Best way to start out - order day old chicks or fertile eggs?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by mswwalker, Mar 30, 2017.

  1. mswwalker

    mswwalker Out Of The Brooder

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    We just received our first day old chick order and wow...so sad. Almost half were DOA and two look iffy.

    Opinion for your seasoned veterans: Which is better to start, ordering those hatched day old chicks or just ordering and incubating fertile eggs?

    Thanks for your opinions,
    Matt
     
  2. br0nc0

    br0nc0 Out Of The Brooder

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    When I want to get into a new breed, I prefer to find a trustworthy breeder and buy an adult rooster and a couple of hens. That way I know what I'm getting and I can hatch good stock from a solid foundation. If that's not possible I'd order day old chicks from a reliable hatchery. Even if only half of the chicks make it, that can still be better than incubating eggs, especially for a beginner. Incubation can be tricky and it can get a couple of tries to get it right. If you don't get perfect eggs and have perfect conditions you can consider yourself lucky with 50% hatch rate, if any hatch at all. Add a risk of incubator malfunctioning or power outage and the odds get worse. That being said, good eggs and a reliable incubator that you're used to can be better than sick day old chicks.
     
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  3. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Shipped eggs can be very disappointing. I was in a shipping experiment last spring. In one batch, there were a lot of scrambled or broken eggs. I ended up with one beautiful pullet from that group. The second batch didn't fare much better, but, I did get some interesting birds from that group. By far, the easiest way to hatch eggs is to get them locally, and pick them up yourself, and handle very gently until you get them set in your incubator. Starting with eggs is actually very doable, if you are the type of person who is willing to invest 21 days with the possiblility of 0% return. Then, there's the cockrel factor. If you incubate, you need an exit plan for the unwanted cockrels, as well as to be willing to cull any chicks that have quality of life defects. Best to have that settled in your mind before plugging that bator in. If you are new to hatching, back yard mix eggs, picked up locally are the way to go. They will yield some great layers, and they will be like a box of chocolates: you never know what you're gonna get. But, I caution you: IF you have specific ideals, you will have to screen the flock they come from. For example: I refuse to have feather footed birds in my flock (dominant trait). And I don't want birds with top crests (I think this is also dominant) Don't want turkey necks. Not sure if that is dominant or not! If you order chicks, it's a gamble. Hopefully better results if you order after the weather has settled, and from a hatchery close to you.
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2017
  4. mswwalker

    mswwalker Out Of The Brooder

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    I would absolutely love to go to a local provider, but am having trouble finding any. Unless I want a mixed group I'm looking at a multi-hour drive over to Georgia.

    Tried to post a "I want to buy" ad in BST forum but it won't let me.

    Frustrated and sad...
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    LG, the Turken (Naked Neck) gene is also dominant. I actually don’t mind dominant genes that much, in two generations I can eliminate them if I wish. I did with barring when I decided I’d rather have mottled. It’s those recessives that hang around forever and pop up at all the wrong times.

    The vast majority of shipped chicks do fine but occasionally there are shipments like yours or even worse. Those bad shipments can happen at any time but seem concentrated when we have a bad winter storm. Shipment over postal holidays is usually a good thing to avoid to.

    There are risks no matter what you do. You’ve seen what can happen with shipped chicks. The others discussed hatching shipped eggs. I’ve had 100% success rate with hatching shipped eggs, I’ve had horrible hatches with shipped eggs.

    You could pick up some chicks forma local feed store if they are having “chick days”. Many are right now.

    Since you are in the States, you can find your state thread in the “Where am I? Where are you!” section of this forum and chat with your neighbors. If I knew which state I could look it up and give you a link. There is no telling what people just a short drive away may have or how they may be willing to help you.
     
  6. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    Also, Poultry Nutri Drench is a wonderful product to have on hand for starting chicks, no matter where they come from.
     
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  7. mswwalker

    mswwalker Out Of The Brooder

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    I've posted in the Alabama section before but haven't had much success linking up with specific breed owners (silkies are impossible to come by, for example). I poswted again today and will see if there are any local spots I can drive too.

    I thought about trying hatching eggs but good lord silkie eggs are expensive...
     
  8. debid

    debid Overrun With Chickens

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    If you're in Alabama, you're kinda out of luck right now, aren't you? I'd heard it was a full stop on poultry movement for AI control.
     
  9. debid

    debid Overrun With Chickens

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    Oh, and I drive to a local hatchery that hatches mid-week and sells on Saturdays. Never had a chick that was anything less than thriving that way.
     
  10. mswwalker

    mswwalker Out Of The Brooder

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    Apparently not, since we just had chicks mailed to us and the TSC guy just told me his new shipment is coming in tomorrow.
    And which hatchery do you drive by? If it's driving distance from my place that would solve my probs..
     

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