Q: Why should I choose My Pet Chicken over another reputable hatchery?
A: There's nothing wrong with buying from other major hatcheries! Before My Pet Chicken was around, we bought from a number of reputable hatcheries, and were always happy with the birds and the service at each one. In fact, we have a list of other hatcheries and contact information for them, just in case we don't have what you want.
That said, people who keep small numbers of chickens as a hobby often prefer to buy from My Pet Chicken because we are geared to small backyard keepers of just a few birds at a time. Our minimum order is just three (rather than 25 most other hatcheries). Even other "small order" hatcheries may allow you to order just a few birds, but then add "extra males for warmth," meaning you are saddled with 15 extra roosters to rehome. This is something most keepers of pet chickens are just not interested in. My Pet Chicken NEVER adds extra males for warmth. Instead we use a long lasting, high tech heat pack to keep small numbers of babies warm, and our hatchery ships these small orders via Express Mail so the babies arrive faster, overnight in some locations. They are also shipped early in the week, so the babies will not be delayed over the weekend when the post office may be closed. (Some hatcheries ship Saturdays, and most ship Priority Mail rather than offering an Express option like My Pet Chicken does, so with some hatcheries, the babies are assured of spending at least two days in transit, sometimes three.) My Pet Chicken also has some extraordinarily rare breeds like Black Copper Marans, Swedish Flower Hens, and Seramas that are not offered by any other major hatchery.
Bantam Calico Cochin pair
We also have exclusive breeds and varieties like Favaucanas, Silchins, Olive Eggers, Carolina Blues and more. We hope we will always be able to offer some of the most sought after and rare breeds not offered elsewhere. We even offer rare and heirloom breed juveniles--and all our juveniles have their full, natural beaks.
Last, My Pet Chicken is the only place in the country that offers sexed day old bantams like silkies. Again, this service is geared toward people who want to keep small numbers of chickens in an urban or suburban setting as a hobby. Other hatcheries offer straight run mixes of bantams (meaning a mix of males and females). That would mean that you would need to order roughly twice as many silkies to get the number of females you desired, and of course there would be no guarantees as to the exact number of males and females in your mix. A ratio of 50-50 is just the average.
What it comes down to is that My Pet Chicken is geared to serving different types of customers from other hatcheries. My Pet Chicken is the best place to come if you want a small, cherry picked flock for your home and if you care about how the birds are raised and treated, and if you want real, live help from right here in the US. (You can phone us, chat with us online, or email.) At My Pet Chicken, we're there for you if you are just getting started in chickens and need in-depth help or advice. We're there for you if you want heirloom juveniles, or if you want juveniles with their full, natural beaks... or if you want exclusive, rare breeds and varieties not available elsewhere. If you live in a place where you can keep many chickens--25 or more--a different hatchery may work very well for you. It really depends on what you need and what type of service you are looking for. Many people order from My Pet Chicken in addition to other hatcheries. For instance, Martha Stewart rather famously orders many of her chickens from McMurray hatchery! But Ms. Stewart also loves My Pet Chicken, and comes to us for rare breeds like Jubilee Orpingtons, Lavender Wyandottes, and Penedesencas.
For the most part, chicks are chicks. They can vary based on breeding lines, but we have never heard anything bad about the lines of any major hatchery. But if you are looking for just a few chickens at a time, if you want rare breeds and varieties, if you want exclusive designer breeds if you want sexed bantams--or if you care about receiving juveniles with full, natural beaks in many fun heirloom breeds--then My Pet Chicken is really the best place to find them.