We’ve been buying baby chicks by U.S. mail from Murray McMurray Hatchery for 30-plus years. We’ll get a call from the postmaster, sometimes a bit flustered, because there’s a box there with peeping chicks awaiting pick-up. We’ll go get them and set them up with a light and feed and water, and lo and behold in three months we’ll have laying hens.
Minimum order is 25, so the chicks can warm each other in transit. We raise all of them and when they are teenaged, give or sell to neighbors. Raising 25 is no sweat.
Why get chickens by mail and not from your local feed store? McMurray has been in business for 90 years and their birds are of excellent stock. Lots of varieties to choose from. We’ve had not only Rhode Island Reds, Partridge Rocks and Auracanas for steady egg production, but exotics such as Cochins and Polish, as well as meat birds. They’ve all been top quality.
Get Murray’s hard copy catalog if you want to start a flock. Wonderful to look through. A few tips:
1. A dozen hens will give you plenty of eggs for you and your neighbors.
2. If you want fertile eggs, plan on ending up with one rooster for every dozen hens.
3. In more urban areas, get 4 or 5 hens, no rooster.
Once you have your own fresh eggs, you’ll never want store eggs again.
This Old English Breed with reddish brown feathers tipped with black spangles has a large rose comb covered with prominent points. They are white skinned and lay tinted eggs. Chicks (picture above) are a light reddish tan with black speckles and some stripes.
These small, active, lovely chickens have been raised along the Nile River in Egypt for centuries, and even though quite common there, are practically unknown in this country. We got our start of this very rare breed from one of the state universities whose poultry department was using them for special studies in genetics. No other breed matures quite so quickly as these do and the young pullets are apt to start laying their small tinted white eggs at 4 to 4-1/2 months while the cockerels will start to crow at an unbelievable 5 to 6 weeks. They are attractively marked with silvery white hackle and white bars on black background throughout the body plumage. Leg color can be either willow green or slate blue. Baby chicks are highly colored in brown, black, and white markings on the back and a brownish purple head color.