Chick Days at Tractor Supply: Things To Know Before Buying

What is Chick Days at Tractor Supply?

Chick Days at Tractor Supply Co. is an eagerly anticipated event for many homesteaders. It marks the beginning of the spring season for backyard poultry enthusiasts across the country. This annual event, typically held from late winter to early spring, offers a wide variety of day-old chicks, ducklings, and sometimes even goslings, providing aspiring poultry keepers with the opportunity to start or expand their flocks.

Tractor Supply Company Chick Days have become a beloved tradition for many families, whether they are seasoned homesteaders or newcomers to the world of backyard poultry. The event not only offers a chance to purchase adorable baby birds but also serves as an educational resource, providing valuable information and resources to help customers raise healthy and happy flocks.

From Rhode Island Reds to Buff Orpingtons, Tractor Supply stores’ Chick Days often feature a diverse selection of popular breeds to choose from. Though not all breeds are available in-store, some may have to be ordered through the mail. Whether you’re looking for prolific egg layers, friendly pets, or birds bred for meat production, Chick Days at Tractor Supply typically has something for everyone.

In addition to providing access to live chicks, Tractor Supply has several resources on their website covering topics such as chick care, feeding guide and more. These resources aim to empower customers with the knowledge and skills they need to successfully raise and care for their feathered friends. You can find this information under “The Coop” in their Life Out Here Blog

Setting Up a Brooder:

Importance of a Brooder:

Before bringing home your adorable chicks from Tractor Supply, it’s essential to have a brooder set up and ready to go. A brooder provides a warm, safe, and comfortable environment for your chicks during their crucial early weeks of life. This controlled space mimics the warmth and security they would naturally receive from a mother hen, ensuring they stay healthy and thrive.

Brooder Setup Guide:

1. Materials Needed:

   – Large cardboard box or plastic tub

   – Heat lamp or heat source

   – Thermometer

   – Bedding material (pine shavings, paper towels, or straw)

   – Feeder and waterer

2. Location Selection:

   – Choose a draft-free area away from direct sunlight and potential predators.

   – Ensure the brooder is placed on a stable surface and away from any electrical hazards.

3. Temperature and Lighting Requirements:

   – Maintain a temperature of around 95°F (35°C) for the first week, gradually decreasing by 5°F (2.5°C) each week until reaching room temperature.

   – Use a thermometer to monitor the temperature and adjust the heat source as needed.

   – Provide a 24-hour light source for the first few days to help chicks find food and water.

4. Bedding Options:

   – Choose bedding material that is absorbent, non-toxic, and easy to clean.

   – Pine shavings are a popular choice, providing good insulation and absorption.

   – Paper towels can be used initially for easier cleanup, especially for weaker or smaller chicks.

5. Feeder and Waterer Setup:

   – Place the feeder and waterer in the brooder, ensuring they are easily accessible to the chicks.

   – Use shallow dishes for water to prevent drowning accidents.

   – Clean and refill the feeder and waterer regularly to ensure hygiene.

Setting up a brooder for your new chicks is a crucial step in their early care and development. By providing a warm, safe, and comfortable environment, you’ll give your chicks the best start to their lives and set the foundation for a happy and healthy flock.

​Getting Your New Chicks

During the chick days event tractor supply gets chicks on a fairly regular basis so you can expect to find several kinds of baby chicks available for in-store purchases. If you are looking for a specific breed for your backyard flock, it’s a good idea to check ahead. The advantage of going to your local store to see live birds is that you can see how healthy they look in person. The chick day event usually runs until late April/ end of April. This gives you time to see several batches of baby chickens and make the right choice on chick breed and health. 

Backyard chickens are so much fun and a great place to get started with homesteading. Tractor Supply chicks are also available on the tractor supply website. If you are on able to find the breed you want in-store you can mail-order a wide variety of breeds. TSC chicks will be shipped using the us postal service. My local post office calls me to come pick up my baby chicks as soon as they arrive. This is important because mail-order chicks can get cold and will need to be placed under a heat light or heat plate right away. 

Understanding the Difference Between Straight Run and Pullets:

When purchasing chicks, one of the key decisions you’ll need to make is whether to choose straight run or pullets. Understanding the difference between these two options is crucial for selecting chicks that best suit your needs and preferences. For instance you might see a sign that says “Straight Run Buff Orpingtons” or ” Barred Rock Pullets”. Understanding what that means could save you a headache in the future

Straight Run:

Straight run chicks are unsexed, meaning they have not been sorted or sexed by breeders to determine their gender. When purchasing straight run chicks, you will receive a mix of male (cockerel) and female (pullet) chicks in approximately equal numbers.


   – Variety: Straight-run chicks offer a diverse mix of genders, allowing you to raise a balanced flock with both hens and roosters.

   – Cost: Straight-run chicks are often less expensive than pullets since they are not sorted or sexed by breeders.


   – Roosters: Keep in mind that straight-run chicks may include male chicks, which will eventually mature into roosters. If you’re not prepared to raise or manage roosters, straight-run chicks may not be the best option for you.


Pullets are female chicks that have been sexed and identified by breeders as females. When purchasing pullets, you can expect to receive only female chicks, which will grow into laying hens. This is not a 100% guarantee and if you spend any time in Facebook groups you will inevitably find someone who bought pullets and ended up with some roosters. 


   – Egg Production: Pullets are specifically selected for their ability to lay eggs, making them an ideal choice for backyard egg production.

   – Convenience: Since pullets are sexed and identified as females, you can avoid the potential challenges of raising and managing roosters in your flock.


   – Availability: Pullets may be in higher demand and may have limited availability compared to straight run chicks, especially during peak seasons such as Chick Days.

   – Cost: Pullets are often slightly more expensive than straight run chicks due to the additional sorting and sexing process carried out by breeders.

Understanding Chicken Terminology

Heritage Breeds:

Heritage breeds are traditional breeds of poultry that have been raised by farmers for generations. These breeds often have historical significance and are valued for their ability to thrive in outdoor, free-range environments. Heritage breeds are typically well-adapted to a variety of climates and are known for their hardiness, disease resistance, and ability to forage for food. Examples of heritage chicken breeds include Rhode Island Reds, White Leghorn, Plymouth Rocks, and Orpingtons.

Hybrid Layers:

Hybrid layers, also known as commercial layers or production breeds, are selectively bred for maximum egg production. These breeds are the result of crossbreeding different strains of chickens to optimize traits such as egg production, feed efficiency, and disease resistance. Hybrid layers are valued by commercial egg producers for their consistent and high egg-laying performance. They typically lay a large number of eggs in a short period, making them popular choices for backyard egg production as well. Examples of hybrid layer breeds include ISA Browns, Golden Comets, Easter Eggers and Hy-Line Browns.

Dual Purpose:

Dual-purpose breeds are versatile breeds of poultry that are raised for both egg production and meat. These breeds are valued for their ability to lay a reasonable number of eggs while also producing quality meat. Dual-purpose breeds are typically larger and heavier than pure egg-laying breeds, making them suitable for both egg and meat production. While they may not lay as many eggs as dedicated egg-laying breeds or grow as quickly as meat breeds, dual-purpose breeds offer a balanced combination of traits for small-scale and homestead poultry keepers. Examples of dual-purpose chicken breeds include Sussex, Wyandotte, and Barred Plymouth Rock.

Meat Birds:

Meat birds, also known as broilers or meat breeds, are specifically bred and raised for meat production. These breeds are selected for their rapid growth, efficient feed conversion, and meat quality. Meat birds typically reach market weight in a relatively short period, making them popular choices for commercial meat production as well as backyard meat production for personal consumption. These breeds are often raised in confinement systems to maximize growth and feed efficiency. Examples of meat chicken breeds include Cornish Cross, Freedom Rangers, and Red Rangers.

Understanding the characteristics and purposes of different poultry breeds can help poultry keepers select the breeds that best suit their specific needs and goals, whether it be egg production, meat production, or a combination of both.

Choosing which to purchase

When deciding between straight run and pullets, consider your specific goals, preferences, and constraints. If you’re looking for a diverse poultry flock with the potential for breeding or if you’re comfortable managing roosters, straight-run chicks may be a suitable option. On the other hand, if your primary focus is on egg production and you prefer a hassle-free flock without roosters, pullets may be the better choice for you.

By understanding the difference between straight run and pullets, you can make an informed decision that aligns with your poultry-raising goals and preferences. Whether you choose straight run or pullets, Tractor Supply offers a variety of options during Chick Days to help you build the perfect flock for your backyard.

Raising Chickens for meat vs eggs can also influence what breeds you choose. Some breeds are prolific egg layers. You may also want a docile breed of chickens if you have children. You can find more information about chicken breeds here.

I also have a guide on selecting the right chicken coop for your backyard flock as well! Chicken coops can be hard to decide on but there are different things to consider that help make the choice easier! Chickens make a great addition to any homestead big or small. Check out your local tsc or local hatcheries this spring and consider adding some to your homestead. 

Overall, Chick Days at Tractor Supply serves as a celebration of spring, community, and the joys of raising backyard poultry. Whether you’re a seasoned chicken keeper or a first-time poultry parent, Tractor Supply’s Chick Days offer an exciting opportunity to kickstart your poultry-raising journey in a fun and educational environment.

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