Where To Buy Chickens? Searching For Local Farms and Breeders

Between March and May and I managed to buy a total of 12 chickens. I bought them in groups of 3’s because I figured it’s easier for the chickens to adjust if they have a group of friends with them. I have one hen, Shadow. The two other chickens I bought her with ran away and now Shadow, is always by herself and doesn’t really spend much time with the rest of the flock. (For the first week, she even stood by the fence for hours at a time waiting for her friends to come back)

So in March when we first finished our coop, I looked all over for local places that had chickens for sale. People pointed me towards Tractor Supply, but they only sold baby chicks. And it was pretty much the same for most places, baby chicks only (it was Easter).

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But baby chick are way too much work, requires extra supplies, and well it takes forever before they start laying eggs.

Adult chickens, however are much harder to find. I bought two sets of chickens off of Craig’s List. I had to check Craig’s List almost daily before I found chickens for sale in my area. One set of chickens I bought from a local farm, Brodhecker Farm that I knew sold baby chicks seasonally, but just happened to have some adult chickens for sale that were almost laying age.

The newest set I bought from the Backyard Chickens forum. There’s a lot of baby chicks and fertilized eggs for sale in the forums, but occasionally you’ll see some adults on there. The three I bought were from a breeder that mostly sells chicks, but occasionally sells pullets if she has some left over.

When purchasing hens, I tried to take note of the conditions they were keeping the chickens in, how much space they had, that kind of thing. And in general, when introducing a new chicken to a flock, especially an older chicken, you want to keep them quarantined for about a month before letting them come in contact with the pre-established chickens. But because all my chickens were fairly new, I wasn’t too concerned with biosecurity.

And I think I’m done with buying chickens for the year. The Sussex County Poultry Show was a few weeks ago, so I think they temptation has passed! Next year, I plan to just wait for a broody hen, and then buy some fertilized eggs for them to hatch. With baby chicks, biosecurity is less of a concern and you don’t have to worry about chickens introducing diseases to your flock.

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My First Broody Hen

So one of my hens (Shadow) has been broody for about a week. She sits in her nest box all day and all night.

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I previously had a problem with chickens sleeping in the nest box while they weren’t broody, but after a week or two of me picking them up and placing them on the roost at night that seemed to correct the behavior.

When I looked up signs and symptoms of broody hens though, the typical behavior seems to be a purring noise (nope), and aggressive behavior when you approach (also nope). After a few days she did start puffing up a bit when I tried to move her to collect eggs.

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Shadow is also one of my more gentler chickens so I think that might be why she may not be displaying typical broody behavior.

But the reason I’m pretty sure it’s broodiness, is because when the other chickens slept in the nest box, they would leave a pile of poop for me to clean out in the morning. But Shadow spends all day and night in there and it’s been poop free.

So originally, I wanted to buy breeds of chickens that were known to go broody, because I wanted use them to hatch eggs, and raise chicks and not have to worry about that myself. But since I just bought three chickens (which makes ten total), Matt has put me on a chicken buying ban for the rest of the year!

And I’m hoping to figure out their brood schedule, so that by next year, It’ll be easier to figure out when they’re broody and I can buy some fertilized eggs right away.

My Tomatoes Are Out Of Control!

This is my second year trying to grow tomatoes from seed, and last year it went badly enough that I had pretty low expectations for this year.

But surprise, my tomato plants are completely taking over my kitchen!

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I know it’s a bit early, but I decided to transplant them outside this morning. They were growing so big, I was starting to get worried they would snap without some stakes. Anyway, it’s  late enough in the season that I don’t have to worry about frost, although I think ideally, you should wait until the temperature stays above 50 at night.