A slice of

Sourcing your

Buyers guide

Choosing a Breed

Beginners Buying Guide

Where to buy: check all stock using the health signs below before purchase
• From advertisements in smallholding magazines such as Country Smallholding, Smallholder, Your Chickens, Fancy Fowl, Practical Poultry
• From private breeders who exhibit at poultry shows
• From private breeders, ask to see the parent stock
• At small sales and talk to the breeder

Where to avoid
• Large sales/auctions as prices can escalate and there may not be any history with the birds such as how old they are, their health status and how they have been reared.
• Adverts in local newspapers may be genuine or may be dodgy, such as selling end-of-lay battery hens as POL free-range birds – if it sounds good, go to see the birds before purchase.
• Car boot sales and the internet – lack of history again.

Positive signs of health in chickens
• dry nostrils
• a red comb (some breeds have naturally dark ones)
• bright eyes (colour varies with breed)
• shiny feathers (all present)
• good weight and musculature for age
• clean vent feathers with no smell
• smooth shanks
• straight toes
• the bird alert and active.

Healthy head, Marans bantam hen