Do you sell sexed chicks?
The only sexed chicks we offer are Olive Egger pullets, as these are sexed at hatch by color and pattern. All of our other breeds and crosses are sold straight run, and customers have a 50/50 chance of recieving males or females. If you are looking for a certain number of female chicks, we'd suggest adding a few extras to your order.
Any extra male chicks at the end of hatch or grow outs for breeders are not slaughtered like most commercial hatcheries and instead given away to families in our community who raise them for meat.
How does shipping work for hatching eggs?
We ship Monday through Wednesday and on Saturday. Eggs are sent Priority Express through USPS and typically take 1-3 days to arrive. We pack our eggs in insulated foam shippers and they are double boxed to help minimize the damage that can happen during Transit. If Eggs are damaged in Transit the customer is required to file an insurance claim online at USPS.com.
How does shipping work for day old chicks?
Chicks are sent the day of hatch and packed with Grogel and heat packs to ensure they stay hydrated and warm during their trip. Chicks are sent Express through USPS and typically take 1-2 days to arrive.
From February to June we have a shipping minimum of 10 chicks to ensure that chicks stay warm enough during transit. During the peak Summer months, July-September, we drop the minimum to 6 chicks. We don't generally send many chick orders in Fall, but if we do, the minimum goes back up to 10.
Shipping is a flat rate of $60 per box. This includes cost of shipment, shipping box, Grogrel and heat packs for the chicks. 1 box holds up to 25 chicks. An order over 25 chicks will require a second shipping cost.
The chick shipping fee is a seperate item and will need to be added to the cart by the customer before checkout. We know that $60 may seem expensive, but it barely covers the cost of materials and the actual postage. It doesn't even touch the drive time or our time spent packing and labeling chicks. We are Husband and Wife team who breed unique chickens, not a hatchery. We can't negotiate lower rates and appreciate your understanding.
When are chicks avaliable?
For shipping, chicks are avaliable beginning of Feburary through early October.
We do have some hatches through the Fall and Winter that would provide chicks for those who want to do a farmgate pickup or live in a warmer climate.
Do you vaccinate your flock?
No, we do not vcaccinate our flock. Our birds are healthy and robust. We are tested yearly for disease as NPIP participants and customers can be confident that they are recieving healthy, happy chicks from our farm
How do you house your breeding stock?
All of our birds are kept in mobile chicken tractors that are moved daily. This provides our flocks with grass, bugs, fresh air and sunshine every day. The mobile tractors provide protection from predators and also keep our stock seperate to ensure there is no unintended crossing between breeds.
When are hatching eggs avaliable?
Hatching Eggs ship year round, as long as it is not too cold or too hot in the intended destination. The bulk of our sales begin in January and continue through October. If a later order is desired, we can usually work something out with our customers.
What sets your Farmstead Hatchery apart from other hatcheries?
Male chicks are not killed at hatch or during the grow-out stage for those males that do not make the cut for our breeding program. Many large and small scale hatcheries kill male chicks at hatch. We instead have formed relationships within our community and found families that take our extra males to raise for meat for their families.
Our birds are entirely on pasture. This keeps our stock healthy, and strong and ensures are customers recieve vigorous, healthy chicks.
We strive to raise all of our stock to the standard of perfection for their breed. In addition to that, we focus on two main principles - Temperment and Egg Color.
We breed for friendly, kind birds that have an even, calm demeanor. We do our best to select breeders that not only add value to their breed based on SOP, but bring a lot to the table with a good, calm demeanor. We have a young son and daughter who love to interact with our birds and help with daily farm chores. We do not keep or breed birds that we do not trust to behave around our children. We know that our customers may have families of their own with young children, and that it is so very important to only retain good tempered stock for saftey reasons.
Another uniqure aspect of our farm is the variety of egg colors we breed for. We have pure breeds and crosses we've created that hit all aspects of the rainbow color wheel. In addition to egg color, we have bred for unique phenotypes and have some stunning birds in our line up. Most of our crosses are unique to our Farm and as we are the first to breed and offer them. It is such a joy for us to breed these projects and share them with our customers.
Do you have laying hens for sale?
We do not generally have laying hens for sale. If we do, those will be offered locally and will either be hens that are 2 plus years old that are aging out of our breeding programs or extras from our grow outs that may not make the cut for one reason or the other.
Do you have a guarenteed hatch rate on shipped eggs?
No, we do not have a guarentee on shipped eggs. There are too many factors out of our control for us to be able to make a guarentee. In order to help ensure customers have a good hatch rate, we do the following:
1. We don't send eggs that are more than 4 days old
2. We pack our eggs very well. They are in foam insulated shippers and double boxed
3. All packages are insured. If for some reason the eggs arrive damaged, a claim needs to be made through the USPS by the customer with the tracking number.
4. If a customer has a hatch rate less than 50%, we do offer eggs at a slight discount
Please understand that buying hatching eggs is a RISK. We do everything in our power to ensure eggs arrive safely, but simply cannot guarentee any sort of hatch rate. We want our customers to have good rates. I understand that getting a poor rate on eggs is upsetting, it's happened to me a time or two (or ten) BUT please remember there's not much I can personally do about the rate.
What should I do once my hatching eggs arrived?
We recommend allowing the eggs to rest overnight with the fat end up. This gives the eggs a chance to settle, and allow any air cells to move back in place if they had a rough shipment. Once the eggs have rested they are then ready to go in the incubator and begin their hatching journey.
What incubation practices do you suggest?
This is a tricky questions, as some of the specifics such as humidity may need to change based on your altitude. These are some basic guidelines that could help customers get started in the right direction.
For the first 18 days we keep our incubator at 50% humidity, and eggs need to be rotated multiple times a day by hand or an egg turner. After 18 days, we bump the humidity to 60% and place the eggs in their final position for hatch. Day 18-21 are known as lockdown, meaning the eggs need to be undisturbed and the incubator should not be opened if possible. Opening the incubator during this time frame can have negative impact on the chicks that are hatching. The fluctuation in temperature or humidity can cause the chicks to shrink wrap and get stuck in their shells. If they are unable to turn and kick out of the shell the chicks will die. It is hard to leave the chicks be, but they do a good job of hatching on their own.
Do you recommend a certain incubator?
Yes, anything by GQF. They have everything from the large cabinent incubator that we use to realiable table top incubators that would be more suited for a hobby hatcher. They are easy to use and GQF has great customer service.
I haven't personally used any Brinsnea products, but have heard great things about their incubators are chick plate warmers. I plan to purchase one for myself to use for smaller hatches.