Anyone who breeds or hatches chickens I'm sure has sold them locally. Craigslist can be a headache enough with getting emails, replying, and then never hearing back, getting people who back out at the last second, getting people who say they're going to pick up birds and then never showing up, etc. All of that is bad etiquette, but sometimes they're great over email and the phone, and do show up to get the birds, but they cause other problems. This is one of those stories.
I had been trying to rehome a very nice, pretty, olive egger cockerel who wasn't aggressive and was fine with hens and I thought deserved a chance at his own flock before he went to freezer camp. So I put an ad on Craigslist. I got a reply in the first few days, but it was actually from a nice man who had seen pictures of my Roman Tufted geese in the background and wanted some of those. We made plans for goslings and I waited to hear from someone who wanted the cockerel.
A couple weeks passed and I got no responses, so I decided to post him also to another craigslist location (I'm right near two different locations so I often post in both) and nearly immediatedly I heard back from a woman wanting him. Right off the bat she wanted my phone number, something that usually I don't like to give out until we are about to meet because people seem unable to respect the fact that I work a night shift and will call me early in the morning when I have just gone to bed. But this time I did, with instructions to please only text me. The woman followed those instructions, so at least that was good, and we made a plan to meet up the next day.
The next day rolls around and I head out and do some errands, and then get back home 15 minutes before we are due to meet up. I don't usually meet people at my house, but I was cleaning chicken coops that day and didn't want to head out again and lose more daylight.
I come back to find a strange car in my driveway. It was empty. I then see in the distance two figures wandering around my backyard, looking at my chickens. I immediately head out there and begin by asking if they were the people coming for the rooster, since at this point all I know is that two strange people are wandering around my property. The woman affirms that yes, she and her daughter came for the rooster. I then told her I wasn't there when she arrived because I didn't expect her until 15 minutes from now. Her response was that "things had changed" and they got there early. How early and how long they had been wandering around my property was a mystery.
There are so many problems with this. For one, she never told me. She had my cell number, we had texted before, and she didn't even bother to send a text to say she was going to be early. For two, she got there, saw that no one was home, and her response wasn't at that point to send me a text to ask what was up or even to just wait in the car. No, it was to get out and wander around my property ogling my birds and potentially messing up my biosecurity. If her chickens had a disease she could have been tracking it all over my property. This is a big reason why I almost never do home meetings but I had planned that I would just hand her over a rooster in the driveway and she would never be down by the chickens.
I'm glad the rooster got a good home - she told me she had fourteen hens waiting for him - but it was not worth all that. And she opted to make her daughter hold him the whole way back to their home in a towel and wouldn't take the box I had him in. I guess maybe they thought that would be better for him but the box would have been much less stressful.
So what should you do when picking up chickens from another person? None of the above, obviously. What you should do is answer emails when they are sent to you, even if it's to say that you're no longer interested so that the seller isn't left hanging. You should agree on a time and show up at that time. If something comes up or you are running late (or early) you should give the other party a heads up. When you get there you should take the bird and pay what you've agreed upon (do not show up and try to haggle lower, I cannot tell you how mad that makes me when I've just driven out 40 minutes to meet someone and now they're not willing to pay what they said they would; you do that and I'm taking my bird back home with me, it's the principle of the thing), and then take your bird and go. If you do meet up at the seller's house or farm do not get out and start wandering around their property without permission.
I know this all seems basic and like it doesn't need to be said, but apparently it does.