ve Placed My Chick Order… Now What?!

Congratulations! You will soon be the proud owner of your very own chickens! But how do you get ready to be a keeper of chickens?

Within a few days of placing your order, you should receive an email with your ship date. Mark it on your calendar and give you post office a call the week they will ship. Your phone number will be printed on the outside of the box and they will call you to pick them up as soon as they get there. Our birds ship priority mail, and will reach you in approximately 2-3 days. Birds have a natural survival mechanism that allows us to ship them. As they are hatching, they ingest the yolk in the egg. This keeps them hydrated and full which allows us to safely ship you your new babies.

A few days before your chicks are scheduled to arrive, you need to prepare the brooder. A brooder is the very first home for a baby chick. It is a warm, dry, clean, and draft free environment. It may be a cardboard box, a swimming pool, a bathtub, or something manufactured specifically for that purpose. If your brooder has housed chicks in the past, make sure it is clean and sterile for the new chicks (1:10 bleach-water solution sprayed,  scrubbed, and rinsed works perfectly). The floor surface must be solid, slip-free, and absorbent. Paper towels, straw, or pine shavings are recommended. Some bedding is more absorbent than others. Change the bedding if it gets wet or heavily soiled.  Also, you will want to go to your local farm supply store and pick up some basic supplies–a thermometer, heat lamp, chick starter feed, a feeder and a waterer.

For baby chicks the floor temperature should be 90 degrees. USE A THERMOMETER! Do not guess! In a climate controlled 70 degree environment, a 100-watt incandescent light bulb will usually be sufficient. Outside in a barn in the cooler months, a 250-watt red heat lamp may be more appropriate. A general rule of thumb is 1 light per 25 birds if using the 100-watt incandescent bulb. Temperatures that are too cold or too hot are lethal and will cause death. Fluctuations in temperature can be lethal as well, especially with game birds. If the chicks show signs of stress from shipping (cold or lethargic) it is important to get their body temperature to 95 degrees as soon as possible. If the trip was particularly stressful you might try having the floor temperature in one part of the brooder to 100 degrees for a few hours to help regulate their body temperature. Additionally, be sure to allow an area of cooler (90-95 degrees) for those chicks that do not need the higher temperatures. Reduce your temperature by 5 degrees each week until they are 6-8 weeks old and fully feathered out. At this time, they are ready for life in their permanent home.

On arrival day, promptly pick up your package and get your chicks into the prepared brooder as soon as possible. Inspect your package, if you have any losses during the first 24 hour period, please call, email or fill out Live Arrival Guarantee form on our website so we can reimburse you. You have 48-hours from when the birds arrive to report losses. Please let us know if you prefer store credit or a refund.

Raising chicks is a wonderful experience. They are fascinating in their personalities and mannerism, not to mention they are pretty cute. And soon enough, they will be laying your breakfast. Couldn’t ask for a better pet.