Lesson 732 – Not picking up chicks


Last week I talked about how I was planning on picking up a few new chicks. From last fall, we’ve lost 4 of our older birds (out of a flock of 34) and so we have a little wiggle room to get some more flock members this season.

I was planning on getting 2 chicks now and then adding 2 more birds over the summer.

Last summer, in order to get any chicks in New Hampshire, you had to buy at least 12. As the chick buying laws have changed – you can now buy chicks in any quantity –  I went into our local Tractor Supply store ready to bring home 2 chicks.

“Can’t do that,” the clerk told me. “We sell chicks only in quantities of 6 and ducks in quantities of 2.”

I could respect that decision. In fact, I was okay with it and about ready to leave, when he added “It’s the New Hampshire law.”

Wait a minute. “No, it’s not,” I replied.

I know this for a fact, because I’ve been teaching about the new law since it was put into effect last July. I’ve even written articles for newspapers about the change in buying chicks.

Putting a minimum quantity on the amount of chicks you buy is *not* the New Hampshire law.

The clerk was confused. He made an attempt to “look up” the law in a notebook on the counter. Surprisingly (not) he couldn’t find any reference to it.

Needless to say, I left without any chicks.

When I got home, I called the main number for Tractor Supply Store. The nice woman on the phone told me that buying birds in a minimum quantity was a Tractor Supply Store policy put in place to ensure that the birds only went to “agriculturally minded households.” When I told her that that was fine, but that it wasn’t the law in New Hampshire, she asked if I wanted to be connected to Customer Service to make a complaint.

Not at all.

In fact I applaud, Tractor Supply’s attempt to protect the birds. I have long made public my concerns about the change New Hampshire made (I had visions of kids with a couple of dollars in their pocket buying a plaything for the afternoon.) And I think that having a lower minimum quantity purchase number is a good compromise (even though I was prepared to buy only 2 chicks) from a store that cares about what happens to it’s livestock.

Nope, no complaint from me, however, I do want Tractor Supply to recognize that they are operating under an individual store’s policy and they are not operating under the New Hampshire law.


I just wrote a blog post for GRIT Magazine on how to pick out a healthy chick.  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

3 responses to “Lesson 732 – Not picking up chicks

  1. Candice

    I agree that a minimum is a good thing. All the feed stores I’ve been to in WV and MD have them in place. Fortunately, however, since my main feed store KNOWS how many chickens I feed, he trusts that when I see a particular breed of chick for sale that if he sells me just one it will be going to a very safe environment and will be raised with hen-hatched babes. I’m lucky in that respect. But Tractor Supply should have its disclaimer straight and I’m glad you educated them on it.

  2. I went there too last Saturday and got the same response and the manager was quite adamant and not clear on what you just described: Store policy in the interest of the chicks.
    Granted no one wants to take a couple of chick home as “pets” (Easter right around the corner) and come to find out it’s not what they expected and the poor chicks wound wind up “missing” somewhere.
    Although I also applaud TS I think they should educate the staff on the proper messaging.
    By the time I got there they only had ducks . more to arrive today at end of day BTW.
    I am on the fence on getting new chicks, I always got them within weeks on ready to lay eggs so this would be a new chapter with new investment. I guess its a toss between growing them for start vs. risking what you taught in class about the bio and cross contamination. I had a couple of misses and a couple of good hits, so far my flock is good (8) and I got “approval” to add 4 more 🙂

  3. I appreciate your assertiveness, but compared to me I am much more confused, much more inconsistent, and much more assertive. I was taking a class two days ago given by someone who (like most people on Whidbey Island) considers herself incredibly tolerant and open-minded. I said, “I can offend the ordinary person in five minutes. I can offend people who consider themselves very tolerant, in ten minutes.”

    She looked at me sweetly and tolerantly. “I doubt that very much.”

    I gave her a Paddington Bear hard look. I said, “You don’t really want to test me on this . . .”

    Carefully, she said, “Maybe not . . .”

    (I make guineau hens look good. Trust me on this.) Guineau roosters?

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