Social Media has taken the sale of animals and elevated it to new levels. Unlike before, people have access to better/new genetics for their breeding flocks or fun new colors to add to their backyard coops. Social media has increased quality and accessibility to so many! But as with any good breeder (it does not matter whether it's chickens, dogs, or horses), there is always someone in the shadows lurking to sneak in and make a quick profit from someone else's hard work. This post aims to help newbies in the chicken world spot a scammer and save you your hard-earned money!
While I will be talking about chickens, you can apply this to anything you buy online.
Let's start with Facebook pages.
In any of the backyard chicken groups, you will find these scammers lying in wait. Their only goal is to make quick money while offering no products or animals. These scams are well thought out, so understanding the end goals and how they use social norms against us is crucial to avoid getting scammed. Their first form of action will be a comment on your ISO post or inquiring about a breed within a group. People are more likely to visit or use a breeder when it's a referral. These scammers know this! The commenter referring to the scammer will typically have average-looking photos with kids or family and sometimes bible verses in their bio to make you feel more at ease.
When you click on the link to the business page nine times out of ten, it says quail eggs near you or chicken hatching eggs. It is more of a general blank statement rather than a name. They hope that when people search for quail or chickens, that name will pop up as the name directly matches the search. I have noticed that scammers are getting smarter; they evolve as their prey becomes more educated. They will have names like Nick's backyard chickens or Family chicken breeders, making it more directed to an actual flock name.
Here is a list of red flags when viewing any breeders page
The majority of the pictures posted were all on the same day.
The posts are also done within a few days. They are trying to make it seem like they have content.
The picture's backgrounds don't tend to match or don't match the area they state they are located.
LOTS of different breeds. While some breeders have a lot of breeds, they don't tend to have more than 40+ birds per breed if they carry multiple breeds. If the breeder is focused on one breed, they most likely have a lot of birds.
Little to no interaction with commenters. They don't respond or turn off commenting.
A lot of times, the Page will have multiple name changes. Not all scammers change names frequently, but this is a good indicator. To find this, visit the pages about and click on page transparency.
The page manager is not located in the United States. This can also be found in the pages about, under page transparency.
Hashtags on photos don't match the bird in the post or don't quite make sense. For example, a picture of a Large chicken with #Quail attached.
Will only accept Friend and Family payments. They sometimes ask to pay a "family members" account and send a screenshot once done.
What they are offering is too good to be true. If the seller is selling under the current market price, offering started birds out of season, etc. Be cautious.
How can you ensure you do business with a trustworthy breeder with good intentions?
Knowing what you are looking for will always help, so I suggest researching the breeds you might be interested in buying. This will allow you to know what the birds should look like and what color and size of the eggs, etc. It's also important to know what your personal goals are for your birds. Whether you are just looking for backyard layers or plan to show or breed, it's essential to learn to ask the right questions. Once you understand the breed open up some form of communication with the seller. Talking with the seller will give you a feel for their knowledge and experience. A lot of the time, the scammer does not know the breeds or the traits they should have. If they claim to be local, you can go back and look through the photos, and they should match your general area. Ask for their NPIP (National Poultry Improvement Plan) number if they are not local! Regular health testing is necessary! It is a federal crime to ship without NPIP status, and they pose a risk to you and any other birds you may have. You can use this NPIP number to check the database and make sure they have the ability to ship (http://www.poultryimprovement.org/statesContent.cfm).
While some legit breeders require purchase by friends and family, it's always a good idea to be on the side of caution and pay with the ability to get your money back in case they are a fraud. So at the end of the day, if you still need clarification, just ask! There are many chicken forums and Facebook groups to join that can help you determine whether the breeder is legit! If you run across a scammer, it's essential to share it with the chicken community and report that to whatever platform they are marketing within. The best policy is to find breeders you like and follow for a while before making any purchases; this way, you can get a good feel for the breeder and what they produce. In the end, don't be afraid of small breeders; just be armed with the knowledge to spot the scammer!