A Controversy: Breeders vs. Hatcheries

Discussion in 'Chicken Breeders & Hatcheries' started by Gresh, Aug 23, 2011.

  1. Gresh

    Gresh Chillin' With My Peeps

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    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!
     
  2. airmechreed

    airmechreed Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I guess it would depend on what you want for your flock, and what are your plans as far as breeding yourself. If you are just in it for the eggs then purity of a breed to me doesn't matter. If you are thinking of eggs and breeding your favorite breed then I would contact breeders who are up to speed on that breed. My opinion is a lot of your decision to go to a hatchery or a breeder is really up to you. Do the research and form your own opinion. What's right for you is what matters. I have both. Chicks from hatcheries and from breeders.
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2011
  3. Orange Ribbon

    Orange Ribbon Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have bought from both sources: hatcheries and private breeders.

    I have gotten chicks from two hatcheries. The first hatchery did not provide some of the breeds they said, in fact it wasn't a breed at all, just mixed mutts. And I wasn't the only one. I just saw a picture on Craigslist of the very same birds I have being sold by somebody else who got them there too. Not happy with them much at all. Their White Rocks look pretty good, and I thought their Barred Rocks looked good too until I got some from Ideal.

    The other hatchery, Ideal, I have ordered from two or three times, and always gotten what I want. The Barred Rocks are so much more brighter with more even barring. The partridge rocks look really good, as does our brown African geese. I also have a RIR rooster from them that is gorgeous.

    I have bought from 3 breeders. Three buff cochin bantams, three light Brahma's, and 2 spangled Old English bantams. We like them great, but they don't look any better than any hatchery stock that I can tell.

    So from my observation, it pretty much is a crap shoot on quality with breeders and some hatcheries. Until you hit on one that consistently gives you what you are looking for in a certain breed, I'd say it might be best to buy a few from each source and compare them. Let me tell you one more story.

    I have been searching for Speckled Sussex chickens that are SOP or as close to it as I can get for many, many months. Most people have hatchery birds and they are definitely not SOP. Then I have people tell me their stock never came from a hatchery, and I believe them, but their birds still look like crap. I have had 2 people tell me their birds ARE SOP, but when I see a picture of them, they really stink. I ended up buying some from Ideal just to have some, and my guess is they are going to look as good if not better than any breeder's birds I've seen so far.

    I swear sometimes I think the Standard of Perfection is a fairy tale for grownups! HA! People say they got them, but you never really see them. Every fair or show I ever went to no body even showed up with chickens. So, I don't know what to say. Get what you like and forget what everybody else says. You only got to please yourself.
     
  4. KDailey

    KDailey Crazy Cochin Lady

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    I think the above post was a pretty good one.

    My argument can go both ways too.

    Pro Breeder: Should have better quality stock but unless you really know what you're doing how are you gonna tell if it is or not?
    Con Breeder: Outside diseases. I bought some birds from a breeder and then all of a sudden I've got birds dying (yes I should've quarantined better but I'm just sayin.)

    Pro Hatchery: More than likely you aren't going to get any diseases from these birds. They're a quick and easy way to get lots of birds fast if you don't want the hassle of looking for a breeder and then driving who knows how far to pick up. You never know, you might actually get some good birds.
    Con Hatchery: Just like what's already been said, some hatcheries don't have very good birds and you stand a chance of not even getting what you ordered (mutts). Especially with the whole Ameracauna/Aracauna/Easter egger stuff.

    Myself, I think unless you are really serious about showing and breeding super high quality birds, in which you would go to a breeder with a good show record, hatcheries are your best bet as long as you use a good one. I've had really good results with Ideal personally.
     
  5. Criskin

    Criskin Lost somewhere in a book

    I've acquired chickens from both breeders and hatcheries. The breeder chickens were expensive, but they were beautiful. They took a little longer to lay than my hatchery chickens but I was also able to sell off my extras at a higher price. The hatchery chicken experience was mixed. At one hatchery (I won't mention the name) my Buff Orpington Pullets were the right color but they grew up to have a flopped over comb and an almost leghorn like build. I was very disappointed. I ordered the same breed from another hatchery (Ideal this time) and the BOs grew up to look like BOs. They were pretty and good layers.

    I think there are good hatcheries and good breeders as well as bad hatcheries and bad breeders. If you are interested in showing your chickens or breeding them for sale, I think your best bet is a good breeder. If you want pretty chickens of a certain breed to lay eggs and just enjoy, your best bet is a good hatchery. I have both because two of my favorite breeds/colors aren't offered at most hatcheries and yet I want a colorful, healthy laying flock so I can keep up the pretense that I keep chickens for the eggs and not because my favorite thing in the world is to sit in the yard and watch them.
     
  6. danielle82

    danielle82 A Good Egg

    Apr 27, 2009
    Tonasket Wa
    Hatcheries are fine if you just want a nice chicken to lay some eggs. a lot of hatchery birds are bred for egg production, and they do it well. (However Ive heard that the earlier a chicken lays eggs the more prone she is to reproductive problems i.e. egg bound). If you are looking to show, or breed to standard, there is no contest between a hatchery and a someone who breeds to standard. even a picture over the internet can show that.
     
  7. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Depends on what you want them for. I'm sick of hen after hen dying from internal laying, all from the same hatchery. My breeder birds (good, reputable breeders, not just local propagators) have better genetics, hands down. It's not pretty and it's not fun watching them wither away, knowing there is nothing you can do for them because it's a genetic/hormone based malfunction.

    If you want a great looking bird who comes somewhat close to the Standard of Perfection for your own satisfaction or to show, hatcheries are NOT the way to go. If you want one who lays for whatever period of time and you don't necessarily care if it's the proper size or color pattern for the breed, then hatcheries are fine. And if you want certain breeds, there are some you cannot get at ANY hatchery at this point in time, so you have to find a breeder.
     
  8. N&MSchroeder

    N&MSchroeder Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't mean this in a negative way at all, but won't most breeders be selling their culls? I started thinking about this after reading a thread here on BYC where a prominent breeder stated that he would not sell his stock to just anyone. Anyone buying his stock would have to show serious commitment and have experience with the breed. He chooses not to sell his culls in order to preserve the breed, which is commendable but I have to believe he is the exception rather than the rule. I don't show chickens, but we raise Hereford cattle and each year we pick from the top heifers as replacement stock and sell the rest. It just makes good sense to keep the best when building a program. While some breeders may have developed their lines to an extent where even the culls are show quality (and I am sure that many are here on BYC), I have to believe that most breeders are still working toward a SOP and have lesser quality birds they have to sell in order to maintain their current flock. So will you get a higher quality bird from a breeder? I am not sure there is a definitive answer to this question.
     
  9. Boggy Bottom Bantams

    Boggy Bottom Bantams Overrun With Chickens

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    big thing with this discussion is people often mix "BREEDERS" and "BACK YARD CHICKEN OWNERS" together....

    These are in now way the same people. A true BREEDER is someone who dedicates their time, money and heart in to relentless breeding of just a handful of breeds. May be many colors, but usually they will only work with 5 or less breeds. The pens are very nice, well kept, birds are all NPIP certified and healthy etc.

    a BACK YARD Hobbyist, is totally different but most always referred to as a breeder. This in many cases is not the case. They are just hobbits. Have no records of what came from where, many were just bought at an auction down the road or what not. Quality control and disease prevention are bare minimal if even existent. and they breed and sell everything that have for feed money for their hobby.

    There is nothing wrong with this as long as the hobbyist is up front about it.

    Personally I feel a lot of the discussion of bad breeders is where this comes from, mistaken identity.

    If you want top notch birds, then you must get from a dedicated breeder of those birds. They arent hard to find. search around, make a post of what you are looking for. If they are reputable high quality breeders, it wont take long for some one to recommend them to you.

    Hatcheries.....well, I have ordered from them for many years in past times, never once have I had a good result. Usually 50% plus DOA or dying, with another 50% of them dying within a week. Mc Murray, Strombergs, Ideal, all the big names. Have requested Express on chicks willing to pay the difference in cost no problem to save the chicks and have better results...always denied

    Those that do survive are always very poor quality, especially in the bantams. Might favor the breed, but are in no way close to a decent example of it. Many end up being totally wrong. Places like Ideal are great, but they are the worst about all this. They do spend some time to make new colors,that no other hatchery offers. The draw back....they dont take the 4-10 years it takes to properly breed them back to proper type and perfection. I ordered many project colors a few years back from them, have a 4 pound old english game bantam to show for it solid orange, and was supposed to be a gold neck.

    Disease is not ruled out from hatcheries by no means either. Just this spring Mt. Healthy got caught sending out salmonella infested chicks if I'm not mistaken...that is a major no no.

    If all you want is a bird for your yard....hatcheries are the way to go by far.

    If you want to breed and or show, they is no need to buy from them and spend years trying to breed back to perfection to have something decent to work with, it's a major waste of time and money.

    Yes breeders charge a lot more. BUT look at what you get and what they go threw to provide them for you, they are worth every penny if you look at it that way.

    Hatcheries on the other hand, have no quality control as far as breeding to type. If it lays, they hatch it and send it out, period..

    so it all depends on what you are looking for as to which is the best suited for you.

    Dime a dozen back yard birds....go hatchery

    rare or breeder quality birds...reputable breeder is a must
     
  10. Boggy Bottom Bantams

    Boggy Bottom Bantams Overrun With Chickens

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    N&MSchroeder :

    I don't mean this in a negative way at all, but won't most breeders be selling their culls? I started thinking about this after reading a thread here on BYC where a prominent breeder stated that he would not sell his stock to just anyone. Anyone buying his stock would have to show serious commitment and have experience with the breed. He chooses not to sell his culls in order to preserve the breed, which is commendable but I have to believe he is the exception rather than the rule. I don't show chickens, but we raise Hereford cattle and each year we pick from the top heifers as replacement stock and sell the rest. It just makes good sense to keep the best when building a program. While some breeders may have developed their lines to an extent where even the culls are show quality (and I am sure that many are here on BYC), I have to believe that most breeders are still working toward a SOP and have lesser quality birds they have to sell in order to maintain their current flock. So will you get a higher quality bird from a breeder? I am not sure there is a definitive answer to this question.

    This goes back to what I just posted, Breeder verse hobbyist

    A true breeder is often going to be this way. Many in the longtailed and other rare breeds field are especially. And can you blame them, countless years of work and dedication and Lord knows how much in feed to get them just like they want them...I wouldnt want them to go to just anyone either.

    As for being to a point where there are no culls...no one has that. If they tell you theirs are, pass cause they are lying.

    People need to keep this in mind when buy hatching eggs or chicks too. They may have the absolute best perfect breeder on the market. An egg or a chick is just the offspring from these, there's NO way to know for sure what the birds will grow up to be. This is why eggs are $40 a dozen but a pair of started SQ birds are $250.

    You know what you have there.

    As for the cull thing.... some breeders do some dont. But no reputable breeder will sell them without first telling you ...now listen, these are culls, they came from so and so parents, but I consider them to be culls. They are $20 a pair. My SQ birds are $250 a pair...which ones do you want? And yes all REPUTABLE breeders are this way...in this small world of breeding, it wouldnt take but one season of passing culls off at top dollar to ruin your name.

    Yes you are right, all breeders will keep back their absolute best for their personal breeding...that's just good common sense. But it doesnt mean they keep all the nice ones, some just have to be sold.

    So to be safe on this...know the breeder. Be sure it is a breeder no a hobbyist again. Get feedback from other buyer of forums, if they are a good breeder, people will know them.
    Ask them questions specific to type and quality. Ask to see the parents and actual birds you are buying, photos if they are to be shipped to you, etc...ask and protect yourself.
    There are always going to be shady individuals out there in any form of selling. But a good reputable breeder will have a well earned name and can be trusted​
     

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