Guide for Purchasing Poultry, Chickens, Ducks, etc.

Mark Gordon BrownStarred Page By Mark Gordon Brown, 11th Oct 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Pets>Birds

When I first moved to the country one of the things my wife and I wanted was some free range hens and perhaps pheasants. But where do you buy such pet birds? Learn where to buy these types of farmyard birds and what age to buy.

Ages to Buy Barnyard Birds

As Hatching Eggs
Sometimes you can buy fertilized eggs for hatching. Generally they are sold by the dozen. You need to have an incubator (or broody hen) and should realize that some eggs may not hatch. Every bird type has a different hatch rate, with some hatching more than others. These may come with a 75% (or other) hatch rate guarantee assuming you incubate correctly, but will not cover loss after that.

As Chicks, Ducklings, Goslings, and so forth
Many times you can find week old, or two week old, hatchlings. These will naturally be more expensive than buying the unhatched eggs because the work is done and you have all live animals. You might even have sex birds, which will cost even more. You still must keep these youngsters warm, and carefully looked after because they will not be ready to be put outside without protection and warmth. In most cases a brooding area, and heat lamp, is required.

As Young Birds
Buying young birds (a few months old) is another option, and again, may be more expensive just because of the work already done. The advantage is clear as well, it may be easy to sex the birds, and in some cases the females will be ready to lay (as with laying hens who often start at 5 months of age).

As Mature Birds
Sometimes one can buy mature birds, and depending on species they may be more, or less, expensive. Older chickens often decline in value as egg laying production goes down after one year of age, where as male pheasants and peacocks may increase in value due to the fact that they grow longer, more beautiful tails, when they are older.

Where to Buy Barnyard Birds

Livestock Feed Stores
The easiest source is often your local livestock feed store, however many times they are only able to get week old birds, and often only on certain days of the week. Sometimes they require you to order in advance particularly if you are requesting a less than common species.

Hatcheries and Catalogs
Most hatcheries offer catalogs and you can order birds through them. They typically offer week old birds but some will also offer hatching eggs, young birds, and occasionally older birds as well. Your local livestock feed store have some of these catalogs to give out towards the end of winter, or you can look on-line for hatcheries in your country/state/province.

In many areas there are pet livestock auctions, this is not the same as the “cattle” auctions for market cattle, but rather are auctions that are attended mostly by hobby farmers. At these auctions (which may be 1-3 days long) all manner of livestock are sold, particularly chickens, ducks, and so forth, as well as some of the more rare breeds of sheep and goats, miniature horses, and donkeys. A person can ask at their local livestock store if the staff know where auctions of this type take place or call the livestock auction markets and ask them. Not every livestock auction market will hold this type of auction and those that do usually only hold them twice a year (spring and fall) although a few have them once a month.

The photo of the ducks was taken at the Innisfail Odd and Unusual Auction, which is held every Easter and Thanksgiving in Innisfail, Alberta. They generally have about 500, or more, cages of birds, everything from week old hatchlings, to mature birds.

Show and Sale
In some areas, particularly where 4H clubs, or bird clubs, are common, there may be shows and sales. Even if there are only shows, quite a few of the birds will also be for sale. If not the owner usually has other birds at home that are for sale. One can meet breeders at these events and pick up business cards for later contact regarding a private purchase.

Private Purchase
We just mentioned finding a seller at a show, but some also advertise on-line in livestock sale sites. Others may put up a flyer on the bulletin board at the local livestock store or gas station in rural areas. You may find through word of mouth you can contact a sell, or ask at the farmers market when you see people selling eggs.

Other Points and Links

You should know that the eggs you purchase from the grocery store will not hatch.

Learn more about the care (housing and feeding requirements) of specific birds before you get them.

Your first venture should be with birds that are at least a few months old.


The Difference Between Ducks and Geese

Raising Pet Call Ducks

Keeping Pet Chickens

Keeping Peafowl

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Barnyard, Bird, Birds, Buy, Buying, Chickens, Ducks, Eggs, For Sale, Geese, Hatching, Hens, How To Buy, Laying, Livestock, Pet, Pets, Purchase, Turkeys, Week Old, Where To Buy

Meet the author

author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
Raised in Michigan, I have a son who recently joined the Military. I am living in Canada with my wife where we have a hobby farm.

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author avatar Denise O
11th Oct 2010 (#)

Great article Mark.
If I ever find myself to venture into
the bird raising business
I now know all about it.
My ex and I did get some chickens about 3 decades ago,
I swore up and down, never again.
But they so say...
Never, say never.:)
As always, thanks for sharing.

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author avatar Jerry Walch
12th Oct 2010 (#)

Great article, Mark, but the weather up here on Walch's Mountain isn't really conducive to raising poultry unless they are kept indoors 24/7 during the long, cold winter months. Last winter we had six feet of snow up here:-))

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author avatar James R. Coffey
12th Oct 2010 (#)

Very nice presentation! Don't know that I'll ever need it, but it's good to know!

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author avatar LOVERME
12th Oct 2010 (#)

more of love
than humans do

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author avatar ppruel
15th Oct 2010 (#)

informative article. i would share this to my children.

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