Buy Chickens Online: Top 12 Best Hatcheries

In recent years more and more people have been turning to hatcheries in order to buy chickens online.

Not only do online chicken hatcheries give you the added benefit of having your chicks delivered to your door, but they also have a much wider variety of chicken breeds to choose from.

However, you need to make sure you pick a reputable hatchery that supplies healthy chicks.

Not quite sure where to start?

Here is a list of 12 of the best chicken hatcheries and everything you need to know about them…

Top 12 Chicken Hatcheries

Hatchery Minimum Order Breeds Available
Cackle 3 Buckeye, Orpington and Jersey Giant
California 3 Barred Rock, Black Australorp, Buff Orpington and Black Copper Maran
Chickens For Backyards 3 Speckled Sussex, Delaware, Welsummer and Salmon Faverolles
Freedom Ranger 15-20 Kosher King, Freedom Ranger Color Yield and New Hampshire
Hoover’s 15 Cornish Cross Broilers, Sapphire Gem and Black Australorp
Ideal Poultry $30 Buff Minorca, Blue Andalusian and Cuckoo Marans
Jenks 10 Novogen Brown, Golden Bovan and Blue Plymouth Rocks
Meyer 3-8 Green Queen Bantam, Cream Legbar and Olive Egger
Murray McMurray 15-25 Blue Ameraucana, White Sapphire and Yokohama
Purely Poultry 1-15 ISA Brown and Rhode Island Red
Stromberg’s 5-30 Mottled Java, Easter Eggers and Bantam Silkies
The Chick 3 White Leghorn, Dark Brahma and Wyandotte

Cackle Hatchery

Cackle Hatchery is a family owned hatchery and one of the largest in the US dating back to 1936.

In total they offer over 202 varieties of poultry shipped directly from their hatchery in Missouri. Some of their most well known chicks are Easter Eggers, Jersey Giants and Orpingtons.

This hatchery is known for their incredibly high breeding standard and for raising their own breeding stock to produce disease resistant and productive poultry.

Their chick season typically begins in the spring and lasts through the summer for most of the breeds they offer. They do not use artificial lights and instead allow Mother Nature to dictate their chick season which inevitably can lead to some fluctuations in their chick seasons.

Interestingly they are currently only one of 12 Hobby Hatcheries left in the USA.

All orders come with a 30 day satisfaction guarantee and you can modify orders up to 48 hours before the ship date.

Pros:

  • Large selection of breeds
  • 90% pullet sexing guarantee
  • Up to 48 hour cancellation prior to ship date
  • 30 day satisfaction guarantee

Cons:

  • Not available year-round
  • Vaccination fee
  • $20 small order fee
  • Additional fees for chicks shipped to Hawaii

Visit Cackle Hatchery

California Hatchery

California Hatchery ships day-old chicks, ducklings, and hatching eggs.

They also have a small minimum order quantity (3-chick minimum) and free shipping for orders of 15 chicks or more.

This hatchery is most well known for their day-old ducklings which they offer nearly year-round and are shipped directly from California. Their location should not be a cause of concern as they frequently ship their prized ducklings to the East Coast.

Pros:

  • Safe arrival guarantee
  • Small minimum order quantity
  • Good variety of breeds

Cons:

  • No hatching guarantee
  • Seasonal hatching dates for certain breeds
  • No local pickup

Visit California Hatchery

Chickens for Backyards

The name all but gives it away!

This hatchery is one of the best if you are looking for backyard chickens. They sell over 100 different breeds of day-old baby chicks, all of which Chickens For Backyards allows you to mix and match in a single order.

Chickens for Backyards is the only hatchery we found that lets you mix and match a small order of 3 chicks.

Based in Philipsburg their exclusive in-house team will also be available to help you buy the specific supplies necessary for each breed you buy.

Additionally, this hatchery guarantees live arrival.

Pros:

  • Can mix and match breeds in one order
  • 90% sexing guarantee
  • Small order minimum (3 chicks)
  • Live arrival guarantee

Cons:

  • Do not offer vaccinations
  • Shipping charges
  • Do not offer local pickup

Visit Chickens for Backyards

Freedom Ranger Hatchery

Freedom Ranger was originally launched as Fox Farm Hatchery in 2005 before purchasing the Freedom Ranger brand.

This is a family owned and NPIP certified hatchery that specializes in slow-growing broiler chickens. However they do also offer dual purpose breeds and egg layers too.

They guarantee that all their chickens come from their very own breeding stock that is kept in their hatcheries. They offer an added advantage of delivering directly to customers’ homes from the Freedom Ranger farms with no delays or post offices needed.

With Freedom Ranger you can expect the hatchery to live up to their promise of a fast, hassle-free, and humane order and shipping process that ships to every US state including Hawaii.

Pros:

  • Broiler chicken specialist
  • Organic free range and pastured hatchery
  • Guarantee unbroken eggs
  • Offers direct delivery
  • NPIP certified

Cons:

  • Inconsistent minimum orders
  • Offer only straight run for certain breeds
  • Vaccination fees
  • No hatching guarantee

Visit Freedom Ranger Hatchery

Hoover’s Hatchery

Hoover’s Hatchery was founded in 1944 in Iowa.

Originally Hoover’s Hatchery only hatched White Leghorns, and now they proudly sell over 100 breeds.

Although they specialize in White Leghorns they are also well known for supplying quality Sapphire Gems and Black Australorps.

They not only guarantee the live delivery of their baby chicks but will even guarantee the sex of your chicks with 90% accuracy. Not only is live delivery guaranteed but free shipping is offered all over the United States.

Rest assured that if anything goes awry you will receive a refund and/or be given a replacement chick.

Pros:

  • Free shipping with 15 bird orders
  • Live delivery guaranteed
  • 90% sexing accuracy
  • Staff available 24/7 for customer assistance

Cons:

  • 48 hour window to report death loss
  • Ordering multiple breeds can be difficult
  • Post office will not deliver to your home

Visit Hoover’s Hatchery

Ideal Poultry

Ideal Poultry was established in 1937 and is located in Texas.

It is one of the largest family owned and operated businesses supplying backyard poultry in the United States. In total they have over 50,000 breeders and supply over 100 different chicken breeds.

Unlike many other hatcheries they do not have a minimum quantity order. Instead they have a minimum dollar value of $30 in poultry not including any shipping or handling costs.

They hatch 52 weeks a year though not all breeds hatch each week and some are seasonal so be sure to check the descriptions of specific breeds in order to spot this.

Ideal Poultry offers a 90% sexing accuracy guarantee as well as a 100% live delivery guarantee and also offers Marek’s vaccination at 20 cents per chick.

Pros:

  • No minimum order requirement
  • Can ship multiple breeds in one order
  • 90% sexing accuracy guarantee

Cons:

  • Orders of less than 100 chicks will incur a $7 fee
  • Vaccinations come at an extra cost
  • Orders under $30 require additional purchases

Visit Ideal Poultry

Jenks Hatchery

Jenks Hatchery is the oldest hatchery in the United States and has been at the same property since it was founded in 1910.

This hatchery is unique in that all their orders come with free shipping regardless of size. They do accept a minimum order of 10 chicks, but recommend a minimum of 25.

Unlike many United States based hatcheries, Jenks ships nationwide as well as to Canada.

They are best known for their Novogen and Golden Browns, along with their Blue Plymouth Rocks.

All chicks come vaccinated at no cost to the customer, though additional vaccinations are available at an extra cost.

Pros:

  • Free Marek and IBD vaccination
  • 100% live delivery guarantee
  • Free shipping in the US
  • 95% sexing guarantee

Cons:

  • Marek and IBD vaccination mandatory
  • Additional costs for Canadian customers
  • Minimum order of 10 chicks
  • Difficult to navigate website

Visit Jenks Hatchery

Meyer Hatchery

Meyer Hatchery is one of the few hatcheries that requires a minimum of 3 chicks.

This trusted online hatchery has been around for over half a century and offers over 160 breeds for you to choose from ranging from baby chicks to fully mature chickens. However, they do also sell hatching eggs.

Free shipping is available for certain breeds and Meyer Hatchery offers a 100% guarantee that your chicks will be correctly gendered.

Their chicks are all vaccinated, beak-trimmed, and cleaned before they are shipped.

Not only can you get a variety of breeds at a decent price from Meyer Hatchery, but you can easily access everything you need to maintain your flock from their website as well.

Pros:

  • Low minimum order of 3 chicks
  • 100% gender accuracy
  • Bulk discounts available
  • Ship all year round

Cons:

  • $10 order change cost
  • Expensive shipping for small orders
  • Order minimums change seasonally

Visit Meyer Hatchery

Murray McMurray Hatchery

Murray McMurray Hatchery is one of the older hatcheries in the US and was founded in 1917.

Since then it has become one of the largest hatcheries in the United States and currently offers hundreds of different breeds.

Day old chicks have always been the main part of their business and to this day they hatch and ship a wide variety of chicks, from ducklings to turkey poults to game birds.

They have also recently moved into a new state of the art 26,000 square feet hatchery to help maintain the highest level of sanitation throughout the hatchery.

McMurrays not only ensures safe delivery of their chicks with a live delivery guarantee, but you can expect your new chicks to arrive in a custom made reinforced box.

You can rest assured your new flock members are safe with their additional 48 hour live delivery guarantee.

Pros:

  • Large breed selection
  • 90% sexing guarantee
  • 48 hour live delivery guarantee
  • All chickens are vaccinated

Cons:

  • Inconsistent pricing (based on breed)
  • Additional charges for health papers
  • 15 chicks minimum order requirement

Visit Murray McMurray Hatchery

Purely Poultry

Purely Poultry is a small Wisconsin based family-owned business.

They are a fairly new hatchery but are quickly gaining popularity for their emphasis on sustainability.

Their emphasis on breed diversity helps them to raise strong chicks that are genetically diverse. This hatchery certainly lives up to their purpose and carries over 300 different breeds of birds egg laying, meat, and/or ornamental.

Purely Poultry also offers a quick chick program that allows you to order chicks on the spot with free shipping and a minimum order of 10.

Similar to other hatcheries they also offer a 100% live guarantee and a 100% sexing guarantee.

Pros:

  • Wide variety of breeds available
  • Sustainable practices
  • Year-round availability
  • 100% sexing guarantee

Cons:

  • High shipping costs
  • $10 order change fee
  • Do not offer local pick ups

Visit Purely Poultry

Stromberg’s

Stromberg’s family owned business was created in 1921 after the Stromberg’s received 100 White Leghorn chicks to help produce extra income for their small Iowa farm. Little did they know they would eventually expand to offer 200 breeds and varieties of birds to the United States.

They now have North America’s largest selection of poultry supplies and equipment for all your bird raising and management needs.

Their minimum order quantity is 5 and their most popular breeds are Easter Eggers and Bantam Silkies.

Pros:

  • Wide variety of breeds
  • Short delivery time
  • 100% live chick guarantee

Cons:

  • No hatching guarantee
  • Do not provide shipping date before order
  • Extra vaccination fees per chick
  • Shipping fees for orders under $100

Visit Stromberg’s

The Chick Hatchery

The Chick Hatchery offers chicks, bantams, guinea keets, turkeys and waterfowl.

They are also a no kill poultry facility that ships their unsold chicks to large Amish farms.

If you are looking to do a small order then consider them because they ship as few as 3 total poultry, although there is a small order fee of $25 for orders of 3-14. They also offer a 100% live arrival guarantee and are well known for their Leghorns and broiler breeds.

Pros:

  • Minimum order 3 Chicks
  • No kill facility
  • 100% live arrival guarantee
  • NPIP certified

Cons:

  • Ship date not confirmed until after order is placed
  • Do not ship to Alaska and Hawaii
  • Expensive shipping
  • No local pickup

Visit Chick Hatchery

What Makes A Good Hatchery?

Chicken Brooder

Picking the right hatchery for your chicks requires a lot of work and research.

Those new to the hatchery world may be wondering how shopping for chicks online works and how to pick the best one.

A good hatchery will have a range of breeds to choose from.

While browsing breeds you should be able to select the number of chicks you wish to purchase. Keep in mind that some hatcheries allow you to mix and match different breeds, while some do not – this usually comes down to minimum order requirements.

When dealing with live animals, there are times when things do not go according to plan and chicks sadly die in transit or shortly after their arrival. It is for this reason that many hatcheries have policies in place to guarantee live chicks upon delivery and sometimes for up to 48 hours after pick-up.

Many of these hatcheries will offer full refunds or replacements if notified early enough.

Typically, a bad hatchery will not offer this policy to their customers.

Another common policy set in place in many hatcheries is a guarantee of sex accuracy. Guarantees typically range from 90-100% meaning that, out of 10 chicks for example, if 2 or more of the chicks were sexed incorrectly, a hatchery will refund or replace the chick(s) that were incorrectly sexed.

Sex mix-ups are quite common in the poultry industry as early sexing can be difficult at such a young age.

It is usually for this reason that many credible hatcheries offer sex accuracy guarantees.

Common Hatchery Rules and Terms Explained

Chicks Arriving

There are many rules and policies set in place at credible hatcheries that are there to ensure the well-being of the live animal as well as customer satisfaction.

Having order minimums set in place is a way to ensure that birds are kept warm and comfortable with a companion as well as to prevent shifting during their shipping journey. Many times hatcheries that do not have order minimums will require customers to purchase heating packs and/or straw to keep the chicks as comfortable as possible.

Certain states, such as New York, even have laws set in place to enforce minimum order requirements. Chicks under 8 weeks of age must be sold in groups of 6 minimum.

Many hatcheries will also not offer local pickups.

This is a biosecurity measure set forth by the National Poultry Improvement Program (NPIP).

Vaccinations are another important measure for reducing illness and/or death.

Marek’s disease is a common viral disease affecting chickens and vaccination serves to help chickens build resistance as there is no cure at the moment. It is for this reason that many hatcheries highly recommend vaccinating their poultry before purchasing them.

Which Chicken Hatchery Should You Pick?

There are a great deal of credible hatcheries available in the United States that can tailor to virtually any customer’s needs and requests.

You should look for hatcheries that offer low minimum orders, a wide selection of breeds, and evidence of naturally healthy chickens.

Such evidence can include a 100% live arrival guarantee, vaccination and/or offers of vaccination, and some form of sexing guarantee, as well as a shipping policy. Remember that weather can greatly increase or decrease your chicks’ survival rate and extreme weather conditions do not bode well for your fluffy flock members.

Check to see if your favorite hatcheries have several locations and pick the closest to you.

As long as you do your research, your new backyard flock members should arrive at your door with the click of a button with few to no issues.

Let us know in the comments section below which hatchery you picked…

Chris Lesley Bio Picture
Chris Lesley has been Raising Chickens for over 20 years and is a fourth generation chicken keeper. She can remember being a young child when her grandad first taught her how to hold and care for chickens. She also holds a certificate in Animal Behavior and Welfare and is interested in backyard chicken health and care.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*