The first time we bought baby poultry, we picked them up from a local(ish) hatchery. The chicks hatched overnight, were sorted in the morning, and we picked them up in the afternoon. Happy, healthy chicks. The second time, the hatchery was halfway across the country but offered overnight shipping. That’s not a cheap option, but the birds were still happy and healthy when they arrived. Then we wanted to raise turkeys.
We ordered from a well known hatchery, and the only option was “shipping”. They shipped once a week. And USPS shipping was amazingly slow. So very slow. The USPS employee at the local central depot rang us on Saturday morning to see if we could come pick the birds up because he didn’t think they would survive until they were delivered on what would probably be Tuesday. We did, but only one of the birds survived even though we spent the weekend nursing sick birds.
Last year, we tried again — ordered from another well known hatchery. I couldn’t find a hatchery that offered overnight or two-day shipping. But I was able to find one willing to let me pay a little extra to have additional food added to the shipping box. The chicks arrived, but they were still not super spry.
This year, we hatched our first turkey poults. It’s amazing how much easier it is to get them eating and drinking when you start at day zero! The little guys spent about 12 hours in the incubator drying off, then they spent another 12+ hours sleeping under the heater. Then they were hopping around, investigating everything, and being birds. After sprinkling moistened food on the floor and adding tiny bits of plants (clover and dandelion greens) to the top of the water, the little guys were eating and drinking. And, when would find food or water … all of the other poults rush over to investigate.