Ahhh, the beauty of hatchery chicks!

Discussion in 'Chicken Breeders & Hatcheries' started by HHandbasket, Jul 11, 2011.

  1. HHandbasket

    HHandbasket The Chickeneer

    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.


  2. WestKnollAmy

    WestKnollAmy The Crazy Chicken Lady

    Apr 22, 2008
    upstate SC
    Hatchery stock!
    Ain't she a beauty???


    I also have a SLW rooster from a breeder that is just as marvelous.

    I hatch a lot of chicks my own self but buy from ahatcheries every year. I have that win-win situation going!
  3. theoldchick

    theoldchick The Chicken Whisperer Premium Member

    May 11, 2010
    Hatchery stock JGs!

  4. Pokster

    Pokster In the Brooder

    Apr 29, 2011
    Manistique, Michigan
    Quote:What do you mean MPC is just a broker?
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2011
  5. Tylt33

    Tylt33 Songster

    Jun 13, 2010
    Chico, California
    Quote:What do you mean MPC is just a broker?

    They drop ship from another hatchery (Meyer?) and dont hatch any of their own chicks.

  6. i have a SLW chick thats 2 weeks old right now, she has a very long tail already! and she has a single comb, but i still like her. shes from Ridgeway

    i had a GLW that died a few months back. She was definitly SQ and she was from, of all places, McMurry!

    if you don't believe she was SQ, take a look for yourselves:

    [​IMG] (shes tto the right)
    [​IMG] (i caught her fluffed up)
    [​IMG] (shes getting a drink)

    out of the lkast pic, the buff EE is the last one surviving and she is friendly as ever [​IMG] (but i do miss the others)
  7. HHandbasket

    HHandbasket The Chickeneer

    You have very lovely birds and a nice chicken yard! [​IMG]
  8. Pokster

    Pokster In the Brooder

    Apr 29, 2011
    Manistique, Michigan
    Quote:What do you mean MPC is just a broker?

    They drop ship from another hatchery (Meyer?) and dont hatch any of their own chicks.

    Thank you.
  9. HHandbasket

    HHandbasket The Chickeneer

    I have never understood why so many people sneer down their noses at hatchery chickens. Not the best source for show birds, I know, but how many of us REALLY show our chickens???

    Some of the most gorgeous members of my flock are not necessarily hatchery chicks, but mutt mixed breeds from parents that were originally hatchery stock. I can tell you that the 3 healthiest, most robust chickens in my yard are mixed breeds (two delaweggers and one EE/JG mix) whose parents were ALL hatchery stock.

  10. gryeyes

    gryeyes Covered in Pet Hair & Feathers

    I had resisted ordering chicks in the past for two reasons:

    1. Sheer ignorance in "believing" there would surely be dead chicks in the box and how creepy an idea it was to ship live baby things via the USPS.
    2. The amount of negativity in certain threads about "hatchery chicks" and the dead ones, or the sexing and other order mistakes made by those hatcheries.

    Well, I have bought feed store chicks and those are hatchery chicks. True, the feed store deals with the dead ones for ya. But the feed stores still label them as whatever the hatcheries identify 'em. No difference there in sexing results.

    I have also hatched my own, either in incubators or under broodies. The former were shipped eggs, and boy, howdy, but that's a crap shoot. Plus it takes 3 weeks of fussing with them in incubators, some don't hatch, some hatch and die, and ALL of them are "straight run." So are any broody hatched chicks, but it is a whole lot easier than incubating the eggs artificially.

    But now that I've experienced THREE orders of shipped chicks/goslings from hatcheries, I think my incubating addiction has fizzled away. It may resurface when I want specific breeds I can't get from a hatchery.... but not to the extent it ruled me last year and earlier this year.

    Yes, a few shipped hatchery chicks died in transit. Sad. But not anywhere near as sad as those I hatched myself, or which didn't hatch.... or which hatched and then died.

    I'm in total agreement with HHandbasket.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2011

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