After we brought home those first six chicks, I guess you could say I was hooked. I loved watching my chickens in the coop and run. I even kept a step stool in the coop to sit on so that I could watch and interact with my girls. In an effort to learn more about them, I started reading information online and looking for other like-minded individuals. That is when I came across chicken swaps. What is this, you ask? What is this amazing thing you speak of, you wonder?
The first one I attended was just north of Longview, WA and it was super small. We were there for all of thirty minutes, maybe. In that thirty minutes we didn’t find any chickens we were interested in, but we ended up with a bonded flock of five ducks and a bred rabbit doe for $40. Amazing! The bonded flock of ducks had two Rouen hens, two Pekin hens, and a little call duck drake we dubbed Goose. Get it…? Duck, duck, duck, duck… Goose. That’s my son’s humor for you.
I started looking online for other swaps and happened to find a website for the Oregon Poultry and Homesteading Faires. The OPS is a registered domestic non-profit in the State of Oregon. Their mission is to provide commerce opportunities and education to those in the Pacific Northwest by bringing together a variety of agricultural enthusiasts, hobbyists and artisans to share their animals and wares to the communities they serve, as well as providing educational opportunities on a wide range of topics.
All of their events are free and open to the public. If you want to vend your wares you can register as a vendor for as little as $20.00. There is a swap each season and each event features vendors from around the Pacific NW, a Seed Swap, Educational Demonstrations, Food Drives, Contests, Hands on Activities and more. The only downside I have found to these events is that it is a close knit community of vendors. A lot of times they presell their animals and by the time the event goers are there a lot of the most desirable ones are already sold. It’s disappointing.
I know the above information is limited to Oregon, so Poultry Show Central is another site that can direct you to other swaps by state. If you like auction sites better, American Poultry Auctions is a free to join online poultry auction site dedicated to help spread poultry throughout America. They have a little of everything; chickens, hatching eggs, water fowl, equipment, and miscellaneous other stuff.
I like that I am not dependent on the local farm store or hatcheries for my chickens and ducks. I am excited to be able to go to the swaps and see firsthand what my babies look like before I get them. I appreciate being able to walk around and decide which cutie-patootie chicky or duck I’m taking home with me. For me, the swaps are magical that way. Knowing that I’m not the only crazy chicken lady out there is definitely an added bonus.
I hope you enjoy the sites listed and they help you find what you’re looking for.