The best way to buy adult laying hens is from a local breeder or hobby farmer who has extra birds for sale. They are sometimes available from professional hatcheries, but this method is usually more expensive.
Hatcheries, farm and ranch supply stores, and other sources for laying hens often focus primarily on chicks. People willing to wait and raise the chicks may find this the easiest route, but it takes about 16 to 24 weeks before a chicken begins to lay eggs.
Local farmers with adult hens for sale often post listings on classified ad websites such as Craigslist. They may also post fliers at local farm and ranch stores. People interested in buying chickens from them can also try asking feed store employees or other farmers if they know anyone offering laying hens for sale. Buyers should visit the farm in person and inspect the facilities to make sure the birds do not live in unsanitary or stressful conditions, which can affect their health and laying capabilities.
Some people live near large hatcheries, but many offer convenient online ordering and ship the chickens through the mail. This can be a convenient and reliable option.
Retired battery hens, which farms use for large-scale commercial egg production, are also often available for adoption through animal rescue organizations. These can be a risky option due to their ages, but some are still capable of laying.