We caution about this, because sadly there are unscrupulous people in the chicken industry that attempt to dupe non-suspecting buyers and especially new chicken owners into believing they are raising pure breeds when in fact they may be nothing more than crosses that resemble the pure breed.
Do your research, know what breeds you are interested in and learn something about that breed so you know what to look for in coloration, in structure and even the actual color of the eggs, especially if you are purchasing hatching eggs. Ask questions from farmer's, and actual experts, not just in a forum or someone that raises a handful of birds. Those individuals may be backyard enthusiasts but they are not experts.
Select birds that are suitable for your climate and your purpose. Are they intended only for laying or are they intended for a dual purpose as meat birds and good layers? Are you planning to exhibit your birds? All of these factors are important and reason enough to research a variety of breeds. If the description says hardy, that usually means they tolerate cold and heat well. Dual purpose means they are suitable as layers and as meat for the table. Other descriptions may include information about whether they commonly go broody (ready to set and raise chicks), whether they are top layers or whether they are raised for meat. Some meat varieties are not always good layers and some exhibition birds may not be suitable for egg production or as table meat.
Be sure to check with different suppliers of the breed or breeds you are interested in so you have something to evaluate. We have seen breeders raising some of the same rare breeds we raise, however the quality in that breed is lacking with some of those breeders.
Check with your local poultry farms. Do not be surprised if they will not allow you into their chicken runs or brooding areas, this is for the safety of their birds. Strict bio-security measures must be upheld to prevent pathogens from spreading, not only to their birds but your own if you have a pre-existing flock. Most can be observed through the fencing around those runs. Be looking for active birds and if you see chickens that are listless, or sneezing, have runny eyes or nose, scratching excessively, or lack luster in their feathering, or in general do not look healthy, steer clear of that farm.
Most farms will have equipment, tools, materials around and may appear unkempt, however if their chickens look healthy, and the runs and coop areas are clean that is what is important and what you should be looking for. Most farms do not have hired help to keep everything on their property tidy nor the means to remove debris.
When selecting chicks, observe the behavior. Most chicks should be active. The feathers should be fluffy, not matted and there should be no sneezing, coughing or runny eyes or nose and make sure there is no matting in the vent area that may indicate coccidiosis. Chicks do sleep a lot in the first few days, so be aware that some may sleep, but in general they should be active when there are disturbances. This applies no matter where you obtain those chicks. Most farm stores deal with reputable breeders, however chicks are shipped in, and they can be suffering from stress. Stress is one cause of coccidiosis and can lead to death. It is highly contagious, so if one or more chicks have a pasty butt, it is best to steer away from those chicks.
Even if you are not interested in rare or heritage purebred chicks, all information applies to crossbreeds or what we lovingly call barnies. Barnies, are some of the prettiest birds even if they do not have a fancy name or pedigree and they make some of the best layers as well as meat birds.
If you are ordering chicks via mail order, be aware that those chicks will be stressed when they arrive and it is not uncommon for some of those chicks to expire in transit or within a few days of arrival. The most important thing you can do is provide those chicks with electrolytes as soon as you settle them in, to help balance their delicate system. Have the brooder prepared ahead of time, with bedding, a balanced chick feed, fresh water and a heat source. Once the chicks are settled and warm, examine each one for any signs of illness or pasty butt. Treat as needed. Pasty butt is very serious if it goes without treatment. For our homemade electrolyte formula, refer to the link. justfowlingaround.weebly.com/chicken-coop-chatter-blog/homemade-electrolyte-formula
With all the chick catalogs and websites promoting chicks right now, it's easy to be swept away by the cuteness without taking other factors into consideration. And the old adage of if it's too good to be true; probably will be disappointing. In addition if it's way cheaper than another source, something is up with that, and most likely it's because those birds are not pure breed or they are what is called a *project bird*, that is not perfected or an experimental cross-breed. A little cheaper is not a red flag but drastically cheaper usually is, so buyer beware.
For Brooding and Care of Chicks, refer to the link:
For information and treatment for Coccidiosis refer to the link:
For our Rare and Heritage Breed Profiles and hatching eggs, refer to the link:
For our Chick prices, refer to the link: justfowlingaround.weebly.com/chick-price-list
Chicken Coop Chatter© All Rights Reserved 2011-2017
NOTES FROM OUR CUSTOMERS:
Shawna C~~WA state
JFA, we love our birds from you
Haley M~~WA state
We had a great time at your place today
Lm M-WA state.
you will enjoy them i picked some JFA chicks up a few weeks ago and they are the sweetest, friendliest little girls. all healthy and growing like weeds .
Stephanie M. WA state.
Birds awards... SFH Zsa Zsa Gabor got a Blue, Cream Legbar Cookie got a Blue, and the Red Sagitta named Flash got a blue SO all JFA birds took blues ribbon awards.
Lisa N~~WA State
Our latest two JFA Swedish gals....they hang out with our initial two SFHs, even though they came to our place several months apart. Cool, huh?
Dave M~~WA State
Picked up my birds this morning..... Thanks again, VERY MUCH.... Dave
Dave M~~WA State
Good morning..... Well I was having my San Francisco French Roast black, and Bride says, "That's a strange sound the rooster is making.... I listened... HEY.... that's the egg song... well, she (hen) was in the practice mode for about 15 minutes until she finally laid the egg and repeated the song... 44 grams... not bad for the first try
I'm so glad I found you folks at JFA... life is good....
Hannah S~~WA State
Hi, just want to let you know we LOVE our little ladies! Thank you so much! One of the Legbars is soooo sweet, she rides around my kids' heads & shoulders. They even brought her inside to watch TV lol. Her name is Iddle Chicken (how my youngest says 'little')