Q: Do you sell older chickens?
A: Yes! We usually have two or three batches of juvenile 6-week-old chickens available each year at various times. They do sell out very quickly, so keep your eyes peeled for availability. They sell so fast because, unlike other hatcheries, My Pet Chicken often has a selection of several rare and heirloom varieties like Black Copper Marans, Speckled Sussex, Welsummers, Easter Eggers, and so on. Most hatcheries offer started pullets in only a few limited high-production breeds like Red or Black Stars (or other sex-linked varieties), Rhode Island Reds, or Leghorns. We don't know of any other hatchery that offers started heirloom varieties.
When our heirloom juveniles are available, you will be able to see them listed in the "6-Week-Old Chickens" section. In the blue navigation menu on the left of this page (and on the left of every page of our website), scroll down past the "Private Breeder Hatching Eggs" section, then click on the "6-Week-Old Chickens" link to see what is available. If you would like to receive notifications when the next batch will be orderable, we share that information in our once-monthly newsletter. You can sign up for that on our home page.
Another reason many pet chicken enthusiasts like to buy started pullets from us is that other hatcheries "trim" the beaks of their started pullets, which we feel is cruel and unnecessary! Trimming beaks is usually done by burning or searing off part of a baby chick's upper beak. This is done so hatcheries can raise the birds in crowded conditions that usually drive the birds to peck at and hurt one another. (These high-production, beak trimmed birds are often purchased by factory farms to be kept in far worse conditions). By contrast, My Pet Chicken offers non-beak-trimmed started pullets. All our started pullets have their full, natural beaks because we require them to be raised in an environment with plenty of room and real human care. Having their full beaks also means they can preen and forage normally when they have reached your home.
When trying to decide whether you want to order chicks or older birds, there are pros and cons for each choice. You will most certainly have a greater choice of breeds when you choose to purchase day-old baby chicks. Rare and heirloom breeds are not usually offered as started pullets from other hatcheries, although as we've mentioned, if you choose to order from My Pet Chicken we do offer limited heirloom varieties. Another con is that started pullets are more expensive to buy, and significantly more expensive to ship. On the "pro" side, if you're in a hurry for eggs, your birds will be laying far sooner if you purchase started pullets. You can get fewer birds (as few as two), even in areas where your baby chick safe shipping minimum might be eight. For that reason, started pullets are often a good choice if you can only keep a very small number of birds, and would rather invest in an older bird than in the time and feed it will cost to feed baby chicks while they grow up to laying age.