Basic Steps To Selling Chickens Online

There are numerous reasons for selling chickens, and these simple tips for crafting an effective online ad will help you seal the deal.

by Ana Hotaling
PHOTO: Pshenina_m/Shutterstock

Perhaps it’s because your darling little Dora distinctly made it known she was actually a Darius. Perhaps chicken math finally caught up with you and it’s time to do some subtraction.

Or perhaps your homegrown poultry business is to grow them and sell them from home.

For whatever reason, you have a chicken to sell and you’ve heard Internet classifieds are the way to go. While posting an ad online just takes moments and is often free, creating an ad that draws attention requires some thought when selling chickens.

Follow these eight guidelines for drafting a successful poultry sales post.

Snag Them With Your Subject

Most online classifieds sites, such as craigslist, present shoppers with a list of ad titles that best match their search parameters. Your chicken is going to be presented by a one-line subject, so the words you choose better make that bird stand out.

Keep it simple but make it snazzy. “Chicken for sale. $10 OBO” is as exciting as doing dishes. “Best Hen in the World Needs Loving New Forever Home,” on the other hand, conveys nothing but your emotions.

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When selling chickens online, select words that describe, not bore or gush. “Adult Cochin Hen, Frequent Layer/Good Mother, Available Now!” generates interest in a handful of words.

Remember, your ad’s title is your one and only chance to convince a peruser to click your link in order to contact you for more details. Make it powerful.

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A Picture Is Worth 1000 Words

Now that you’ve caught someone’s attention with your title, capture their interest with a color photograph.

A captivating photo entices potential buyers far better than a jumble of words. Choose a photo—or several photographs—that best show off your bird.

Use a full-body shot if you can only use one picture. If you can post more, include a close-up of your chicken’s face and a profile shot.

A photograph that conveys your bird’s size—standing next to a shrub or feeder for an adult; positioned near a baseball or tennis ball for a chick—will let interested buyers know how big or small your chicken is. Make sure that the photos you choose depict no clutter or household mess, as this tends to turn buyers off.

Also ensure that only the bird up for sale is in your photograph(s). Showing other chickens creates confusion regarding which bird you’re actually selling. 

Just the Facts

Someone looking to buy a chicken most likely will not care about why you named your hen Daisy, that your chicks are the cutest little fluffs ever or that your rooster is great at locating bugs.

Facts about your bird far outweigh your personal opinions and sentiment, so stick to the facts.

The more details you provide, the better prepared your potential buyer is when they reach out to you. Providing enough details also ensures you don’t end up answering the same questions over and over again.

Include such information as:

  • Sex of the bird
  • Age of the bird
  • Breed of the bird, if known 
  • Variety/color of the bird
  • Whether you hatched the bird or bought it
  • If you bought the bird, where from?
  • Whether the bird is vaccinated and for which diseases
  • If a hen/pullet, frequency of lay and color of eggs
  • Temperament towards humans
  • Lineage, if you raise exhibition birds

Also include your city/town of residence. This way, someone reading your ad doesn’t end up having to travel four hours to pick up your rooster. 

The Price is Right

Clearly state how much you are asking for your chicken.

Many online classified sites require a set price, with the option of adding OBO (or best offer) if you so desire. Never list ambiguous information like “price to be determined,” “make us an offer” or no price at all.

Buyers want to know right off the bat what they may be paying to determine if your bird is worth the investment to them. 

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Money Matters

A piece of advice I learned long ago: do not accept checks. You have no way to determine whether there is money in the bank to back up a check, so make it abundantly clear that checks are not an accepted method of payment.

This leaves cash, which is fine. But in this digital age (and in this pandemic), not everyone keeps cash on hand.

Plastic is where it’s at. There are numerous digital-payment sites that allow you to sign up, securely connect to your bank account, and start accepting payments.

While we use both PayPal and Square, we currently only accept PayPal since there is no signature or swiping—in other words, no close contact—required. Be aware that most online payment sites charge a minimal fee for their services.

On PayPal, buyers can opt to pay you via “Goods and Services” or  the fee-free “Friends and Family.”

State Your Return Policy

This is absolutely crucial when selling chickens online. It is always possible that your buyer is unaware of their local poultry ordinances and cannot keep their newly bought pullet.

Or they might have bought your bird without checking with their significant other first. There are myriad reasons why someone might want to return a chicken that they purchased from you.

If you are open to returns, be sure you state your policy clearly. Perhaps you only accept returns within 48 hours of purchase. Perhaps you accept returns for a week after purchase.

If you do not accept returns—and if you practice biosecurity, this means you—state clearly that all sales are final with no exceptions. Once a bird leaves your farm, you do not know what it has been exposed to, and you do not need that unknown factor brought back into your flock.

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Purchase Pick-Up

Make sure you specify that pick-up is by appointment only. You don’t need a stranger showing up on your doorstep looking for their chicken, especially during these pandemic days.

This is a detail that can be determined once a purchase has been agreed to between you and your buyer. There is no need to state anything but that an appointment must be made—unless you have limited availability.

If you work on the weekends and are only available to your buyers on Tuesdays, make that perfectly clear in your post so as to avoid riled emotions later. 

Odds and Ends

Add a few courteous touches to your online ad when selling chickens.

Not only will your buyer appreciate this knowledge going into the transaction, but things will flow far more smoothly. Present such facts as:

  • They must supply their own box or carrier
  • Whether you have dogs/cats in your household whose dander might cling to your clothing
  • The type of feed your chicken is used to eating

You undoubtedly will still get questions about your bird but, by providing this essential information, you have helped potential buyers determine whether to contact you to set up the sale. And you have also presented yourself as a professional source for future poultry purchases.

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