We have gone in with a friend and received 2 orders this year from major hatcheries, one from Ideal and one from MPC (I know, I know, MPC is just a broker). We have also hatched several batches of chicks here at home this year, and here's what I have discovered. Home-hatched chicks and special breeds that come from "good" blood lines are all great and everything, and I don't know if it's just me or what, but when I hatch, the cockerel/pullet ratio is WAY off. Of all the LF birds we successfully hatched this spring, ALL OF THEM are boys except for two (and one of those two was recently sold). Of the bantams I hatched, I got about a 1:1 cockerel-to-pullet ratio on one hatch and easily a 2:1 cockerel-to-pullet ratio on another one. I have posted the cockerels for sale on craigslist now about 5 times and can't even GIVE these buggers away! Farmer Lew and I are just going to have to set up a freezer camp for the extra boys, though not all of them are dual-purpose & probably aren't very meaty. When I order from the hatcheries and get assorted pullets, they're actually ALL pullets except for maybe an occasional little "accidental roo" here and there. I also hear that show-quality chickens are hard to get from hatcheries. Maybe so, but I have no intention of showing my birds (except I hope to eventually have WFBS that are show-quality & that I would like to show, to help promote the breed because it's on the endangered species list... but that's another story). Even so, the WFBS chicks I got from Ideal are so far really, gorgeous, healthy, good type, and even though they're just starting to be fully covered in "hard feathers", they have that nice, green-sheen that is so desirable in the black-feathered varieties. The other thing I like about ordering from a hatchery is the "instant chick gratification". No turning of eggs, no checking thermometers and hygrometers, no waiting 3 weeks for them to hatch, then having to help out the ones that get stuck, no having to worry about, "Wow, I have good eggs, hope my hen goes broody!" or anything like that. There is something to be said for instant chick gratification.