How Do We Determine Chick Numbers For Hatch Dates?

by Linda F

Published August 10, 2020

For Meyer Hatchery’s chicks that we offer for sale, creating inventory for hatch dates starts long before the actual hatch. We begin by estimating how many eggs we will have to set. This is based on prior experience, current numbers of hens and roosters, the average number of eggs laid for each breed, and other factors. As a general rule, we can expect a certain percentage of eggs to hatch. That gives us an estimate of the number of chicks for each breed that we will have available to sell.

When those eggs hatch, we know some will be unsexed and sold as straight run, some will be sexed and sold as male or female. We use this information to place our projected available inventory on the Meyer Hatchery website. We try to estimate conservatively to help avoid disappointment. However, the inventory you see on the website is a projected number. We are working with Mother Nature and her mysterious ways, so nothing is certain until the chicks actually hatch.

Day Old Chicks in Meyer Hatchery Bin

There are times that we will come up shorter than expected. When this happens, we do our best to notify affected customers by phone or email to resolve the issue on hatch day. There are other times when we have more chicks hatch than we expected. When that happens, the “surplus” chicks are made available for ordering on the website.

Should you ever receive a notification from us that there is an issue with your order, please call us as soon as possible. Calling sooner may allow us to give you more options for resolution. When we don’t receive a response from a customer about an order issue on hatch day, we need to decide if we should make a substitution, ship an order short, cancel or reschedule the order. Packing and shipping live chick orders goes fairly quickly on hatch days, so the available inventory changes rapidly, and minutes matter.

Meyer Hatchery Hatch Day

Knowing that it takes 21 days for chicken eggs to hatch in a well-controlled environment, the set days are planned well in advance to plan for Monday hatches or Tuesday hatches on the weeks with Monday federal holidays. We want the chicks to reach you safely, so we plan to hatch and ship on Tuesdays when the post offices are closed on Monday holidays.

The shipping department is up and at work bright and early on each hatch day. They start the day while most of us are sleeping soundly. This is why we often cannot make changes to an order on the scheduled hatch date. Many orders are filled and shipped well before normal business hours.

Pick-up orders begin at 10 AM on Monday mornings and 9 AM on Tuesdays. This does vary if Monday is a federal holiday. When that happens, pick-up orders would start Tuesday at 10 AM and Wednesday at 9 AM for weeks with Monday holidays.  Pick-up dates and times are listed on the email confirmations. When hatch day comes, we send emails to let customers know that an order is ready for pickup. If for some reason you don’t get the email, please check the spam or junk mail folder. If needed, give us a call to confirm the order is ready, but kindly wait until 10 AM. This gives us time to get the pick-up orders packed and send the Ready for Pick-Up notifications.   

How to Find a Common Hatch Date

When ordering a variety of breeds, one must find a common hatch date for all chicks on the order to ship together. Not every breed is available in every hatch. The best way to do this is to go to the What’s Hatching section on the website. From this page, you can click on the Filter By Week Available and select the hatch date you are interested in from the calendar. 

If there is a breed or breeds that are more difficult to find, one can select an available date for the difficult to find breed(s) and build an order around it based off of the others available on that date.

To find the dates a specific breed is available, search the breed. After selecting the breed, scroll down on that breed’s page and you will see the breed availability calendar with all the hatch dates available. This chart will show you the number of male, female, and straight run chicks that we expect to be available for each date.

Now you know how we can estimate and make available the numbers of chicks for sale on our website. Since you can see that our capacity is limited by the number of hens that lay the eggs, the capacity of the incubators, and the number of chicks that actually make it to hatch day, it’s easy to understand why many breeds sell quickly. Placing your order in winter for spring or summer chicks helps ensure that you get those rare breeds you desire!

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