Q: Do you guarantee the live delivery of your chicks?
A: Yes! Assuming you order at least six day-old chicks, Greenfire Farms’ Live Chick Guarantee extends through delivery and up to 72 hours after you receive the birds. If you end up with fewer chicks than you paid for, we will immediately reimburse you the value of the lost birds if you notify us of the loss within 72 hours of receiving the chicks. We do not send replacement chicks. You should know that, unfortunately, traveling through the postal system can takes its toll on day-old chicks. We take every precaution to minimize mortality, but it is fairly common to lose one or more chicks during shipment, especially if it takes more than 24 hours between shipment and delivery. We use heat packs when shipping small quantities of chicks in cool weather, and we make Gro-gel available to them to provide a source of nutrients and hydration during shipment. Even so losses happen. If you want to decrease the chance of having a chick die in shipment, we can usually arrange to have them shipped to arrive the same day through Delta Airlines, although this method usually at least doubles the shipping costs. If you order expensive chicks or if you’re simply the nervous type, these additional shipping costs are often warranted.
Q: What can I reasonably expect when I buy chickens from Greenfire Farms?
A: The chickens sold by Greenfire Farms are expensive because they are rare and costly to import. When you buy from us you can be confident that you are buying some of the rarest and most exotic poultry on the planet. But, “rare” does not equate to “perfect,” and the birds you buy may not be flawless physical specimens. Just as only a few children are destined to grow into supermodels, only a few chickens are destined to win ribbons at shows. Chickens, like all living things, show much individual variation, and frequently those variations are imperfections. Also, know that most of the chicken breeds we sell are so rare that there is no written standard for the breed against which an individual bird can be measured. You should also realize that the rarer the breed, the more likely you are to encounter problems related to inbreeding. For some breeds and varieties that we sell, the global breeding population consists of fewer than a hundred hens. Greenfire Farms does not sell birds with obvious, significant defects from inbreeding like crooked toes. But unfortunately less obvious flaws like low fertility, low disease resistance, and other challenges are not uncommon with extremely rare breeds. If you encounter these challenges when the birds become adults, you will need to address them with your own breeding plan. We cannot offer refunds or replacements at a later date if a defect becomes evident in your birds.
Q: Do you vaccinate the chickens you sell?
A: Yes, unless you specifically request otherwise we vaccinate our chicks for Marek’s disease. We do not vaccinate for other diseases. A few facts about Marek’s may be useful. Marek’s is a form of avian herpes virus that can cause severe nerve damage and tumors in chickens. A common symptom is partial paralysis. Once it manifests symptoms in a bird the bird will eventually die of the disease. It is not harmful to humans or other mammals. Other poultry diseases and some nutritional deficiencies cause symptoms similar to Marek’s, and it requires a necropsy to definitively diagnose Marek’s. Marek’s disease is very common in the United States—particularly in warm regions—and if your flock is not exhibiting symptoms it does mean that Marek’s is absent in the area or your flock. Many flocks have developed a resistance to Marek’s, and the disease is often present but hidden. Marek’s-resistant chickens can live normal lives without becoming symptomatic. The Marek’s vaccine we administer is based on a turkey herpes virus and does not pose a risk to any chickens in your flock if you mix our vaccinated birds with your unvaccinated birds. The vaccine is usually about 90% effective in preventing Marek’s disease in vaccinated chicks. It’s possible that despite the vaccination a bird that you purchase can later become infected with Marek’s. It’s also possible that a different strain of Marek’s could be on your property that is not easily defeated by the Marek’s vaccine that we administer. There are several strains of Marek’s and the vaccination is not effective against all. For these reasons we do not guarantee the birds we sell will not be susceptible to Marek’s, and we do not replace birds that become infected with Marek’s. But, we vaccinate the chicks at no cost to you to reduce the probability that your birds will become ill with Marek’s. Chickens imported from Europe often have an increased vulnerability to the strains of Marek’s in the United States. Some breeds like hedemora are very susceptible to Marek’s. Other breeds like American Bresse and Swedish flower hens show significant resistance to Marek’s. But, no matter which breed you raise, we recommend that you vaccinate for Marek’s if you hatch chicks from our stock.
Q: Can I place a deposit on some chickens so you’ll hold my place in line until they’re available?
A: Yes! On any order for birds over $100, you can send Greenfire Farms a $100 deposit and we will hold your place in line. Shortly before the birds become available to ship we will notify you, and you can pay the balance owed. If you cancel your order for any reason other than the birds have been delayed beyond the estimated ship date, your deposit or 50% of the cost of your order will be forfeited, whichever is greater. If we are unable to ship the birds by the estimated ship date and you cancel your order, your deposit will be refunded in full.
Q: Will you sell me a trio of birds or just a few females?
A: We usually sell only unsexed day-old chicks, not sexed individuals, pairs, or trios. The exception to this is for auto-sexing breeds like the cream legbar. We will sell sexed day-old chicks of auto-sexing breeds.
Q: Do you have a print catalog?
A: Sorry, no. But if you’re reading this online, you’re viewing our online catalog.
Q: How much do you charge for shipping birds? Do you ship internationally?
A: We ship only within the United States and Canada. Within the United States we charge $35 for shipping a box of up to 20 chicks and $80 for shipping a pair of juvenile chickens via the United States Postal Service. We can ship chicks via Delta Airlines for about $150 per box. Shipping to Canada costs more and requires a veterinary inspection. Please contact us if you want birds shipped to Canada.
Q: Do the listed prices for birds include shipping?
A: No. Shipping is an additional charge.
Q: How do you set the prices for your birds?
A: The short answer: The prices we charge reflect the increased costs we incur to make our chickens available to you.
Many of our birds are from imported stock, and it is very expensive to import birds. For example, just the USDA quarantine cost for a chicken is almost $300. Add to that the cost of shipping, permitting, Customs brokers, veterinary testing, buying the birds themselves, and the cost to import a single chicken can be $2,000 or more. There are ten separate fees just to get the birds processed through U.S. Customs. It costs as much to start a small breeding group as it does to buy a new car, and it takes many months of hard work to locate and import those birds.
You should also know that all breeders do not treat their stock in the same manner. At Greenfire Farms, we house our birds in large (expensive) pens and pay good people to clean up after them, feed them, and care for them. We are proud of the way we treat our animals –our farm was chosen by the USDA as the location to film one its instructional videos– and would encourage you to pick up your birds at the farm and see for yourself. This level of care costs a lot of money.
Can you buy less expensive birds that lay nice eggs and are fun to keep? Absolutely. You can go to the local feed store and buy perfectly nice chicks for $3 each. We can’t compete on price against large commercial hatcheries. But, we try to offer what they can’t offer: the very rarest chickens of the most beautiful and interesting varieties, raised in a comfortable and natural environment.
Q: What are your terms and conditions for ordering?
A: When our customers order from us, we ask that they read, understand, and agree to these terms and conditions.