Newbie here looking to start and all black chicken flock. Would you recommend hatching your own or should I just buy from the stores. This is my first dive into chickens. Also where is a good place to get eggs/chicks?
How hard is hatching?
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Hatching can be difficult, especially if you're a first time chicken owner. There's so many issues and you have to have the temperature JUST RIGHT and the humidity right, and you have to adjust them later in the hatch. And if you have to hand turn your eggs, that can get annoying fast. And you can forget.
I would recommend buying some chicks first.
Usually your local feed stores will sell chicks or you can ask if they can order some. The chicks may not be purebred or show quality depending where they get them, but they're cheap. You can also ask them if they know anyone who sells chicks in the area.
Online shipping can be crazy expensive, but you're more likely to get purebred and show quality (because you're ordering from a place you trust and research, not where ever the feed store gets them).
I recommend mcmurrayhatchery.com for the online ordering route.
DO NOT order from Mt. Healthy Hatchery. There have been quite a few salmonella outbreaks from them.
Edited by Scarlit - 12/13/15 at 12:02am
you are looking for a all black starter flock so the first thing to do is research what's available and what viable for breeding. you will also need to have a end use.
black could be a sex linked color
black may be a fatal gene
black may be a inbreed color so they are pet quality not meat quality
once you decide on a breed then you will need x amount of males to x amount of females. A perfect ratio is hard to do from hatched eggs so its better to buy sexed chicks.
I have incubators and hatchers and Im still planning to buy chicks next year and pay the extra money to have them shipped live .
I keep sultains so I plan to bring in some fresh genes. I could go with shipped eggs but they generally have a lower hatch rate so its easier to buy live at certain times of the year.
Yes, for first timers buying chicks is the best way to go. Incubating is the most annoying task in the world, but if you love it, you enjoy watching them grow in the egg. (Even though it seems like it takes FOREVER.) It is hard to do, and I started with farm store chicks.
x2 Incubating eggs is fascinating and hair-raising! If you do decide to hatch, DO NOT try to go cheap with incubators. You usually get what you pay for and the cheaper bators can be difficult to control, especially for a beginner. Brinsea incubators have good reviews and come in different sizes to suit your needs and budget.
I order chicks from Ideal Poultry, they are a great hatchery with hardy chicks, but sometimes it seems like they slip a few too many cockerels in my "all pullet" orders
Have you heard of the chicken breed Ayam Cemani? It's the "lamborghini of the chicken world," with 100% black feathers, skin, etc. Downside is they are pretty expensive, and very rare in the U.S. Greenfire farms is the only place I know that sells AC chicks.