When you purchased a chicken from a farm that has no roosters or pens then that farm most likely orders babies in from out of state and flips them. Here at Live Oak Chicken Farm aka Chicken For Sale Houston, there is not 1 animal mail ordered. Why? There are laws against a child in a car, a dog, a cat in a car for a reason. Why would you buy a chicken that has been locked in a hot (or freezing) truck for 2 days with no food or water? This injures their organs and causes death just like it would in a human, dog, or cat. This often happens to them and their health is forever compromised but how would you know? Most people don't.
The only way to safely transport a chick for a long duration is if the animal has an exact heat source of 95 degree. Anything under or over compromises it's health. Why are there so many chicken flippers and not real breeding farms like us? Money. It is easy to sell someone a compromised shipped chicken for an easy profit. The seller buys them in volume to get them for $3 a piece and sells them to you for $15 to $25.
This will never stop because the shipper is owned by the government and it makes them a lot of money also. These are facts and the facts are not exaggerated. If you get your chickens from a flipper farm or a big box farm store they most likely will slowly pass away for the first few weeks. There are many articles out there that show that in the first 7 days 20% will pass away. That is just the start. What do you think will happen when the chickens body needs to start laying those high protein demand eggs? You can get the chicken to grow to a nice adult size but once that system need extra demands on those injured kidneys and livers from the awful shipping practiced it most likely will pass. This information is scary but it is real and is not talked about much in the chicken world. If I got your attention about these get rich quick flippers you will want to continue reading. The information provided will help you get a strong chick that will turn into a strong chicken that can live more than a decade!
HOW TO TELL IF THE "FARM" IS A CHICKEN FLIPPING BUSINESS
The first sign of a chicken flipper is a extremely large list of breeds. It is very rare that a farm with over 40 breeds would sell only local. If the list continue on and on the chances are they are mail ordered and flipped. Again this puts great stress on the animal often leading to mass deaths.
Secondly, if the farm deceives you by calling their mail ordered inventory "New Hatch". This wording makes you feel like you are getting a new hatched chicken straight from their farm. Unfortunately the chicks have been hatched up to a week earlier at these flipper farms. A true breeding farm will hatch often, every few days, and every week. If there is just 1 day of the month that claims to be hatch day that is most likely small batches mixed in to the enormous list of shipped and compromised chicks
Third. Roosters and pens. Again, If you don't see the same breed with all the same colors with a rooster in the same pen then that is a flipping farm. They might not have them in view so ask where the breeding chickens are. If the farm is not full of screaming roosters then you will most likely be buying a chicken that was mail ordered from 100's of miles away.
This cruel business model needs to be put to an end. The prices might be appealing but the outcome will cost you just as much if not more since the death rates will be high. Not only will you lose the money spent on the compromised chicken, the emotional anguish is not worth the attempt. Yes they have been shipping chickens for a long time. But there are many reasons why they still do and won't stop. Ask any post master how many dead chicks are sitting in the holding area of the local post office. Ask your mail person. The practice is really upsetting for the fact dogs, cats, and many other animals have protective right but chickens don't. They will continue to be shipped in 120 degree to 0 degree trucks at their first days here on the planet way outside their 95 degree comfort zone. It is indeed cruel for both the chickens and for the end consumer. But we do live in a world where if something is killed by dehydration, thermal damage, or squashing it is easy to look the other way. So the practice will continue. Support your real farmers and breeders! Don't support the retailers that breed 5% of their chickens and display the other 95% of their stock as "Their Hatches".
CHICKEN DEATH RATE OF FLIPPERS VS FARMERS
The industry has many articles about average death rates which some can be found in our Chicken Science section! The average death rate of chickens for the first 6 weeks of life should be close to 3-4%. The death rate of flipped chickens for the first 6 weeks is as high as 50% but no lower than 20%. At a real breeding farm that has strict bio security and balance nutrition will have a death rate of less than 3%.
Proudly at Live Oak Chicken Farm, we have a recorded death rate of .5%. That is a half of 1%! Feel free to ask us how we do it. It could turn into a long conversation though because it is not easy. A breeding farm is far different from Mega Hatcheries. Most large hatcheries have economy grade breeders. Nothing that can win shows typically. A breeding farm like Live Oak focuses on SOP (Standard of Perfection) typically. Show quality pure blooded chickens. It all starts with the most important ingredients. Feed and water!
The MUST be high quality because it all matters for what goes into the eggs we hatch here on site in custom built commercial incubators. The start of life in shipped chickens is not the quality that a breeding farm has because the feed would be to costly to give them fresh balanced feed. A lot of the major hatcheries by bulk feeds which typically are stored for months and often are imbalanced. This is due to the fact most cheap feed suppliers use the exact same company for stabilizing blends for the feed. Mass produced causes all sorts of problems including deficiency in minerals that are needed for the breeders. At Live Oak Chicken Farm, we ourselves drive out to the crops and mills in the middle of nowhere, where everything is made. We inspect then purchase if the grains are fresh. We then mix our own feeds via guides by A&M Poultry division, National Academy of Science, and other highly reputable institutions. This gives the animals both breeders and chicks ever last ingredient for a thriving happy life. If you come see us talk to me, Geoffrey, about feed. It is incredibly complex. If certain minerals are off we all know that the chicken won't grow, won't lay, could get ill, and even sadly die. Too much protein, too little protein, too much or too little calcium, phosphorus, vitamins, iron, etc all will harm the animal. The most common issue these days is feed because the big companies will send out the feed even if it is missing the right levels. This is due to supply chain issues, internal error, poor batches, etc. They send it out anyways because the 100ton of feed they incorrectly made would put them out of business if they have to destroy it. The feed goes out, hens stop laying, chicks don't thrive but the feed company continues.
WATER, water is very important. At Live Oak Chicken Farm we have extremely mineral rich well water from a 700' well. Year around 75 degree balanced water. You can give you chickens tap water but make sure it is not the hot texas summer 100 degree tap water. Do NOT use electrolytes unless the animal has been moved or is ill. If you do need to use them, use only for 3 days max. If you come to Live Oak Chicken Farm we do have a guide for beginners you can take. It is not a small but also not a large guide that is overwhelming to read.