While Marisa got her chickens from craigslist and I got my chickens from the local feed store - one the best ways to get chickens may be through a registered hatchery. Obtaining your chickens this way allows you to order the specific breeds you are looking for as well as better control the sex of the chicks. Chicks can live for the first few days after birth without being fed - they are still gaining their sustenance from the yolk sack which they absorb just before hatching. This enables day old chicks to be shipped directly to any customer that lives within a two day journey from the hatchery. There are hatcheries all over the nation and you might find one locally but a great resource for getting started is www.mypetchicken.com.
At My Pet Chicken a person can order all of the supplies needed for raising chickens - excepting the feed - or just get some very helpful information. My pet chicken has a free chicken care e-guide as well as forums and FAQ pages for help getting started and troubleshooting. They also sell pre-made coops and runs as well as plans for building coops. This cute coop plan is called the "playhouse" plan and will run you at $35.00/plan.
By far, my favorite and most used feature at the site is the breed finder. It asks you a few questions to help determine your needs/wants and then produces a list of chickens that meet your requirements. So, if you are looking for high egg producing chickens, chickens that are cold-hardy, or chickens that lay colorful eggs - this is the easiest way to find out the breeds that are best. Or you can search through their VERY thorough list of breeds. Other sites may list a few breeds but this list tops all other I've been able to find online.
Once you've selected a breed you can click on it's name to read all sorts of good stuff about it. This page has excellent color images of each breed - another thing that's hard to come by. I really haven't seen better images of so many breeds all on one site.
Each page details breed history, size and weight, personality, and egg laying characteristics including egg color. At the bottom of this page is also a listing of all of the hatcheries that this chicken is available for purchase from. What a helpful tool that is! I have been known to spend a serious amount of time on this site. It has also helped me to identify the breed of several of my hens. That has helped me to better understand their personalities and the amount of eggs I should expect from them.
This wonderful site also has books, art, clothing, and stationary all to support your love of everything chicken. Including some of those cute tin signs sporting such phrases as FRESH EGGS and Chicken X-ing.
I chose this site as my first website review because I believe it's the best there is when it comes to chickens. It's ease of use and graphic layout make it my top pick. These people really have thought of everything! It's also a great time to be looking at this and other sites because chicken orders will be starting as early as February and will be in full swing by Spring. Some of these beautiful breeds do sell out - so get your orders in soon! (I'll be ordering some blue Americaunas. They're beautiful hens that lay green and blue eggs!)
Here is an example of some cute prints from mypetchicken.com!