Originally Posted by LisaYolkUm
here is a dumb question...................
what is a breeder vs hatchery..................
I am getting 5 chicks from Pickering Valley Feed in Exton................what I am getting .........hatchery , I imagine?
silver grey dorking
are these all heritage breeds Or???
how long would these type of birds lay eggs?
OK... here is my take on feeder vs hatchery... (feed mills and TSC may fall into either category depending on their chick source)
Hatchery... is aiming for quantity, doesn't worry too much about minor irregularities in confirmation or feathering as long as the birds are pretty enough to make average back yard keepers happy
.... may emphasize egging numbers on some breeds to satisfy folks selling backyard eggs, but it may be to the detriment of the birds overall longevity for laying or even life span
.... aims for bigger broilers or meat birds, but may not pay as much attention to breeding broilers who are resistant to heart or leg problems
..... often have decent birds, but rarely produce exceptional examples of any breed
.... biggest + is that they function more year round than many breeders, usually can be a source of chicks or hatching eggs when you can't find them anywhere else
.... offer a bigger variety of birds at one source and often have rarer breeds (but quality of their breeding stock may not be the greatest)
.... some hatcheries do a good job, but researching their history and asking questions (either directly to the hatchery people or via social media with prior customers) will give you a better idea if a particular hatchery has the right birds for you.
Breeder... usually an individual who is involved in birds more for showing and/or preservation of a breed which they happen to like
.... good ones are very, very careful to breed only good examples of a breed or variety of a breed to ensure quality animals (feather patterning of barred rocks shows this clearly)
.... good ones will breed to improve the health of their stock and cull sickly animals from their breeding pens to achieve that goal
..... good ones will strive to maintain a breeds original characteristics as much as possible, they shouldn't breed against broodieness if being broody is a trait of the heritage breed
......biggest + is the quality control and reliable adherence to breeds Standard of Perfection (SOP) which you can expect to get from a breeders eggs or chicks
.... biggest - is that breeders often have limited availability of stock and sometimes it can be expensive... or even VERY expensive depending on the bird you want
.... breeders may not keep their 'breeding pens' active year round, so time of availability can also be limited
Now, understand that this is my general take on the differences between the two... but exceptions can occur. You may get a hatchery with an employee who happens to be a big enthusiast of a couple of breeds they carry and that person can really improve the quality of the animals they choose to breed and still keep up numbers (research will show some hatcheries are reputed to have 'quality' stock of some breeds, and not too good of stock in others)
You can have someone who calls themselves a breeder but in reality they aren't careful about keeping true to breed qualities in anything much more than feather pattern and you can get animals with poor health or personality from them.
I guess the closest thing I can equate it to is dog breeding... some folks spend their lives working with one or two breeds and have dogs worth paying big money for because they are so carefully bred for temperment and health and some folks get a 'popular breed' and as long as they have a male and female they keep producing puppies as long as they can find buyers, no matter what genetic faults or temperment problems the parent dogs have... in 5 years they pick another popular breed and start all over again...
Thankfully there are many more sources for information nowadays than there was 20 years ago... research can help weed out problems but remember, these are just generalizations... and there are certainly exceptions.