What to expect at a chicken swap (you might be surprised!)

By now you must have seen the signs: "Chicken swap this weekend" is what they usually say. They've been popping up all over the country, more so in part by Tractor Supply Company's and other feed stores willingness to host such swaps in their parking lots. Some auctions even host chicken swaps. 

The name can be deceiving though. After all, if you swap something with someone that indicates a trade. To swap one item for another is sorta like replacing it....ie: I swapped the dahlias for roses. I think this puts a lot of people off, so I'd like to explain exactly what a poultry swap meet is.

What is a chicken swap?

What is a poultry swap?

Buy-Sell-Trade, that should actually be the name of these events. You don't have to swap chickens. You can attend a poultry swap just to buy a few hens or bring some chicks that you want to sell. Some people do trade, but it's not just chickens. 

Most chicken swaps also have ducks, guineas, peafowl, quail, geese and chukars. Many swaps also allow other farm animals like goats, lambs, pigs and rabbits. Some sellers will also bring things they make like nest boxes, coops, killing cones, or feeders. You can find a whole lot of interesting stuff at a chicken swap.

Some swaps provide tents and roped off areas, others just let people set up wherever they decide to park their vehicles. Think of it like a flea market for farm critters. 

Most sellers don't bring tables, but some do. Some set up on their tailgates, in their trunk spaces or inside their hatchback cars. I like to bring my pickup truck and put a row of cages across the tailgate and another row on the ground in front of the tailgate (I use a tarp, but not everybody does) 

Poultry swaps are so much like flea markets! Some people like to haggle, others don't. Some will make deals when you buy several things, others won't. Some just brought a few extras to get rid of, some are hobbyists, some are business owners. You can find show quality stock or pet quality. You get a little of everything and that's always a good thing.

chicken swap

It's a good place to get rid of extra chickens, especially if you price them right. Your missing hen suddenly appeared with 15 chicks? Put a $1 each sign on them and they'll be out of your hair in no time! "Free" works even faster. 

You might find things you've never seen before. Fancy pigeons, miniature everything, weird colors, crazy feathers, rare breeds, cross breeds and half breeds....you never know what you'll see. 

You might even find things you've never wanted to see before, mites, lice, salmonella, coccidiosis....etc etc. Biosecurity is very important when you attend chicken swaps, even if you're just looking. In the post Keeping your flock disease free at a poultry swap I describe my 8 steps for coming home with only what you want....and nothing that requires a course of antibiotics!  

The best part about chicken swaps though, is the chance to meet other chicken keepers and 'talk chickens' all day long! You won't get any eye rolls or people thinking that you may be "going just a little too far with this chickens thing" (my mom's words lol) because we're all doing the same thing! 

You can find intelligent discussions about genetics, line breeding, show qualities per breed, building breeding pens, coops, brooding, butchering, bedding choices etc etc.

It really is a great way to meet new chicken people and possibly find just the hen you've been looking for! If you want a less hands on approach, maybe a poultry auction is a better choice for you? Here's What to expect at a poultry auction.


Poultry swap central has a state by state list of swaps.

Chicken swaps in the news: This one was held by me.

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  1. Super important reminder about biosecurity! Thank you for sharing with the Clever Chicks Blog Hop!

    Kathy Shea Mormino
    The Chicken Chick

  2. Going to my 1st poultry swap in loxahachie Florida To sell my Guinea Foul ,thank you for the information!