Tips for Buying and Selling at a Poultry Swap Meet

Tips for Buying and Selling at a Poultry Swap Meet

Chicken or poultry swap meets are events where the buying, selling, and trading of poultry and livestock is carried out. The event is usually hosted by a private farm or a well-known business. Some poultry swap meets draw large crowds of people interested in seeing what private breeders and other farmers in the area are raising and selling. At some poultry swap meets, livestock, rare breed poultry, garden plants, and other agricultural items can be found. Historically, poultry swap meets were in rural locations.

As the trend of owning backyard poultry has gained popularity again, the poultry swap meets are being held in more suburban and urban locations too. The local poultry swap meet can be an enjoyable outing for the whole family and contribute much in the way of education and new experiences for young children. When planning to purchase new chickens or other animals from a poultry swap meet, be aware of certain potential problems and biosecurity to help the process go smoothly.

Positive Reasons to Attend a Poultry Swap Meet

If you are a chicken keeper and breeder and end up with too many extra chicks or full-grown hens, this is a way for you to sell some chickens. At a poultry swap meet you have an audience of people specifically interested in the poultry for sale.

Purchasing chickens from a poultry swap meet is a way to increase the diversity in your breeding program. Often mail order hatcheries require a high minimum purchase in order to ship chicks. When buying from a poultry swap meet you may be able to buy only what you need.


A poultry swap meet is a good place to see what certain breeds of chickens look like up close. You can watch their behavior and ask questions of the seller. When you are considering adding a different species of poultry, it is helpful to talk to others who have more than one type of poultry on their own property. The poultry swap meet can be a very interesting and educational place to visit. If you are already fully involved in raising poultry, attending the swap is a fun day of connecting with other poultry lovers.

Cautions About the Poultry Swap Meet

The old axiom of buyer beware should be remembered. Do your research before attending the swap meet if you plan to buy new birds. Impulse decisions can seem perfectly logical at the time but may prove to be a headache later.

Don’t buy any animals that appear sick or weak. You may be bringing a serious disease back to your own flock. Chickens can be carriers of disease and not show obvious symptoms. Duck diseases are not as common but ducks should still be quarantined before joining the existing flock at your home.

Buying animals you can’t afford to care for or are not set up for often ends badly for all concerned. Enjoy the event, but keep in mind what you are able to care for at your home.

Be prepared to practice good biosecurity before adding any new animals to your existing flocks or herds.


Attending a Poultry Swap Meet as a Buyer

First and foremost, as a buyer, be ready to purchase. Bring your own crates to the swap. Pack some water for the newly purchased birds for the trip home. Be knowledgeable about what you are looking for at the poultry swap meet. Do some research before attending and know what the breed should look like, and the range of prices being charged for that particular breed. Pricing between chicken breeds, duck breeds, and geese breeds can vary greatly. Are you looking for egg-laying hens or meat bird stock? You may be wondering how much do chickens cost? There is a pricing difference between chicks and started pullets that are close to laying age.

The usual assumption is to let the buyer beware. This does not mean that the sellers are dishonest. It means that the buyer should have a good idea of what a healthy hen looks like, and how much it should cost. Ask questions such as if the chickens have been raised free range or penned up. Look for signs of mites or lice infestation. Check the vent area for poopy or pasty vent. In addition, look at the conditions where the seller has the birds. The crates should be fairly clean, with no older dried droppings littering the floor of the crates. The fresh droppings should look normal and not bloody or frothy. The birds should not be sneezing, coughing or have raspy breathing.

Selling at the Poultry Swap Meet

When selling at a poultry swap meet, bring your chickens and ducks in clean crates. Bring tarps to cover the ground, if you don’t want your chickens pecking at strange items. Bring hand sanitizer, towels or paper towels for cleanups, water bowls, and food or treats. Bringing your own water is a good idea, too, especially if you are unsure if water will be provided to the sellers.


As a seller, it helps your sales if you are willing to answer questions from the swap attendees. Some people may be shopping around and others may be just curious, but each one is a potential customer! Many people will attempt to bargain with you on pricing so know your bottom line price.

Biosecurity After the Poultry Swap Meet

Good biosecurity is the healthy way to add to your existing flock. When purchasing new chicks, mature laying hens, or a rooster, quarantine the newcomers for a lengthy time. There are varying ideas about how long you will need to keep the new chickens separate from your existing flock. Quarantine is extremely important because even healthy-looking chickens can be carriers for some pretty nasty chicken illnesses. The minimum quarantine would be two weeks but even a month may not be long enough. Also, using a crate in the same area as your existing flock is not truly a quarantine. The new additions should not be sharing space or food and water with the existing flock.


Can you carry disease to your flock on your shoes? Yes. To be completely safe and reduce infecting your existing flock of chickens, wear different shoes or use shoe covers when going into the different coops.

During the quarantine period, keep a careful watch for any signs of illness developing in both the newcomers and your flock. Any chicken exhibiting any sign of illness should be isolated from the others. Eye discharge, sneezing, coughing, unusual behavior, sluggishness and bloody droppings can indicate that you have sick chickens. Having some over-the-counter chicken remedies on hand may save you from the heartache of losing a flock member. Products such as herbal concoctions, dried and fresh herbs, apple cider vinegar and garlic have been shown to improve a chicken’s immune system.

Attend a poultry swap meet in your area this summer and see all that these events have to offer. Enjoy talking with other people who are enjoying raising chickens and other poultry and livestock. Bring cash with you if you are planning to purchase. Most transactions are cash and most sellers won’t have access to credit card processing during the event. Remember to bring a safe carrier to transport your new flock members home and be sure to enjoy the day.

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