Day-old baby Chicks: Behind the Scenes

How can you can ship just 3-10 baby chicks* at a time?

Most hatcheries require 15 or 25 baby chicks per order because the chicks need one another's body heat to survive their 2-day journey. This is a big pain for lots of people who just want a few chickens! Since our goal in life (yes, our goal in life!) is to make your life easy, we've partnered with a forward-thinking hatchery that has developed a brand new way of shipping baby chicks that includes a high-tech, long- last heating element. This keeps the chicks nice and warm for their journey!

* We can ship as few as three baby chicks! Our minimums are based on your zip code, and how long the USPS tells us it will take for your order to arrive at your post office. The longer they tell us it will take, the higher your minimum, for the safety of your chicks. You can find out your minimum here.

How come nobody else offers sexed bantam chicks?

Every day we get calls from customers saying "Thank God I found you!". You're the only place that offers sexed bantam chicks. Then they ask how we do it. For starters, we tell them, we listen to our customers! Neighbors and roosters don't mix -- and so many of you REALLY want your fancy bantam breed female -- that we decided to offer a solution. That same forward-thinking hatchery that brought us the 3-chick minimum has allowed My Pet Chicken to be the very first, and only, source in the nation for sexed bantam chicks. (Can you tell we're excited about this?)

How come hatcheries only ship chicks when they're 1 day old?

For up to 72 hours after they hatch, baby chicks are still ingesting their yolk sacs. This provides them all the nourishment they need, which allows us the narrow window we need to ship them out. After 72 hours, their yolk sacs are gone and they need immediate access to food and water. Without it, they'll die. If we were to ship chicks at 3 days old or a week old, they surely wouldn't survive the trip.

Why are chicks sent via the US Postal Service?

Fed Ex, UPS and other private carriers will not mail live baby chicks! That leaves us with the Post Office. They've been delivering baby chicks reliably and with great care for decades. Those of you who purchase fewer than 15 chicks will receive yours via "Express Mail" service, while those that purchase 15 or more will receive yours via "Priority Mail".

If I order several breeds, will they all ship at once?

Yes! No matter how many different breeds of chicks you order, they'll always come to you in just one shipment. We'll figure out the soonest possible date when all the breeds are available, and book your order for that date.

How can baby chicks survive the shipping process?

For the first 72 hours after hatching, chicks are still ingesting their yolk sack. This gives them the nutrition they need to survive the journey from hatchery to home. As soon as you pick them up from the post office, though, they'll need some TLC including access to food, water and an environment that's about 95 degrees. To learn more about baby chick care, visit Chapter 4 of our free e-book,
The My Pet Chicken Guide to Chicken Care.

Why does it take up to 5 weeks to get my chicks?

We're all used to getting what we want, when we want it. While we try to accomodate your needs as much as possible, chickens are living, breathing beings -- and we are subject to their schedules. If a cold snap rolls through town, hens can slow down or stop laying altogether, throwing expected hatch numbers off track. Alternately, an unexpected demand for one breed or another can cause a temporary backorder. Also, we can't ship chicks mid-week. We hatch on Mondays and, in most cases, ship by Monday afternoon arriving at their new homes between Tuesday and Thursday.

Please keep this all in mind when you order your chicks. And if you do need your babies RIGHT away (hey, we understand!), just let us know and we can help you choose breeds that have availability for the upcoming Monday. Thanks in advance for your patience!

How are baby chicks "sexed"?

People commonly ask us how male and female chicks can be told apart, and the answer is quite interesting! Chicken sexing is an art, not a science, and people who do this as a profession can command up to several thousand dollars per day. Some breeds are easy to sex: males hatch out a different color than females. For most breeds, sexers look at the size and shape of their wing feathers or peek inside their "vent" to see barely visible tell-tale signs.

What happens if one of my chicks dies en route?

Our "live chick" rate is extremely high -- there are only problems with about 1 out of every 100 chicks shipped. That said, we offer a 100% "live" guarantee, so if you have any problems with chicks dying, just let us know within 48 hours of receiving your shipment! We will make good either with a replacement or credit.