Frequently Asked Questions
Explore answers to commonly asked questions and gain insights into the world of poultry raising with Valley Hatchery. From shipping inquiries to poultry questions, our comprehensive FAQ section is designed to provide you with the information you need to make informed decisions and embark on a successful poultry-keeping journey. Whether you’re a seasoned enthusiast or new to the experience, we’re here to support you every step of the way.
Since 1918, the USPS has been shipping live day-old poultry via Priority Mail! When birds are hatched, they absorb their yolk sac for nutrition. They have plenty of nutrients to make their journey to you. We bring your babies to the post office the morning they are hatched and they begin their flight to you. Your Post Office will call you when they arrive for pickup.
Started Pullets are also shipped USPS Priority Mail. Orders are carefully boxed for safe arrival, and are shipped with a small amount of fresh produce to provide nutrients and hydration on their route to you. Note: Started Pullets cannot be shipped with day-old poultry, their ship dates vary from hatch dates.
For non-live shipments, we use the most economical as well as quickest way to you.
Our poultry shipments are sent USPS Priority Live and arrive safely within one to three days.
In the rare cases losses occur, Valley Hatchery LLC offers a 100% live arrival guarantee. The details can be found here.
We ship to the Contiguous United States. We cannot ship outside of the United States or to Alaska, Hawaii or Puerto Rico.
No. We mark our outgoing live parcels for the Post Office to hold for pickup. We put your phone number (and alternate if provided) on the parcel, noting for the Post Office to call on arrival. However, we always recommend calling your Post Office on ship day to let them know you have a live shipment on the way. They may take your contact info, just to be sure they have it!
In some cases, the local carrier may offer to deliver the chicks to you. We do not recommend this as the carrier vehicles are not heated or cooled and are not free of drafts. We highly recommend pickup.
Shipping day is a very busy day at the hatchery. We enter all shipment details into USPS and extract a report at the end of the ship day with your tracking number. We upload these tracking numbers in the evening after we have finished our ship day. We appreciate your patience. In the case your order does not ship as scheduled, we will reach out to you. We kindly ask not to call the hatchery on ship day to check on your order. With hundreds of orders shipping out, this can really slow down our ship day as it is often all-hands-on-deck. We assure you; we will follow up with you in the case of a delay.
It is important to note, that the tracking system USPS uses is NOT a complete, real-time report of the package’s location, and the system is still in its infancy. Please do not panic if the Tracking ID information shows that the package has not moved or doesn’t appear to be making progress, USPS tracking often estimates delivery several days later than they are due to arrive as the tracking system cannot recognize it is a LIVE shipment which is treated priority.
If your local post office lobby is closed on Saturdays, there’s usually someone working to process incoming trucks. They will contact you to coordinate pickup once the shipment arrives. If your local post office isn’t operational on Saturdays, they might have an arrangement with a neighboring post office that accepts live shipments. It’s advisable to call your post office before placing an order to understand their procedure. If Saturday delivery isn’t possible, opt for Monday shipping dates rather than Wednesday to ensure timely delivery before the weekend.
Ordering Day-Old Poultry: Live day-old poultry orders require a minimum of 3 total birds for shipping.
Minimum purchase quantities vary for each breed, sex, and variety based on type of poultry:
- Large Fowl Chickens (3)
- Bantam Chickens (5)
- Turkey (1)
- Ducks (1)
- Goslings (1)
- Guinea (5)
- Customers can order one cockerel chick with an order of pullets.
A minimum per breed, variety, and sex is necessary due to the time-sensitive process of sorting, sexing, and shipping chicks within a strict timeframe after hatching, particularly with a wide selection of 170+ breeds and varieties offered, ensuring safe and organized delivery.
Orders with fewer than 15 total day-old poultry incur a $25 small order fee.
Started Pullets: There is no minimum requirement for Started Pullets for shipping; you can order as few as one.
Day-Old Poultry: Estimated hatch or ship date projections are listed on each breed listing, they are updated throughout each day. When viewing you cart, the first available date for your selections will appear. At checkout, you can select this date or a later date, remember this is an estimate only. Your actual confirmed date may vary when your order is received, we will have our system confirm a date that has all the birds you chose available. We will email you your confirmed hatch date within 3 business days of your order being received. During our regular season, we hatch both Mondays & Wednesdays. We recommend always placing your orders early in the season if you prefer to raise your chicks during a specific time. We try to estimate as best as possible what our hatch will yield.
Started Pullets: Started Pullets ship on Tuesdays & generally ship within 2 weeks of orders being placed. A confirmed ship date will be emailed within 2-3 days of your order being placed.
Smaller orders of day-old poultry require additional handling, heat packs and care therefore a $25 Small Order Fee is charged for orders with fewer than 15 birds. To avoid this fee, add 15 or more birds to your cart.
As soon as you have a good idea of what you would like to order, you should get it in. We start accepting pre-orders for the upcoming season in December and hatch February-September. At checkout, you can select a ship date that works for you. Our chicks are sold on a first come basis, so it is ideal to get your order in sooner than later to ensure you get what you want.
We implement a minimum order requirement per breed, variety, and sex to ensure a seamless and efficient process of sorting, sexing, and shipping our chicks promptly after hatching. With our extensive selection of over 170 breeds and varieties, maintaining this minimum helps us manage a timely and organized delivery process, enabling safe arrival of your poultry.
Our dedicated team works within a tight schedule, shipping day-old poultry immediately after hatching and adhering to strict deadlines at the Post Office. This ensures the utmost care and health of your chicks. While we understand the desire for flexibility, orders consisting of only one or two breeds can significantly challenge our ability to provide timely fulfillment, especially on our busiest days.
We appreciate your understanding of our commitment to quality and efficiency. The minimum order requirement per breed is a crucial aspect of our operational success, allowing us to meet the demands of our valued customers while upholding our high standards. Thank you for your support and for entrusting us with your poultry needs.
Your card is charged when you place the order, ensuring the reservation of your birds in advance with payment.
We are headquartered in Ohio. We ship from our Ohio and Missouri facilities. Live Poultry is shipped from our regional post offices direct to you. Started Pullets are shipped directly from a family farm we are partnered with located in the beautiful State of Montana.
We do not have a storefront for local pick-up at this time.
For comprehensive information on caring for your mail-order poultry, we invite you to explore our Valley Hatchery Guide to Raising Mail-Order Poultry. This guide covers essential aspects of poultry care, including feeding, housing, health considerations, and more. By following these guidelines, you’ll ensure the well-being and happiness of your feathered friends. Access the guide here.
Prior to hatching poultry absorb a three-day supply of yolk. Shipping typically takes 2 to 3 days, and our packaging strategy varies based on seasonal factors and current travel conditions. Discover the comprehensive process that ensures the safe transit of chicks during shipping in our informative blog post: Understanding USPS & Day-old Chicks. Learn how USPS regulations, packaging standards, and timely deliveries contribute to the well-being of the chicks throughout their journey.
If you notice lethargy or the onset of pasty butt in the birds, a helpful solution is to add 4 tablespoons of Raw Organic Apple Cider Vinegar (with the mother) to every quart of water for 3-5 days. This can provide a boost to their well-being. For further guidance and comprehensive care instructions, refer to our Valley Hatchery Guide to Raising Mail-Order Poultry. Ensuring all their needs are met is vital for their health and vitality.
Marek’s disease is a viral infection affecting poultry, both commercial and backyard flocks. It’s highly contagious and can lead to significant losses in infected flocks. Learn about its nature, symptoms, vaccination choices, and protective measures in our dedicated blog: Marek’s Disease and Vaccination. Discover how you can safeguard your poultry and make informed choices regarding this risk. Please note that at Valley Hatchery, we offer Marek’s vaccination as an optional add-on during checkout for baby chickens, except Cornish Broilers. If not added, no vaccinations will be administered.
Hens will lay eggs with or without a rooster! Without a rooster, the eggs are infertile, they cannot develop into chicks. If you do have a rooster, eggs need to be collected daily and kept in a cool place before being used so that they won’t develop into chicks. Fertile eggs are perfectly safe to eat, and you would never even know!
It is important to keep in mind that sexing is not 100% accurate. You can find the details of our sexing guarantee here. It is important to have a plan in place what you will do if you do receive a rooster, you had not planned for. Many customers utilize Craigslist or other listing sites to rehome their unwanted roosters.
Straight Run: This term, listed as “Not Sexed” by Valley Hatchery, means that the chicks have not been sorted by gender when hatched. You’ll receive a mix of both male and female chicks. For more in-depth information on what to expect when ordering Straight Run chicks, explore our blog post: What Are Straight Run Chicks?
Pullet: In simple terms, pullets are female chicks. Valley Hatchery lists pullet chicks as females.
Cockerel: Cockerels are male chicks. Valley Hatchery designates them as Males in their listings.
Understanding these terms will help you select the right chicks for your flock, whether you’re aiming for a mix of genders or specific males or females.
Standard/Large-Fowl Chickens are regular-sized breeds bred for meat and egg production. Bantam Chickens are smaller, ornamental versions of chickens known for their unique feather patterns and friendly demeanor.
Most Standard Large Fowl Chicks can be brooded together. Guinea keets, bantam chicks and smaller ornamental breeds should be brooded separately due to their smaller size. Turkeys can be brooded with large fowl chicks. Waterfowl should always be brooded separately from other types of fowl.
Blue chickens do not breed true, therefore our blue to blue matings result in around 50% blue chicks, 25% black chicks, and 25% splash chicks. We will send as many blues as possible with your order, but you should also expect some black and splash chicks.