Building a Hatchery – How one Enthusiast turned her passion into a thriving business
Humble beginnings in a garage
In 1985, Karen Meyer attended a chick seminar at the local hardware store. While at the class, she met another feather fancier who had been running a hatchery for quite some time with her husband. The couple was ready to get out of the industry, so Meyer took over some of the breeding stock. With only a few used incubators, she was up and running, offering four varieties of chickens to whoever was interested. Word of mouth and a passion for hatching escalated the hobby into a thriving business. Meyer quickly outgrew the garage that doubled as her hatchery, so in 1999, she and her husband built a brand new facility with state-of-the-art equipment to further dedicate herself to hatching. In addition she hired a few employees and offered a wider variety of poultry to suit her customer's needs. With a team behind her, Meyer put Meyer Hatchery on the map.
Growth, expansion and the three chick minimum
Meyer Hatchery’s breeding flocks are housed on six farms near the hatchery, but not on the hatchery property. This keeps any potential disease outbreak from affecting the entire flock. Eggs are collected daily and picked up weekly then brought back to the hatchery to be set. Meyer's latest project, a brand new breeder house with all the bells and whistles, welcomed its first flocks in the fall. The house is capable of holding roughly 3,000 birds that are separated by breed into 27 different pens. Another house of the same size is being constructed now.
The increasing demand for more varieties and smaller quantities has pushed the hatchery to be creative to meet everyone's needs. Meyer Hatchery invented and introduced the three chick minimum order in 2008. The success rate of shipping so few chicks has been great due to a little ingenuity, extra bedding and a heat pack. You can even mix and match different breeds to meet the minimum.
Bringing customers what they need – including a Drive-Thru!
Meyer Hatchery is among industry leaders, offering over 160 breeds of poultry including chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, guineas, peafowl and game birds, plus a full line of feed and supplies. The retail store, with an attached drive-thru (built in 2008) has allowed Meyer Hatchery to accommodate their customer's every need. New products are added year after year; like those in the Gift Shop which has something for the chicken lover in your life. Meyer Hatchery is a year-round hatchery offering dozens of breeds weekly. Started Pullets are 16 to 20 weeks old and are available periodically throughout the year. With so many products, breed variety, and a minimum order of just three chicks for shipment, Meyer Hatchery can accommodate the needs of small, single family farms to commercial grower facilities and everyone in between. It is their mission to provide a wide selection of quality poultry and products at an affordable price. They also strive to develop and maintain mutually beneficial long-term relationships with their customers.
is a member of the National Poultry Improvement Plan. They regularly test and are free of Salmonella and Pullurum Typhoid. They are also H5/H7 Avian Influenza clean.
Some of the very first breeds Meyer began hatching out of her garage were the Golden Buff, Rhode Island Red, Black Australorp and Barred Plymouth Rock all amazing producers of large brown eggs. BYC members can get a production pack with free shipping for the July 9th hatch. The pack includes 25 female chicks; at least three of the four breeds mentioned.