Alright. I've heard from so many people that private breeders are the only people worth buying poultry from. I have heard it said that hatcheries sell either puny, poor representations of a breed, or they sell mutts that look like the breed but really aren't. I've heard people exalt hatcheries and say that they aren't all that bad, and then I've heard people say that they are basically just money-hungry liars out to get our money. But what is REALLY honest, and what's not? Surely not all hatcheries are evil. I have even ran across hatcheries that specifically say that they themselves do not breed poultry but instead ship out chicks bred by private breeders. There are hatcheries like IDEAL Poultry in Cameron, Texas, and Cackle Hatchery in Lebanon, Missouri, that have been around for literally decades and have been known for high-quality, standard-meeting chickens. Then these private breeders come along and say: "Bah! What do THEY know of Buckeyes or Shamos or Jersey Giants or Old English Games? Buy from ME, and I'll show you what the true representation of such-n-such breed is!" But are you actually selling the best representation, or are you (understandably) just frustrated about the business hatcheries get, so you down the hatcheries to get business for yourself? I've heard it put well that hatcheries like IDEAL and Cackle have not been around for a long time because they sell wimpy, impure mutts: they've been around for just the opposite. And even young hatcheries like Meyer and Purely Poultry seem to have an honest, customer-praised reputation. I personally am not about to pay a ridiculous price for allegedly pure chickens that are bred on the other side of the country by an everyday John Doe. As long as I have good reason to believe that a hatchery's stock is pure, I'd rather buy from the hatchery and, through some brainstorming and selective breeding myself, eliminate the undesirable small stock in favor of the larger. At the same time, I do see the logic: most hatcheries, especially larger ones, do not have time to refine their stock like the dedicated breeder. The larger the hatchery, the higher the probability that you will get maybe not impure but "puny" stock. However, if one buys from a breeder, than one is more likely to buy stock that has been worked on, refined, and perfected. I'm asking for opinions from both sides, from the hatchery fans and breeder supporters alike. If you're a breeder but have been impressed by the unusual quality of a hatchery, speak up. If you've had a bad experience with a hatchery that was made up for by a good experience with a breeder, speak, for your friends hear you. If you're a poultry show judge and have years of experience with both hatchery and breeder stock and have found one to be better than the other, than feel free to express your research to others like me who want the truth about this mild controversy. Above all, please try to be unbiased. It really doesn't mean a lot to me (or others, I'm sure) for a breeder to promote private breeding, or a hatchery to promote mass sales. Thanks, and happy chickening!