top of page

Hatchery Business Policy/Contract

Van Cleave Ranch and Hatchery

Business & Shipping Policies


We strive with our utmost care to package eggs securely to arrive at your facility safely. There are seven to ten days after eggs are laid that fertilization is still good for incubating. Our aim is to collect eggs and ship them to you on the same day. Shipping through regular priority mail is 3-5 days and this price is included in the cost of the hatching eggs. We continually check fertility by incubating our own eggs. We also open them to eat them and check fertility at that time as well.  The process of shipping eggs can endanger the viability of the egg. Experience or lack of it with incubating and hatching eggs is also not in our control.

When sending hatching eggs USPS we will ship on a Monday or Tuesday to help you receive the eggs before the weekend or a holiday so precious time is not wasted sitting on hold at the post office.

We will send you a tracking number! 

Our recommendations for your best hatch:

  1.  Request us to place your phone number on the egg box with a note that says to call you for pick up at the local post office or distribution center upon arrival. This will save precious time and avoid eggs sitting there during a weekend, a  holiday or an extra day of travel to your country post office when eggs arrive after the regular mail for the day has already been sent.

  2. If your eggs arrive damaged and broken; immediately send us a picture of the damage. We will be happy to work with you under unforeseen circumstances if we have availability and do not have a waiting list.           

  3.  Place your eggs point down upon arrival and allow to sit for 12 to 24 hours to establish the air sack in the large area of the eggs .  Avoid movement. 

  4. During the waiting time, prepare and pre-heat incubator temperature between 98.6 and 100.  Humidity at 40-45 days 1-16. 

  5. Do not candle before day 5.

  6. On day 17 ramp up the humidity to 55 or 60. Remove all egg turners and lay eggs flat on the prepared floor. At this point, eggs are on lockdown and the lid to the incubator should not be opened. Watch for pipping of the shell on day 20-22. 

  7. Candle no more than twice during the 21 day incubation period.


The USPS has requirements for shipping any live animal. There are literally thousands of pages on the internet at which pertain to shipping live animals. The following is a summary of how live birds are expected to ship through USPS.

For shipping any live chicken, the sender must be NPIP tested and Certified. We meet those requirements. Chicks and Adult birds must be sent in a box that meets the USPS requirements. Because we care about the health of your birds, we will be using boxes that are the appropriate size for the height and weight of the bird. We will not be shipping any birds that weight more than 10 pounds or are more than 18 inches in height. The USPS also requires that no feed or liquids or anything be added which could clog, leak or otherwise damage their equipment.

SHIPPING CHICKS:  Newly hatched chicks can be kept safely in the incubator for up to 72 hours. But you can and should put into the brooder as soon as they are dry. 

Our Responsibility: New chicks will be sent priority mail which will arrive within 1-3 days. We will mail the chicks on a Monday to help in case of shipping delay.  It also helps  to avoid weekends or holiday extended time at the post office. Newly hatched chicks will be shipped with bedding, an enclosed warmer (unless its 114 outside) and grow gel.

Our recommendations for chicks: As soon as your chicks arrive:

1.  Give them hydro hen or other electrolyte/probiotic solution of your normal choice for your flock. Give probiotics in their water once a week to prevent any pasty butt and to help build a better immune system. Also provide poultry cell or nutridrench in water the next day and once a week until they are in the grow out pen. This is especially recommended for silkies since they are more prone to wry neck.

2. Feeding: We use non medicated starter and recommend protein level of 22-30 percent while they are small and growing fast. Some birds may require high protein levels for lifetime, such as game birds. Brahmas may need extra protein until they are close to adulthood. We use scratch and peck organic starter for our chicks.  It is small enough that even very tiny chicks can eat it without having to be put in the blender.

3. Keep waterer cleaned and provide fresh water daily. Keep bedding dry and clean. We have had best results with very small waterers like those from Hatching Time. Wet or dirty bedding not only smells but lends itself to sick chicks. 

Your Responsibility:

  1. Request us to label the box with your phone number requesting pick up at the local PO or distribution center to avoid delay in receiving the chicks or chicks being left at your address in adverse weather conditions or predators (including ants) getting into the box.

  2. Have heater in brooder pre-heated and ready. Provide bedding and/or a rough surface to walk on. Chicks who have a slick surface are more likely to get splay leg. Splay leg is difficult to correct and can lead to death. Splay leg is easy to avoid. 

  3. Starter/grower feed ready. 

  4. Give hydro hen and feed as soon as the chick arrive.  If chicks do not eat starter upon arrival, feed them grow gel for a day or two.


USPS Regulations will be applied as stated above. We can not ship birds that weigh more than 10 pounds or are more than 18 inches tall.

Regulation boxes per size of the bird will be added to the cost of the bird. (These are not cheap)

Postage required for live adult birds is priority express overnight. The distance between your zipcode and my zipcode is what determines the cost of the postage in addition to the priority express overnight fee.  Because we care about the health of our and your birds, we are happy the USPS requires priority express overnight.  This way of shipping assures us the bird will spend as little time as possible in the box and will arrive at its destination as quickly as possible.

You will be sent a tracking number.  Birds will be mailed on Monday or Tuesday mornings to assure they are not stuck at the post office on a weekend if some unforeseen circumstances or delays were to occur during shipping. Since we are not in control of shipments becoming delayed these days, we can send on a Monday to help reduce the amount of time IF something were to cause a delay.

Our Responsibility: Adult birds will be pre-loaded with hydro hen, and nutridrench or poultry cell and a high protein meal of scrambled eggs, whole grain and soldier fly larvae the night before shipping.

In addition to the pre-shipment care, all adult birds will be shipped with some form of nutrition and hydration such as orange slices, cucumber or tomato slices. Something that provides nutrition, hydration and doesn’t leak or fall out such as feed or liquids.

Your Responsibility: Our goal is to be an organic farm and to be proactive rather than reactive to disease or parasites. However, at your request, we will be happy to treat the bird with elector psp, and ivermectin before shipping at your request only

Our Recommendations for Adult Birds: 

  1. Request that we add your phone number and a note on the outside of the box to be called for pickup. This saves precious time, the bird is in the box.

  2. Provide the bird with hydro hen, nutridrench and your normal feed upon arrival.

  3. Keep the adult bird separated from the rest of your flock for 2-4 weeks.  Even if our bird is clean and healthy, there is always still a chance that the bird could be exposed to something during the shipping process. Stress is also caused by shipping and can lower the immunity of the bird.

Eating Eggs:

We are picky about our eating eggs and this is why we work hard to provide the healthiest of hens for our customers.

Our goal is to be proactive in the health of our chickens rather than reactive trying to treat a sick hen. Our chickens are fed whole grain organic feed, herbs, and supplements of vitamins, essential oils and omega 3.  Additionally, we feed extra protein of their own scrambled eggs, fresh vegetables, fruits and cooked meats that you would eat. We also believe that free ranging provides the best nutrition for them and for you. Healthy eggs provide more protein and lutein in the yolk. We do supplement with omega 3 to be sure our eggs provide healthy eating for heart and eye health.  Coops are cleaned weekly or as needed. If I wouldn’t eat it, I wouldn’t expect you to either. See our blogs for more information regarding farm fresh eggs.

Because raising organic chickens cost more, the cost of our eggs may be more than the neighbor next door who uses the cheapest feed available.

We think it is worth it.  In the words of the producer of our organic whole grain feed.  “You are what your animals eat!”

Let’s be healthy together. 


Birds with a status of critically endangered or threatened under the Livestock Conservancy Program of the United States need to remain pure in their breeding. If your desire is to purchase one or more of these birds or hatching eggs please understand the importance of keeping these birds pure. We request that you pledge to remain true with breeding and sell them to others who share our same goal.  If we all do our part, we can save these birds and bring them back from the verge of extinction



The "Hen Guarantee" applies to all chicks purchased.  Normally chicks are sold as straight run.  However, with the purchase of the Hen Guarantee, you may pay an additional $10 per bird for a hen guarantee. Upon the circumstances that you receive a rooster, you may return the rooster to us.  Upon return of the rooster, we will rehome it and provide you with another chick. or pullet.  


 As soon as the bird leaves our premises we are no longer responsible for the health or welfare of the bird because there are too many things that can happen. Your property or environment may be unclean or unhealthy, the bird may have gotten too hot or been exposed to other environmental factors outside of our control.  We will not sell any sick birds.  Our reputation is at stake to do so. For this reason, absolutely NO REFUNDS will be given. However, because we work hard to provide a quality product and a reputable service, we will be happy to replace the broken eggs or birds under the following conditions:

1. Proof of broken eggs upon arrival. (Pictures sent of the broken contents within the first hour of opening.)

(Damage received to the box is not our responsibility)

2. Once a bird leaves our property we have no control of it's protection.  We will not allow a sick bird to be sold. However we are not responsible for illness or death caused from shipping, mistreatment or biologically unsafe conditions in your coop. 

3. In order for us to replace a bird, you must show proof of the dead bird in a sealed bag within 24 hours after leaving our property.  Please realize that we KNOW our birds well and keep records of sales and breeding. 

In order to maintain strict bio-security we can not accept return of any birds once they leave our property.  However, do feel free to contact us and we will be happy to provide our advise on how to care for your bird. 

Thank you for your business and support!

Sharla Van Cleave, NPIP 

NPIPPT LogoBanner2.jpg
bottom of page