Laurence Beeken says:
When you have decided that you want to keep chickens, the next question is where do you get them from? If you look through the ads in the livestock section of certain papers and chicken websites, you will find plenty of people selling birds. However, unless you know the seller either by direct dealing or by reputation, then this route can be problematical, as you do not know what problems you may be buying in along with your birds. For pure breeds, contact the breed club secretary for a breeder listing, their details can be found on http://www.poultryclub.org/poultry/breed-clubs/
For hybrids, I would recommend one of the national suppliers who, being large commercial organisations, can supply a large variety of hens in small and large numbers to customers requiring healthy pullets to lay around 300 eggs per year. They are ideally suited for the free-range market and can often supply organic point of lay birds if requested, which are reared to Freedom Food Standards, are fully vaccinated and have full traceability. For best service, use one of their local agents as they can provide a friendly and efficient service to a wide variety of customers.