Here at Southland Organics, we are passionate about helping you raise healthy chicks! For years, we've sold natural supplements for backyard chickens. During the summer of 2022, we figured it was high time we started a flock of our own.
So we decided to buy chickens online. Here's our story!
How to Buy Chickens Online
Of course, you can buy baby chicks at a local feed store or during Tractor Supply's Chick Days. However, these options might not always give you the chick variety or specificity you want. Buying chicks online often offers more options than you could find in a brick and mortar store.
To order baby chicks online, all you have to do is Google something like "backyard birds for sale" or "order baby chicks online" to find a long list of hatcheries that will have baby chicks shipped right to your door.
There are several hatcheries that can ship day-old birds the day that they hatch, and some even offer free shipping.
What we Were Looking For
Of course, we wanted to buy chicks from a reputable hatchery. Cackle Hatchery, Murray McMurray Hatchery and Meyer Hatchery are all well-trusted options. After reviewing these, we decided to choose Murray McMurray Hatchery as the source for our baby chicks.
For us, this was where we could get the best variety of chicken breeds, where we could be guaranteed healthy chicks and where we could get the birds here the quickest.
Guarantee Live Chicks
Murray McMurray is a family-owned hatchery that guarantees live chick arrival within 48 hours. You just choose your ship date based on the availability of chicks you want, they ship them out and then they arrive at your door within 48 hours. They guarantee that any birds lost in the shipping process will be replaced within 48 hours of arrival.
Unfortunately, we did lose a few chicks when they were shipped to us due to extreme heat conditions. The day our chicks shipped turned out to be one of the hottest days of the summer, around 104 degrees. Sadly, a few of our chicks did not fare well under this heat stress. Murray McMurray handled this circumstance with care and understanding, and followed through with their promise. They sent us birds to replace those we lost the following week.
Pullorum and NPIP Certificates
Murray McMurray also certifies all of their chicks with Pullorum and NPIP certificates. This means that all birds are from flocks that have tested negative for Avian Influenza, Pullorum and Typhoid.
For our flock, we wanted mostly female chicks and a wide variety of breeds within a smaller flock. To achieve this, we ordered Murray McMurray's Rainbow Layer Assortment. The assortment gave us 16 hens of surprise breeds. That means that we saved some money, but did not get to specifically choose exactly what breeds we wanted.
We did get one rhode island red rooster. All the others will grow up to be egg laying hens. Murray McMurray guarantees 90% accuracy in their sexing of chicks.
Ease of Ordering
Online ordering was easy! The Murray McMurray online store is broken down by availability. You pick the date you want your birds to ship, and the site will show you what's available for that time. This is what determined the species we got in our Rainbow Layer Assortment.
To us, these qualifications were more important than some that other hatcheries offer, like free shipping. We are really happy with the outcome of our order so far!
Planning Your Flock
If you're thinking about raising chickens from a flock ordered online, there are a few things you need to decide before you order chicks. First, you need to decide how many chicks you want. Make sure you have enough space and resources for the amount of birds you plan to order.
You'll need to make a budget—this will help you decide if you can add any rare breeds, or if you need to get a random mix like we did. Most people with backyard flocks want egg laying birds, but hatcheries for meat birds are available too.
What do you do when day old baby chicks arrive?
Once your baby chicks arrive at your home, it's time to start growing your pet chicken flock! Start by settling your chicks into their brooder. For information on what your brooder needs and how to set chicks up for a healthy life, check our blog on how to raise baby chicks!
As we mentioned, our chicks were under intense heat stress when they arrived. We immediately put them in their brooder and gave them give lots of water! And of course, being a manufacturer of chicken supplements, we gave them our own products. Adding Hen Helper Poultry Probiotic and Electrolytes and Catalyst Poultry Vitamin to their water helped them perk up and recover from their tough journey.
When will my chicks start hatching eggs?
Only adult chickens hatch eggs, so once you get your live chicks it'll be a while before they get to hatching eggs. If the days are still long and your hens have the proper nutrition and living space, they should start laying eggs between 18 and 22 weeks of age. SO depending on your chicken breed and where you live, your healthy chickens will start laying fresh eggs in a matter of a few months!
An Egg-Citing Future Flock
Our chicken coop has been a long time coming, and we're thrilled to be on the way to gaining an even better insight on backyard coop health and, of course, having fresh eggs for our office. We're most excited to see what these chicks look like when they become adult birds. They have yet to develop even more fun characteristics than they had as baby chicks!
We are here to help backyard chicken owners and serve you as a resource for poultry nutrition. If you have any questions about chicken health or our products, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800-608-3755.
About the Author
This blog was written by Izy Dobbins, Southland Organics' Marketing Manager. Izy has devoted her education and career to communicating science-related topics. With an enthusiasm for sharing accurate and honest content relating to science and agriculture, she ensures Southland Organics' publications are as informative as they are interesting. Izy graduated from the University of Georgia with a bachelor's degree in advertising, minors in both Spanish and environmental health science and a Certificate in Sustainability. She has been working at Southland Organics since 2021. Learn more about Izy here.
This blog was edited by Alyssa Rauton. With a bachelor’s degree in avian biology and two years of vet school from the University of Georgia under her belt, Alyssa has a wealth of knowledge on chicken health, nutrition and biology as well as a keen understanding of the animal agriculture industry. Alyssa has been writing content and executing research and development for Southland Organics since 2020. Learn more about Alyssa here.