Frequently Asked Questions

NOTE: The term ‘Chick’ is used here as a generic for chick, duckling, and gosling

What You Should Expect

Not every chick we sell will be show quality or flawless. Dark-egg chicks are hatched from dark eggs laid by our large, primary breeding flock, which may have flaws. We continually work on our breeding program, but imperfection is the rule and to be expected. SOP chicks are from specially selected adult birds that meet the criteria specified in the American Poultry Association's Standards of Perfection. That said, their chicks cannot be expected to be perfect. Here again, imperfection is the rule and to be expected, possibly even disqualifying traits. While we don't expect disqualifying traits to appear, genetics is challenging and birds can have unexpected recessive genes that can become dominant if in the rooster and the hen. Birds are like people—no one is perfect, so please, have realistic expectations. We avoid the “English type” Marans, which are clean-legged—without feathers on the legs and feet, that is. Other examples of flaws include, but are not limited to: feathered middle toes, long shanks, yellow shanks, sparsely feathered legs and toes, improper color markings, white underfluff, shafting, leakage, halos, over-melanization, solid white coloring (Sport Whites are thrown by Black Copper Marans), etcetera. Dark-egg chicks are less expensive and ideal for someone whose interest is in the dark, gourmet-quality Marans eggs. We are working on our SOP flock and hoping to darken their eggs, but this takes time.

Ordering and Payment

Orders should be placed online through our Store website page. You can also email us at or call us at 984-297-0066. If we are unable to answer the phone, please leave a message and we will return your call as soon as possible. Calls received before 3 pm will usually be returned that same day. We hatch and ship babies every week, from February through October, based on a first-come, first-serve queue. When you place your order, you will have the opportunity to leave a message at checkout with a preferred shipment date. We will try to accommodate your request, if possible, but we will not place your order before someone else’s and vice-versa. If you do not have a specific ship date request, then we will email you an estimated hatch date, based on our order queue. Payment in full is due when you place your order. We never, ever share or sell your personal information with any third parties. You may pay oinline or by check.

Checks may be mailed to:

Thornfield Poultry

P.O. Box 819
Hillsborough, NC 27278


Orders are shipped on Monday or Tuesday via the United States Postal Service Priority Express only. You will be invoiced for the cost of shipping one to three days, generally, prior to the actual shipping of your eggs, chicks, ducklings, or goslings. You will receive the tracking number by email when the birds have shipped.

To ensure the speediest shipment, all shipped chicks are carried to a USPS hub, either in Raleigh or Greensboro. Unfortunately, the USPS does not guarantee overnight delivery of chicks. Delivery depends on your zip code location. Please contact your local post office and alert them of the expected delivery. Chicks will be held at your local post office for you to pick up. We encourage you to track your shipment progress. USPS Priority Express guarantees delivery within 1 to 3 days, but DOES NOT guarantee FOR A SPECIFIC TIME, such as 1 day.

Since we are dependent on USPS for delivery, we cannot refund your shipping, if your delivery does not arrive by the estimated delivery date. The 72-Hour Live Chick Guarantee will reimburse you for any chicks that die within 72 hours after their arrival. We ask that you put newly arrived chicks in an incubator for 6 to 12 hours, especially during colder months, to allow them to warm up and recover from their adenture. Please provide them with any remaining green Diet-Gel from their shipment box. You should also provide them starter and water supplemented with electrolytes or even a little honey.

72-Hour Live Chick Guarantee

A minimum of six chicks, five ducklings, or two goslings is required for a shipping order. Chicks and ducklings may be shipped together, but goslings must be shipped separately for the safety of the smaller breeds. Thornfield Poultry guarantees receipt of the same number of chicks ordered and their survival for 72-hour after you receive them. We strongly recommend you take a photo of your received chicks as soon as you pick them up. Please contact us immediately (no later than 72 hours after the receipt of your birds) via and at 919-302-5921, if any chicks are dead upon arrival. Unfortunately, we do not replace deceased birds, but refund the value of the deceased birds. A photo will be required to complete your refund.

Pullet or Adult Bird Pick Up

We do not ship purchased pullets or adults. They must be picked up in person at a pre-appointed time at the entrance to our farm or a coordinated location.

Hatching Eggs

We sell our darkest Black Copper Marans eggs, which generally are 7s and 8s. While we take extreme care to ship our eggs as protected as possible, we cannot guarantee fertility or that eggs won't get broken. Once the eggs have shipped, their handling is beyond our control. We use our own, customized, extra thick foam shippers, double-boxed with peanuts in both boxes to insure the best protection. WHEN YOU RECEIVE YOUR EGGS, REMOVE THEM FROM THE INNER FOAM SHIPPER BY PUSHING THE EGGS UP THROUGH THE FOAM FROM THE BOTTOM.

Arrival of Day-Olds

When you receive your baby chicks, we recommend you immediately place them into a warm incubator for 6 to 12 hours and provide them with fresh water and a good chick starter. In the first week or so, we like to feed our young a mixture of water with a supplement called Rooster Booster in the ratio of ½ teaspoon Rooster Booster to 1 gallon of water. Your new chicks will need a brooder to stay warm until their down has been replaced by feathers and average night temperatures stay about 70 degrees. While we work very diligently to maintain a healthy flock, our birds are free-range, and as such, are exposed to diseases and parasites from other birds. We are NPIP certified, which means we are tested regularly by NC Department of Agriculture and our poultry are found to be free of Typhoid, Pullorum, Avian Influenza. In addition, we have random stool samples regularly tested by an independent, third party for parasites. Nonetheless, free range birds are at risk for exposure to Coccidia and other parasites and contagions, so we strongly encourage you to quarantine your new chicks for at least three weeks in a location away from your other birds.

Order Cancellation

You may cancel your order for a full refund, if cancelled more than 30 days prior to your anticipated ship date. If you cancel your order within 30 days of your ship date, there will be a $50.00 late cancellation fee. The balance will be promptly refunded.

NPIP Certification

We are NPIP Certified in the State of North Carolina, meaning our poultry flocks are tested every 6 months and certified free of Pullorum-Typhoid and Avian Influenza. Our NPIP participant number is 55-1482.

No Farm Tours

We are very proud of our farm and would love to share it with you, but due to biosecurity concerns, maintaining our NPIP certification, and the safety of visitors and our livestock guardian dogs, we are unable to provide farm tours.