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Quarantine life has really made us think about adding a pet to our family. After much research, discussing the pros and cons and thinking about traveling and other circumstances we might face in the future, we knew we weren’t quite ready for a dog or cat. That’s when we decided to start raising chickens! Being beginner chicken people, we watched a ton of documentaries, ready a ton of blogs and even took a trip to our local feed store to learn more. We found that purchasing poultry online was the best option. Have you wondered how to buy chickens online? Here is what you need to know.
Not only did we decide to get chickens, but we also decided to purchase a duck. She is the sweetest little thing! We really wanted to purchase babies and be able to pick from an assortment of breeds. We also wanted to make sure we were only getting pullets (females).
During our trip to the feed store, we did find that they sell chicks there, but they usually only have 2 breeds to choose from and they are a few weeks old. Surprisingly, chicks who are a few weeks old are twice as big as baby chicks (days old). They also couldn’t guarantee the sex so we kept searching for chicks.
How to Buy Chickens Online
Thanks to a friend of mine who also raises chickens (in a different city) we discovered the largest supplier of backyard poultry in the US – Ideal Poultry. I loved browsing through all of the photos on their site of different breeds, narrowing down our selection after researching each one. The prices are also amazing! I am talking only a few dollars per chicken. Our duckling was the priciest at around $6, which is still very reasonable.
The thought of buying chickens online sounded a little nerve-racking at first. I wondered how they would survive during transit and if they would arrive healthy. Ideal Poultry had so many great reviews that I felt good about our purchase.
Certain breeds are not available all the time as well as certain breeds of pullets. There were still plenty of choices for our July purchase. Our “hatch date” (aka shipping date) was August 5th and our new babies shipped out late on August 4th and arrived by mid-morning on August 6th. We are in Southern California, so that is impressive they arrived so quickly coming from their Texas farm.
The box was very breathable and was filled with some straw to keep the babies warm. I was happy to see their box was handled with such care and they all arrived healthy and well!
If for some reason there is a problem with the order, Ideal Poultry will take care of you.
Purchasing Chicken Supplies Online
Not only were we able to purchase our chickens online, but most of their supplies too. Although Ideal Poultry does not sell many supplies, Amazon always has a great selection. After watching some videos and doing some reading about chickens, we knew what supplies we really need and which supplies could wait until they are a little older.
The brooder is the container where the babies live or “incubate”. A box or bin will do just fine. There is no reason to get anything fancy or valuable. I found a large plastic bin to be great because it’s easy to hose down and keep clean.
The size you need all depends on the number of chicks you have. Since we have 7 chicks and 1 duck, I went with this size storage bin. Although in a few weeks or so, I am not sure if they will be trying to fly out of this thing so I do have bins of various sizes just in case.
The Brooder Lamp
A brooder lamp is needed to keep the chicks warm and cozy. The heat bulb is sold separately. Any heat bulb should do, but we had the best luck with a red heat bulb – similar to what you might use in a reptile cage. We started with one lamp and bulb and ended up adding a second because it wasn’t reaching 90 degrees as quickly as we wanted. I think this all depends on the time of year and temperature in your home plus how many babies you have in the same brooder.
The most important thing to note about the brooder lamp and bulb is making sure it is at the right temperature. We used a digital temperature controller since we learned they need to be at a certain temperature each week. This makes it easy to track without having to guess if the temperature is ideal.
Originally I bought a plastic feeder and waterer with 2 inch removable legs from the feed store. This type of feeder and waterer was recommended for our amount of poultry. Although I do like them a lot, I don’t think our baby chicks were quite ready for them. They are way too high and even when I removed the legs, they are too big and bulky.
I’ve also found that I am constantly changing their food and water because they are always filling with wood shavings and poop. Having a smaller feeder and waterer makes it less wasteful and easier to clean. I might switch back to the plastic ones in a few weeks when the chicks are bigger and can reach higher up.
For now, I am loving this galvanized metal chicken feeder which can be used with a mason jar or food jar. They can easily fit their little heads in there and I don’t have to waste as much food.
Again, I also purchased the plastic chicken waterer at the feed store but I prefer the galvanized metal waterer with a mason jar the best for baby chickens.
Pine shavings were the most popular choice for chick bedding so we went with that. The chickens do love to make a mess with it by trying to make nests and kicking it all over the brooder. It is easy to clean up though as I just dump it into my compost and replace it. What’s funny is how much we were warned about ducks being super messy. Much to our surprise, our duck is the most mellow and not the least bit messy (yet).
We went with organic, non-GMO starter chicken feed for our babies. The duck can eat it too! I do not recommend medicated chicken feed. Both the feed store and expert chicken owners advise against it. If they aren’t sick, they don’t need medication.
Raising Baby Chickens
That should be all you need for the first 8 weeks while raising your new baby chickens. Once they are about 8 weeks old, they are ready to live outside in their coop.
Now you know how to buy chickens online with ease. I plan to write more about our journey raising chickens and a duck so stay tuned!
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