Lesson 726 – Picking up chicks

Tomorrow a shipment of chicks is scheduled to arrive at our local Tractor Supply Store (it also happens to be my husband’s birthday – “Happy Birthday Marc, have yourself a chick!”)

I plan on being at the store bright and early to pick up 2 chicks for our flock. We already have an established flock and I only need a few replacements. I’ll start off with two and will add some later in the season. As I’ve mentioned laws have changed in New Hampshire and I’m no longer obligated to buy chicks in quantities of at least 12. I can buy 1, or 2, or basically as many, or as few as I want.

Last night at my chicken workshop, a participant asked me about those chicks they used to sell at Easter times that were dyed different colors. I can truthfully say that I’ve never seen chicks like that but I know they were around because many people remember them (we were a tiny green turtle kind of family when it came to Pet Store pets.) I’m pretty sure that they’ve stopped doing that to chicks. People were buying the babies because they were so adorable but quickly found out that a juvenile chick is something that sometimes only a mother could love and were quickly abandoning it.

Dyed Easter chicks

Dyed Easter chicks can you believe it?

I’ve never even heard of  those colored chicks around here. But I have heard stories of people buying regular chicks to use as party decorations for children’s birthday parties (Anyone want some free chicks? A sign will invariably appear on the work bulletin board the next day.)

Let’s face it, baby chicks are adorable. So cute, in fact that our Tractor Supply posts a sign near the chicks asking people not to kiss them. (You’ll have to wait until you get them home to do that.)

Which is why, I have some concerns about our new law in New Hampshire. While I understand that those who have backyard flocks often only need to buy a few birds, when you allow people to buy as few as one bird at a time, you allow people to use the chicks as disposable decorations and you allow kids who have a few bucks in their back pocket the opportunity to buy a chick to be used as an afternoon’s entertainment. (“You’re not going to bring that bird into *this* house.” will be heard at the end of the day.)

With Easter right around the corner, you can bet I’ll have my ears and eyes open to stories of how chicks are being used or misused. And if I hear stories of misuse, you can bet I’ll be contacting our elected officials to make an amendment to the law.  Perhaps the minimum quantity should be 2 or 3, perhaps you should be at least 18 years old before you can buy livestock or perhaps everything will be just fine and I’m (like a mother hen) worrying over nothing.

In a perfect world, only responsible chicken owners will buy the chicks. In a world, however, where sometimes there is a little less than perfection, people will need to speak up in order to protect these little creatures from what could be a serious lapse in judgment by others.

If it comes down to it, count me as one of those voices.


I just wrote a blog post for GRIT Magazine on how to pick out a healthy chick. It should go live this afternoon, when it does I’ll post the link. Here’s the link- Chicks Are Not Puppies.


I write about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact me at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even  a recipe or two.


Filed under Backyard Chickens, chicken care, New Hampshire

10 responses to “Lesson 726 – Picking up chicks

  1. Dying baby chicks is messier than cute. Monsanto, on the other hand, could genetically modify chicks so they hatch in cute pastel or vibrant colors and then the hues eventually (naturally) fade away. Then if the people who adopt chicks for unwholesome reasons don’t take care of them, the chicks grow as big as rheas or ostriches and then peck up the ungrateful humans.

  2. At first I thought the law sounded very strange but with your second point I understand it may have been designed to prevent impulse buying. I have seriously never thought of folks buying chicks as a decoration item. You can t buy chickens at too many public places in Australia. Usually direct from a breeder or at a farm supply store.

  3. I am not even sure that we have mail order chicks that folks in the US write about picking up at the post office. How does that work? Surely they are couriered and not put in with the regular mail? How long are they trapped in a box?

    • Wendy Thomas

      As soon as the chicks are hatched they are shipped in cage-like boxes. Right before a chick is born it absorbs the yolk and as a result doesn’t need food or water for the first 24 hours (which allows for shipping.)

      Back in the day, the US post office was very familiar with shipping chicks and while it does not happen in the numbers it used to, all post offices are still prepared to accept chicks, they just keep them in a warm spot and then contact the receiver to come pick them up sometimes in the middle of the night. (chicks will never be delivered to a mailbox)


  4. Oh that explains a lot. Thanks. Those postal staff are committed to work at night!

  5. Elizabeth

    I’m so thankful for Lauren’s blog tour… it has helped me to discover some awesome chicken blogs like yours! I’m extra excited about yours since I’m from NH too 🙂
    We just to moved and are finally able to have a flock of our own. I’m been SO excited all winter, unfortunately we won’t be able to get the coop built in time for all the chicks arriving at the feed and grain stores, sigh :/

    • Wendy Thomas

      But Elizabeth,

      Chicks need to stay indoors for the first 5 or 6 weeks, plenty of time to get that coop built 🙂

      Don’t know where you are located but if you’re local, you’re welcome to stop by and let me know if you have *any* questions about getting/raising chickens. Always willing to help another flock member out.


  6. Elizabeth

    Haha, that’s what I keep telling my husband!! I’ll keep prodding him 😉 I’m located in Sutton… and I right in thinking you’re near Nashua?

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