I want to come see the chickens and pick some out, can we come visit?
Unfortunately we are not able to allow farm visits at Feather & Fern Farmstead. As an NPIP certified breeder, we are required to have strict biosecurity practices to ensure our flock stays free of common poultry diseases. We try to compensate for this by answering any questions people may have and providing any additional pictures that are requested. If there is something specific you or your family would be looking for were you able to pick your own chicks (largest, most leg feathers, most calm, most personality, etc.), then please let me know and we will keep this in mind when selecting your chicks.
What does NPIP mean?
NPIP stands for National Poultry Improvement Plan. This is a national program through the USDA and involves regular examinations from a state vet. Certification is required for out of state sales; once you are certified you can only purchase birds from other certified flocks. Our flock is certified to be free of Avian Influenza and Pullorum-Typhoid, and our flock number is 92-424.
Do you ship?
We are only able to ship small orders of hatching eggs. Eggs should be very fresh at the time of shipping since they then have several days of travel (and ideally a day of rest) prior to the start of incubation. Because we keep small flocks of only the best breeders, this limits the number of eggs we can ship at a time while still ensuring optimal freshness. Orders will generally be limited to one dozen of any given variety. We will include extras whenever possible but they may be from a different variety. Please see our Hatching Egg Policy at the bottom of the page if you are considering purchasing eggs.
Are Brahmas a good breed for beginners? For families? For eggs? For meat?
Brahmas are a wonderful breed for just about anyone. They are extremely docile and have earned the reputation of being “gentle giants”. This makes them a great breed for first time chicken owners and for families. Even the roosters are very mellow. We have not encountered an aggressive Brahma rooster yet.
Brahmas are decent layers and should easily meet the needs of an average family, with each hen averaging 3-4 eggs per week. They are also a dual purpose breed for those who are interested in raising birds for meat. In fact, they were the primary meat breed in America through the early 1900s. See our About the Breed page for more information.
Do you have Giant Brahmas?
Some viral videos have caused a fascination with “Giant Brahmas”. The reality is that Brahmas come in two sizes: large fowl and bantam. The Standard of Perfection (SOP) for large fowl Brahma calls for adult males to be 12 pounds and adult females to be 9.5 pounds. Our birds reach at least that size (with most being a bit larger) and are certainly bigger than the average hatchery Brahmas. Our customers often describe them as “giant”, but that is purely subjective as there is no separate “Giant Brahma” classification.
If they’re so big, are they safe to have with other smaller breeds?
Yes! Thanks to their docile nature, Brahmas are perfectly safe to keep with other smaller breeds. The smallest we personally have are Ameraucanas, which could run between the legs of our Brahma roosters if they wanted to. We have never had any issues. In fact, our Ameraucanas often bully our Brahmas, guarding their favorite nesting box from the large Brahma hens or chasing away newly introduced roosters. Speaking of the roosters, being large isn’t always easy...our boys are slow and quite clumsy. This means our smaller hens easily dodge their “pursuits” and the roosters put in minimal effort to chase anyone down.
Do you have sexed chicks?
Generally we only have straight run chicks available, meaning the sex is unknown. Luckily the Brahma varieties we have chosen to raise are very easy to sex from an early age. Instead of waiting 8-12 weeks for saddle feathers to become apparent, an experienced eye can sex our chicks at 3-4 weeks when chest feathers start coming in. Pullets will have a barring-like pattern that is the juvenile precursor to the penciling they will have as hens, while males have a more irregular and blotchy pattern. We are happy to help you sex them if you send us clear pictures at this age, but people often find it easier to take clear pictures around 5-6 weeks old.
Can you add me to your wait list?
We use a pre-order method instead of keeping a wait list. Orders can be placed in advance through the website and they will be filled in the order that they are placed. Contact us if you would like an estimate for current wait times, or if you have other timing constraints (such as upcoming travel). You will be notified when your order is being prepared. It is your responsibility to notify us promptly if you will not be able to receive the order at that time and would like to be moved down the list.
Do you have any older ones available, like POL pullets or flock-ready roosters?
In the spring and summer we will have occasional juveniles available (~4 weeks old). These will be individuals we were wanting to grow out as breeding prospects, but turned out to be a color or sex that we do not need any more of.
In the fall and winter we have occasional older juveniles and POL pullets. These will be breeder prospects who did not meet our final cut. They will have small flaws that most people wouldn’t even notice (examples include too large of a comb, too long of hock feathers, too narrow of a tail) and do not at all detract from their beauty and utility in a backyard flock. We also have occasional adults available who are being retired from breeding as we continuously improve the quality of our stock.
Because availability is sporadic, we do not accept pre-orders or keep a wait list for juveniles or adults. Individuals will be advertised on our facebook page and sold on a first come, first served basis.
What happened to the other colors you used to have?
Our color offerings vary somewhat year to year. As of 2022, BSO and DSO are only available when they are byproducts of using darks to improve our partridges. SSO will no longer be available and splash partridge will only be available in years where we use a blue partridge male in our partridge project. But the good news is that all of the colors we have ever offered can still be created in as little as one generation using the staple colors we will always have available. We are always happy to help guide our customers in putting together breeding groups that will produce whichever color(s) they are interested in.
BSO, DSO, partridge, blue partridge...what does all of this mean? Where can I learn more?
It can be very, very difficult to find accurate information on the less common Brahma varieties. It is also difficult to piece together the relevant color genetic information to understand how all these varieties interact. We have created an "About the Colors" page that we hope will help anyone who is wanting to learn more about these topics. It includes both descriptions of various penciled Brahma varieties (dark, blue dark, partridge, blue partridge, splash partridge, BSO, DSO, SSO, and isabel) and explanations of the relevant color related genes (andalusian blue, silver/gold, lavender). Feel free to reach out if you have more questions after reading this page!
HATCHING EGG POLICY
Hatching eggs are always a gamble. We make every effort to set you up for success but there are also variables that are outside our control (handling in transit and incubation practices).
We do a number of test hatches at the beginning of the season and do not begin offering eggs until our fertility rates are at least 90%. We also hatch regularly throughout the season so we are able to ensure fertility and hatch rates stay high. Eggs are collected daily, carefully handled, stored in a turner, and candled for any minor cracks or defects. If you are purchasing shipped eggs, they are packed in our custom foam egg shippers, carefully cushioned with air cells, and double boxed. We want you to have a good hatch and do everything in our power to make this happen.
Despite all of this, there are a lot of factors that can affect your hatch rate. These include a rough journey home (whether that's through USPS or your own car), temperature during transportation, bacteria introduced while you handle the eggs or in the incubator, incubation temperature, humidity, turning practices, incubator malfunction, etc. Once the eggs leave our hands they are out of our control, and for these reasons we cannot guarantee hatch rates.
Payment must be made in full at the time of placing your order. Orders are filled in the sequence that we receive them so this is our form of a wait list; the earlier you get your order in, the earlier you will receive your eggs. Depending on the number of other pending orders, it may take weeks or months for your order to be filled. Contact us if you would like an estimated ship date prior to placing your order. Please understand that estimated ship dates are not guaranteed ship dates; egg production varies throughout the year and can be drastically impacted by unforeseen circumstances (natural disasters, extreme weather, etc.), which can then throw off our prior estimates.
When you are next on the list, we will notify you that your order is being filled. If the timing does not work for you then it is your responsibility to promptly tell us so we can postpone your order.
Shipments are made on Mondays and Tuesdays to avoid potential post office delays (Wednesdays are also possible for shorter distances).
If you have concerns about the eggs you have received, please contact us to resolve the matter. We are also happy to point you towards incubating resources and trouble shooting.
Chicks are available for local pickup only. Payment must be made in full at the time of placing your order. As of 2022 we will not be accepting pre-orders for chicks. Chicks will be periodically available and advertised on our facebook page.
Chicks are straight run unless stated otherwise. Straight run means that the sex us unknown at that time. If you send clear pictures at appropriate ages (~4 weeks for Brahmas, ~4-6 months for rainbow layer crosses) then we are happy to help you determine the sex.