About "hatchery" quality.....

Discussion in 'Chicken Breeders & Hatcheries' started by JenellYB, Feb 13, 2012.

  1. JenellYB

    JenellYB Chillin' With My Peeps

    A recent newcomer to this forum, but with many past years experience with chickens, and just some common sense, something I keep seeing all over these forums is the assumed poor quality of "hatchery" chicks in general. That hatcheries in general don't bother with quality, or even true purity of the breeds of chicks they sell, even a couple threads I read just this afternoon stating blanket assumptions that all "hatchery" chicks of some X breed are actually mixed breeds.

    Now there are without doubt hatcheries, and then there are hatcheries. Just like any other business. But, the hatcheries that have been in business with strong reputations many decades must be doing a lot right, and they'd certainly have no incentive to be so careless and dishonest. Some of these disparaging comments seem to target "the big hatcheries" as the worst, when again, those big old hatcheries built their business over many years with many customers to BE big.

    When I read someone declaring all hatcheries', or all of X hatchery's chicks of a certain breed are really poor quality and really just mixed breeds, some even suggesting the know somehow what breeds they've mixed to get them, I find myself asking, how about putting up some photos of some birds you KNOW to be from there and show me why I should believe that.

    Over the many years I've bought and raised chicks from major hatcheries, several of which I bought from 30-45 years ago, either directly or through feed stores that ordered from them, that are still in business, and being commonly slammed like this on these forums, and my experience was the
    birds where exactly what they were sold as, and very good quality.

    The WORST sources I ever got birds were from individuals with back yard and farm flocks that either didn't really know themselves what their birds were or would lie through their teeth to tell you they were a more hard to find and expensive breed than they really were, or they just plain didn't keep good control and track over what roosters were covering what hen or what hens the eggs they hatched came out of. Those people had no repuation to protect, and that does make a difference!

    And btw, I have and have never had ANY connection to any hatchery business!
    Rant done. Step off soap box.

  2. FireTigeris

    FireTigeris Tyger! Tyger! burning bright

    I've never had problems with hatchery stock, I don't show birds so who cares if my RIR is not the right color red or has a floppy comb.

    My healthiest birds came from mixed flocks or hatcheries, and my worst results were pure breeds from NPIP places... and hobby breeders that lied about their flock condition.

    I'm to hatching my own and not getting any more pure anything from anywhere.. my loses of such are 75-90% and between 5-15% on mix birds in the same pen-food-water (hatch/acquirement to first year of life).

    It boggles the mind really, how do 3/3 of those and 18/23 of these and 3/4 of those pure die when some the mixes are 7+ years (so far)?

  3. JenellYB

    JenellYB Chillin' With My Peeps

    And btw, back those years ago, my own kids, and many other kids in 4-H and FFA raised hatchery chicks from one of the 2 most mentioned large hatcheries, and showed them and did VERY WELL with them!
  4. FireTigeris

    FireTigeris Tyger! Tyger! burning bright

    Not saying you can't (show hatchery stock) just I don't show animals. ;)
  5. JenellYB

    JenellYB Chillin' With My Peeps

    I do not know what you mean by NPIP places. Not familiar with that term.

    As for your differing results with purebreds and mixes, there's likely one or more of several things that might be involved, mostly genetics, if you are consistently seeing that kind of difference.

    1. Mixes, mutts, mongrels and crossbreeds in most any kind of animal have better vigor generally, hybrid vigor.

    2. The breeds, how they've been developed over time....most of the popular meat, egg, and dual purpose breeds have been bred for qualities such as faster maturation, feed efficiency in production, heavy production, with a relatively short useful lifespan. Those egg layers bred for early, heavy, prolonged production over a relatively brief lifespan literally burn their bodies out churning out lots of large eggs. Breeds developed and kept more as small farm flocks and backyard flocks often mature more slowly, don't churn out so many large eggs so fast, are also generally allowed a longer usual lifetime in the barnyard or backyard coop, even after they become non-productive.
    Meat bred chickens often grow so fast, their bones are unsound, and their eventual adult weight so great they can hardly lug themselves around.

    But I've never experienced the kinds of loss rates you are talking about, even in purebred hatchery chickens.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2012
  6. JenellYB

    JenellYB Chillin' With My Peeps

    I don't think we have to to still want to get the kind of chicken we intended to get. I haven't shown dogs in years, won't again, but for example, when I got my present Labrador Retriever, i wanted him to BE a real Labrador retriever and reasonably typical of what the breed is supposed to be, in both appearance and temperament. Same with chickens, we choose a breed because we've studied and looked around and found that's the breed with the qualties we want and need, we should be able to have some confidence that's what we are getting, from wherever we get them. That's how I see it, anyway.
  7. JenellYB

    JenellYB Chillin' With My Peeps

    I wasn't saying you per se might want to show or now, just that I don't think its right to be slamming the quality of hatchery chicks as if poor quality is just a given, to be expected.
  8. FireTigeris

    FireTigeris Tyger! Tyger! burning bright

    National Poultry Improvement Plan... any person or farm which goes through the process of being certified by the NPIP if free of certain diseases in their flock.

    "Hybrid vigor" technically only applies to members of different species... it is commonly used by lay persons to refer to reshuffling the genes by non-liner breeding.

    I've raised many animals and had vets out over this, seems to be more then coincidence at this point but everything cam back clean, nercropies came back 'nothing abnormal' (except the ones with the genetic inability to absorb calcium- their report was interesting)

    If I were to chart the loss in the pure to mix it's a staggering differences but I miscalculated both numbers when I did it in my head. (approx 7% error) that also must account for the breeds some of them being more 'fragile' (pure silkies, banty Cochin, and I forgot that one whole set of the Wyandotte were special needs (see inability to process calcium above) this also counts losses to predators when they were free ranged due to being too stupid to hide, or drowning in the flash floods any loss- I wasen't keeping good track back then on why they were lost- just lost.

    It was also my first year in chickens-
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2012
  9. FireTigeris

    FireTigeris Tyger! Tyger! burning bright

    Good breeders make sure their (animals) have proper temperament and health or at least declared health (sorry all (animal) have an y% chance of (x problems), but my lines only have a z% rate).

    Not all chicken breeders are good breeders, nor do they do a better job then a hatchery.

    That's all-

    I don't slam hatcheries- If I got a chicken with stripes when it should have spots -I would post pictures.
  10. JenellYB

    JenellYB Chillin' With My Peeps

    Not my intent to slam good breeders. I was, considered myself, others considered me, a very good breeder of purebred dogs for over 40 yrs, rabbits, nearly 20. Breeders are just people. some take it more seriously than others. some do a great job, others don't. all you can do is check each one individually. On considering getting a new breed of chickens, I'm honestly not finding that easy to do. But I know for those not 'on the inside' when I was a dog breeder, it wasn't and isn't easy either.

    As for your first year of raising chickens, of course you made mistakes and have many more. You will, like anyone, either learn, or give it up as not worth it to you at least for now As for losses of free range birds to predators and such, yes, again, choice of breed is VERY important there in many ways....that's back to considering your own situation, what you need and want, and the breed/type chicken that most fits those needs. Good luck in your new chicken venture....rather than criticize you on your high losses to start, I'll encourage you that as you learn, you will get better and cut those loss rates.

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