It is worth the effort to try to get your chicks locally, so that they little guys don’t have to be stressed by being packed and shipped before they get to you. Going through the mail is tough on chicks.
I thought we were getting all of our chicks locally, but I was wrong about the place we got our Easter Egger and Barred Plymouth Rock from. I had gotten the impression from the website (and their prices) that they got them from local breeders. Goes to show you that you should always ask explicitly. But the chicks are doing well and have amazing personalities, so it worked out.
We ended up getting 6 chicks locally from Cheryl Cohen at Omelet Ranch, who not only sold us gorgeous chicks but who is also a super nice person and clearly a lover of chickens. It felt great to get chicks I knew were of great quality, were hatched with care and love and that we were supporting a small local business. She really focuses on quality and seeks out only the best eggs to hatch. She also breeds some of her own chickens. I love her focus on rare and heritage breeds as well. She is the one who introduced me to Mottled Javas and Blue Birchen Marans, since she was planning on hatching them when I first reached out to her. And now we have 2 of each of them! Plus 2 Wheaten/Blue Wheaten Ameraucanas. Her chicks are sold straight-run (gender unknown), which is why we have 2 of each breed. We are hoping we end up with at least one girl of each since we can only keep hens. Another point to note is that some small scale operations do not vaccinate for Marek’s, but Cheryl does, yay!
If you are in within driving distance to Lafayette, CA, I highly suggest you reach out to her to see what she is planning to hatch. Perhaps she’ll be hatching something you’re looking for or didn’t know you had to have! It was well worth the hour drive to get them and get to meet the person who hatched our new family additions. We actually did the drive 2 weekends in a row because we fell in love with the Blue Birchen Marans babies she had just hatched when we picked up our first batch!
Here’s her info:
- Website: Omelet Ranch (looks like it is still under construction but her email is listed)
- Backyard Chickens Profile: Omelet Ranch, Cheryl Cohen
Some breeders and/or people who hatch eggs in Silicon Valley + links to find others close to you:
- Home Schooled Chickens (Mountain View, CA) – Amberlin Wu gets high quality eggs, focusing on harder to find breeds, and hatches them in her home with lots of care. She invited us over to her home to meet her chickens, see her set up and talk about chicken breeds. What a wealth of information, and super nice. She is also an active member of the Sillicon Valley chicken group on Yahoo! Visit her site to see what she is planning on hatching! She sells only straight run chicks and doesn’t always vaccinate, so be sure to ask about vaccinating if that is important to you.
- Little Cluckers (Menlo Park, CA) – I have heard nothing but great things about Little Cluckers and owner Sarah. While I haven’t met Sarah, I am indebted to her for the great information and advise she has shared though the Silicon Valley chicken group on Yahoo! She often brings in day old chicks from hatcheries (i.e. ones that have gone through the mail) but if you are going to get ones through the mail, then getting them through, what I’ll call a broker is the way to go since the chicks you’ll see will obviously survived the trip, you’ll be able to see and pick as many or as few as you want from a variety of breeds. I’ve included her here in this article on getting local (not mailed) chicks since she does also hatch chicks. Check out her site or drop her a note to see what she is planning.
- Find a local backyard chicken group – Look online for local chicken groups and they’ll be able to connect you to local breeders. That is how I found Omlet Ranch! I’m a member of the Silicon Valley Chickens and California Chickens.
- Search on Backyard Chickens – If you have been doing any kind of research on chicken keeping I am sure you have run across Backyard Chickens (BYC). Join the forum and search for local breeders or post an entry asking for anyone local hatching the breeds you are looking for.