Once you've decided which breed of chicken to raise, it is time to figure out where you can buy your chickens from. Here are a few options for you to consider:
Poultry auctions are a great place for finding chickens in good health for your flock. You can keep an eye on smallholding magazines to find auctions in your area or do a little internet search. Chickens at auctions are sold for very reasonable prices and you can communicate with any of the breeders to ask chicken-related questions. You will need to bring something to transport your chickens in and keep in mind that auctions usually sell sub-par stock from registered breeders so you most likely won’t find a show winner among them.
Hatcheries are one of the easiest ways you can get chickens, especially if you’re looking for chicks. Just a little internet search will help you to find hatcheries in your area. I would advise you to personally visit these hatcheries to get your chicks, but be prepared to buy in bulk. Hatcheries don’t usually sell less than a dozen chicks at a time. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that the parents of these chicks were treated humanely, so you might want to reconsider.
You can find breeders by contacting chicken associations like the Poultry Club in your area. These breeders focus on improving the chicken breeds they work with and will put a lot of time and effort into keeping their flocks healthy. You can also find the contact information of such breeders in smallholding magazines or you can contact the poultry club directly. Breeders will usually give you chicken-related advice and you are free to contact them at any time if you have any questions.
Poultry shows are also great for acquiring top-quality chickens. You can contact poultry clubs, do an internet search or keep an eye on local magazines to see when the next poultry show will be in your area. Besides the show birds, you will usually find top-quality chicks and hens for sale at these shows. It is also a great place to get advice from chicken experts. You can be assured of high-quality stock when you buy from chicken shows. Make sure to bring suitable containers to transport your newly acquired flock.
Going through classified ads is a great way to start a flock if you want to keep your costs low. It is definitely cheaper than buying from a reputable breeder, but you will have to do a thorough background check to make sure the chickens are living in humane conditions and are being cared for properly. These chickens usually come from other backyard breeders that ended up with too many chickens after a successful hatch or who are trying to make a business out of it. These birds may not be top-quality show birds, so if you’re looking to go to poultry shows, you might have to reconsider. Make sure to collect your chicks personally so that you can check the conditions they were raised in and personally check their health before you bring any of them home.
You can definitely buy chickens online, but this is not the best option if you want healthy chickens. When you buy online, you have no idea what conditions those chickens have been living in and where they come from. They will usually be delivered directly to your door. In some cases, you can arrange a pickup to check out the farm, but that is very rare.