I remember last year TSC had what they called "chick days", does anyone know when that is? Also, can they place a specific order of chicks for you? I want to get some new chickens but I don't need nor want 25 which seems to be the normal minimum order for most hatcheries.
Our local feed store lets you preorder specfic breeds (they offer 5-6 different breeds period) and here they don't care if you order 1 or 150 (which a few people amazinly do). You pick them up and pay for them on chick day. You would really have to ask the manager if the store does this.
TSC (at least the ones local to me) have NO IDEA what chicks they are selling. They are binned by color (blacks, whites, reds) and then a bin full of bantams and a bin full of silkies. Oh, and they were mismarked (the black bin was supposedly full of black australorps but when I called their supplier it was confirmed that there were black australorps, black jersey giants, black sex-links and something else). Just so ya are aware.
I've had MUCH better luck with a local feed store that you can order from (as few chicks as you like) and pick the breeds and which ship date you want them on. Much better service.
You can get small quantities from Cackle Hatchery, but you sure pay for them! Probably your are paying for special packaging to keep just a few chicks warm enough to survive shipping. www.cacklehatchery.com The regular minimum is 15.
We have bought chicks at the feed store that were mis-labeled, too. Not TSC, but another chain in our area called Orschelns.
I talked to someone at my local TSC yesterday. She said that it would be starting at the end of March and that I could only order a minimum of 25 of one specific breed. No thanks. Our local farmers co op lets you order whatever you want through Ideal and save on shipping. Since they order every week they just throw our order in with theirs.
I was freight receiver at a (horrible) TSC for a few years.
No, no one in the store knows what breeds of chicks/ducklings are coming. Really. When an employeee tells you that, I can promise you that not even the manager or receiver knows, and they are not being lazy or lying to you. They really do not know. This is all arranged at the corporate level. And up until the day that the first shipment is received, they also do not know which hatchery the chicks/ducklings are coming from.
Last year, the store I worked at got them from Privett, in New Mexico. They underbid the previous hatchery, Ideal. Large numbers of dead chicks and ducklings in the boxes upon opening, weak chicks, quite a few deformed, and one box took 5 days to arrive. Guess what I found when I opened the box.... The previous years I had virtually no problems AT ALL with chicks from Ideal.
As mentioned, TSC cannot place an order for less than 25 chicks, which is what most hatcheries require.
I didn't even buy my own chicks from TSC. In most stores, customers freely handle the chicks, which is definitely a no no in terms of disease prevention. People would pick them up, play with them, let their children play with them, let them run loose on the floor, carry them around until they were through shopping, etc. Even lost several chicks and ducklings to broken necks from being played with (had to write them off to 'defective merchandise, believe it or not). One day I was speaking to a man fishing around in the chicks, and he was telling me his chickens were all dying from 'the puss eye'. I questioned him further and believe his chickens had infectious coryza, which is quite infectious and has high mortality. That was the end of people handling the day old chicks. I caused quite a flap when I absolutely refused, even against the district managers orders, to let customers freely handle the birds. I felt if I was responsible for them, they would be cared for to my much more rigid standards in order to prevent disease and injury. I won.
Sorry for the rant, but if you want really good quality birds, your money will be better spent somewhere else. I know how the whole 'chick days' event works, and believe me, it's more about selling all the accessories than it is the chicks.
Last year we had a large Chicken sale, with chicks and young chickens sold by other farmers at the outside Flea Market. We went and just checked out what they had. We didn't buy, but they had chickens of every variety. Instead, we bought several chicks from TSC, they didn't survive long. I raised 50 chicks before (from McMurray) with only one or two dying. We plan to go to the chicken sale this spring to purchase some of the young chickens-looking for some good layers. I will not buy from TSC again.
I was talking to the girls at TSC last week, and she said also that they got what they got from the corporate level. She also said that she was thinking of putting the brooders in a dog kennel to keep the people and kids away from them. She also mentioned about everyone playing with them.
Hmm Thank you for the input. I will be avoiding TSC chicks because you made some very valid points, JuliaAnn. I don't want to introduce disease into my current chickens and don't want to spend a lot on chicks only to have them die. Plus TSC's custom orders don't offer a lot of options - at least not the birds I wanted.
lol, I called two TSC earlier this year and asked what breed of ducks they carry. At the first one the boy that answered flat out told me they had no idea it was just whatever they were sent. The second TSC the little feller that answered put the phone down and asked the manager. They said they didn't know but it was probably the most common type of duck available.
We ended up ordering from Metzer for our ducks since we wanted a good egg-laying duck.
We ordered cornich x's from Orschelens last year, I cant recall if there was a minumum or not. No shipping charge. Ours were packaged seperately, they called us and we picked them up that day, they were never put out with the others on the sales floor. We lost 2 out of 40... They do have it set up where people cant touch them, I have noticed kids playing with the chicks at TSC..
Check with your local mom & pop type feed stores that are around you. We have one that we do most of our buisness with as far as feed, etc. for all the animals & they have a list of things they sell in the spring, any quantity of anything you want from pheasants, turkeys, all different kinds of chicks, ducks, etc. Another good thing ordering from them you can specify straight run, pullets, etc.
They also do there own what they call chick days in early spring & for every bag of poultry feed you buy you get 10 chicks free.
She's going to have chicks tomorrow or Friday, and she's going to have so many different breeds, I can't remember all of them. She only gets pullets, but I think if you want a rooster, she can order it for you.
April, try running an ad on Craigslist asking if there is anyone who wants to split an order of chicks with you.
Or, order the minimum, which might be somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 chicks and sell the ones you don't want. Get sexed chicks, all pullets, and get a desirable breed and you should be able to easily sell groups of 2-3. Lots of people don't want 15-25 chicks.
I try to avoid TSC and co-op when it's chick days, because I always end up taking some home. I've never had any of them die. I think because our TSC has one knowledgable person who kept the weak ones separate. At least when you go pick them out, you can pick the strongest looking ones. I picked a bunch of cochin roosters last year that were mean as the dickens. I wonder what happened to those roos? Oh, there they are in quart jars of chicken soup. With chick season approaching, please stay strong and if you have to go to the feed store or TSC, don't take any children with you.
The warnings about mis-handled chicks, stressed chicks being put into wrong bins, etc are sadly a fact of life. The savings? Not much. Good for picking up 4 or 5 chicks, to save shipping, but I find it much better to choose the hatchery myself and split an order of 25 with someone in the area.