Great question! Some breeds yes, some breeds no. Most of the breeds we work with are sold “straight run” which means we cannot guarantee that you will be receiving female chicks. The straight run breeds do not reveal their gender until around 6 weeks of age. If you do end up with males we cannot take them back because of the biosecurity protocol we need to follow to keep our flocks healthy. If you order straight run breeds it means you understand that roosters are a possibility with each chick and we will not refund or replace chicks that end up to be roos.
We do have specific breeds of chicks that we can guarantee to be female, those breeds will be clearly listed on the website and webstore. When purchasing straight run chicks you have a 50/50 chance of receiving hens/roosters. We never purposely put males into an order, we simply reach into then brooder and randomly grab chicks to fulfill each order that contains straight run chicks.
If you order a straight run breed (Such as Marans) it is good to order twice the amount of chicks as you would like to have hens of. For example, if you want four hens, order 8 chicks and chances are you will receive the number of hens you are after! It is rare, but occasionally someone will end up with all males of a straight run order of chicks – if this happens, take a photo and send it our way. We will make it right. We want everyone to of course end up with hens for fun egg colors.
Of the breeds we can guarantee to be female, we give the males away for free to local folks to raise for food. Not a single male hatched on the farm is killed as they are in large scale hatcheries. In supporting our farm/hatchery you are supporting humane hatching, and food security for folks who otherwise would not be able to afford meat protein in their lives. This program is something that is unique to our farm and hatchery.
We will announce when we will open our sales lists for chicks on our Instagram and Facebook When ordering chicks at that time you can select a preferred shipping date as early as Valentines day week and as far out as the middle of October. Chicks will begin shipping and being available for pickup Valentines day week of each season.
We now have a fantastic new checkout process that allows you to see chick availability week by week for both pickup and shipping of chicks. Need help ordering? This tutorial video will cover how to use our new checkout process for shipping.
If your chicks will be shipped to you we recommend reading this preparation guide. We ship our chicks on Tuesdays only. After placing your order you will receive a confirmation from us and one week before your shipment you will receive a tracking number and more details on the shipment. Once your chicks ship they will be held at your closest post office for you to come pick them up. The post office will give you a call as soon as they come in so you can go and collect them.
For shipped chicks we have a minimum of 10 from February-June and 6 from June-October to guarantee live arrival. If 10 or 6 chicks is more than you wanted to order we can pad your order with free male chicks so that all chicks have a safe journey from us to you. Shipping for chicks is a flat rate of $60 for express and all the comforts to give them a safe journey.
Chicks can be picked up directly from the farm and there is no minimum number you need to order, though we do recommend at least two because chickens are social creatures and one lone chick will not thrive well.
If you are looking to place a bulk order for chicks (over 30 chicks) we can offer wholesale pricing and a larger shipping box. Email us for a quote and shipping time, we are happy to help meet your flock needs!
If you are picking up your chicks from the farm you can select a pickup date and time and your chicks will be available to you via our self serve farmstand infront of our front gate.
Chicken Hatching Eggs:
We have hatching eggs available at different times of the year, for the most up to date availability see our calendar on each hatching egg breed.
We ship all orders of hatching eggs on Tuesday mornings along with our chicks. Any orders needing to be shipped on a Tuesday must be made and 5pm on the previous Sunday.
There are no minimums for shipped eggs, the shipping/handling cost is a flat $30 for up to 2 dozen chicken eggs anywhere in the US. For orders over 2 dozen eggs we will need to charge a second shipping fee. We do not guarantee any hatch rate on our shipped eggs but we can guarantee that they will arrive intact and that they will be fertile. We now are 100% plastic free in our shipping process of both hatching eggs and baby chicks – woohoo!
Our farm is not open to the public due to needing to maintain good biosecurity for the health of our flocks and our NPIP certification. We are however open for egg and chick pickup appointments if you are local and would like to pick your new flock members up. The easiest way to get the process started is to make an order through our online store on this website. You can either prepay for your eggs/chicks at that time through paypal or select “check payment” and pay with cash or check made out to Alchemist Farm when you come for your pickup appointment. Pickup appointments are available on Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday each week.
We do not sell pullets or laying hens unless we have a special sale which is typically announced through our email list or our instagram and facebook accounts. To stay updated on all of our current sales and happenings on the farm we recommend following us on both platforms. We can be found at @AlchemistFarm
It is always best to start with how many hens you would like to end up with and work your way up from that number. So! If you want 10 hens you will want to hatch 20 eggs (this is assuming that 1/2 will be males) the worst case scenario in shipping is that 50% of the eggs will not hatch so you would actually want to order 40 eggs (we sell by the dozen so you would want to go for 48 eggs or 4 dozen).
Whenever I order hatching eggs to refresh the genetics on our farm these are the numbers I use. It is always the safe bet and I usually end up with extra chicks along the way which is great because inevitably something happens in the brooder (one gets stuck in the waterer no matter how well you prepare it or one hatches weaker than the others) having a few extra chicks helps to buffer the numbers of possible loss and set you up for success!.
A handful of days before your shipping date we will send you your tracking number for your chicks and you will start to see movement on the number come Tuesday. We ship every Tuesday morning. Shipping on the chicks can take anywhere from 1-3 days depending on the route between our local post office in Sebastopol California and your local postoffice. We pack the chicks with a heat pack and enough gro gel to last them a journey of 4 days should the mail take longer than expected. We have shipping minimums of 10 chicks between February-June 1st to ensure that the chicks stay warm and secure while in transit.
When your chicks begin their journey of travel it is a good idea to set up your brooder at home so that it is all ready for them when you get them home. We recommend a nice warm space with feeders and clean waterers setup. We favor heat lamps as a source of heat AS LONG AS THEY ARE EXTRA EXRTA secure so that there is no chance of them falling into the brooder and causing a fire. Lots of folks prefer using heat plates for their chicks, it is not something that we use at the farm because we find that the chicks clump up under them and can get squished. A heat lamp that is at an appropriate height will allow for the chicks to draw near to it for heat or away from it if they want to cool down.
When your chicks arrive at your local post office they will be held there for you to pick them up. Your phone number will be written on the top of the box and your post office will call you as soon as they arrive (sometimes very early in the morning) for you to come scoop them up. Before you leave for the post office go ahead and turn your brooder warming source on so that your brooder will be warm and cozy for them when you get them home.
When you get to the post office please open your box and make sure all of the chicks arrived safely. If any did not make the journey please take a photo of the perished chick inside of the box with the live ones so we can either refund or replace the chick for you.
Once getting your chicks home allow them to get settled in alone for an hour. Let them stretch their legs, explore their new space, get a drink and relax before cuddling them. If a chick is looking sad or like it needs some extra love then you can hold it close to you to give it warmth and it will come around swiftly.
We recommend putting some powdered vitamins and electrolytes in your chicks waterer for the first week that they arrive at your home to help ease the transitional stress of travel. Powdered probiotics also will help boost the immune system of your birds from an early age and help them ward off any possible pathogens that they will encounter of the course of their life. Both probiotics and electrolyte resources can be found here both are inexpensive and really effective!
We do not sell any of our breeding or laying hens during the hatching season but sometimes we sell a limited number of each of our breeds as adults come September 1st. To be first in the know about our hen sales, sign up for our email list on the contact section of our website. We make our announcement there a few months in advance of hen sales so everyone can prepare.
The birds we offer doing our hen sales will be one year of age at the time of sale so you will receive plenty of egg laying years from them.
We wrote a great article that can be accessed here on our humane breeding and hatching practices which we are proud to be pioneers of.
We are also the only hatchery in the United States that runs on 100% solar power generated here on our farm. Every chick we hatch is hatched by the sun!
We are committed to ecological preservation and believe that chickens can play a vital role in that process. From keeping your food scraps out of the landfill by eating them to providing protein and fertilizer for a home garden. Chickens are incredible allies.
All of our packing for our hatching eggs and chicks is 100% biodegradable and plastic free. Each package comes with a care guide on how to properly dispose of the shipping materials so they do not end up in the landfill.
Every year we select one nonprofit to donate a portion of our proceeds too. From feeding elementary school aged children to preserving critical areas of the rainforest – every purchase you make through us goes to support the global community. You can learn more about the latest projects we are supporting in the “community support” section of our website.
At this time we are NPIP certified and our flocks are closed meaning we do not bring any new birds onto our property that could possibly infect our current chickens and spread disease. Disease can also be spread from other folks who own chickens from the bottom of their shoes, clothing and even hair! To protect our flock and your future chicks/pullets we do not allow folks to enter the farm. I know it can seem strange and unfriendly but please know that we take our flocks health seriously, when you pick up birds from us you can have the confidence that they came from healthy robust parents. When coming to pick up chicks, hatching eggs or hens when they are available, you will need an appointment.
Once your appointment is made your order will be waiting for you in our self serve farmstand infront of our front gate.
We begin incubating eggs from all of our breeding groups in late January and our first chicks are shipped out and picked up come Valentines Day week in February. We incubate all of the breeds listed on our website until late September each year and our last shipment/pickup date is the first week of October.
If you are interested in securing specific breeds on a specific date then you can prepay for them through our online farm store on their website so they are held for you. Most folks like to buy chicks in the spring because nothing is more cute than a fresh fluffy chick around easter. It takes roughly 5 months for a chick to reach egg laying age so think about that when ordering your chicks. In our mind, purchasing chicks in late June is the best way to go about it because the chicks do their growing over the fall/winter and by the time spring rolls around they will be full grown mature ladies ready to lay all spring and summer!
For farm pickups: we can guarantee their health for four days, after that if they pass away we cannot refund you for them. If picking up your chicks from the farm we will provide you with a “caring for your baby chicks” instruction sheet to give them the best possible start.
For shipping: we guarantee live arrival of our baby chicks if you are receiving them in the mail. If any chicks perish in transit take a photo of them in their shipping box and we will issue you a credit for any that did not make the journey.
We do not vaccinate our chicks. We have each of our birds tested by the state twice a year to be free of diseases so we know we are providing our customers with the healthiest birds possible.
We do not vaccinate for Mareks disease because the vaccine that small scale breeders like us have access to is one that is not as potent as those of larger scale hatcheries. The vaccine can offer a degree of protection for a flock but stress is the number one thing that can harm a flock. Mareks is everywhere in the soil and it can only take hold in a chicken if they have a weakened immune system. We do everything we can to ensure that our birds are healthy including fresh water, food, pasture and full sunshine daily. All our chicks and adult birds are given vitamins/electrolytes and a monthly apple cider vinegar “wormer” in their water monthly to make sure they are in good shape. None of our birds are put into breeding cages or pens, all breeds are kept in separate parts of our property in mobile chicken trailers so they can be moved to fresh pasture and free range in their zone without the issue of cross breeding.
Will You Vaccinate My Chicks
We do not vaccinate chicks to order because of all of the reasons listed above.
What Do You Feed Your Chickens
We feed our chicks and adult chickens unmedicated GMO free feed. We are able to use unmedicated feed because we keep our brooders in pristine clean condition. Medicated feed is necesary to protect growing chicks from coccidiosis which is a bacterial buildup in their systems due to unclean brooding conditions. If you know you will be on top of cleaning your brooder regularly then medicated feed is unnecessary. We supplement our chicks diet with vitamins and minerals in their water every month which is essential for growing chicks and egg production later in life.
We have tinkered with all sorts of natural remedies for pests and odors that can come with keeping a coop. After much trial and error we have found that using Lime is the best natural solution that is safe for your birds and your family to be around. We recommend using First Saturday Lime’s powdered lime. When making your purchase us the promo code Alchemist and you will receive 10% off your purchase!
Due to the biosecurity we need to maintain on the farm for the health of all of our birds we cannot take back any birds once they have left the property. If you are in Sonoma County we recommend reaching out to Western Farm supply in Santa Rosa – they purchase roos and sell them back to other folks looking to add roos to their flocks.