I buy straight run from hatcheries for one reason. They kill unwanted cocks in inhumane ways. I prefer taking this responsibility on myself. Simply my ethics. I agree with what has been said about hatchery chicks. I have had success with them, and I will isolate the best of my 50 that come in Feb for layer stock, but I must say that buying from local breeders has been a real treat. The birds are amazing in comparison with their quality. I have blood lines from known breeders and I can really work genetics this way. That being said, I believe you can have success with hatchery birds if you are highly selective. I think you will be starting further back in your genetics than with a local breeder, but maybe this will really give you some street smarts when it comes to breeding. I also agree about not getting spread too thin. It takes real focus to create something refined. I breed for eggs and I breed separately for the SOP in my Orpingtons. Best of luck folks! I look forward to everyones' unfolding adventure! Just put in 50 fruit trees on the farm, got new poultry fencing, a solar fence charger for rotating pasture, got the makings of a new mobil coop to build, ordered my production hens and pedigree hatching eggs, ordered our seeds, hired someone to build us a new website for the farm (YAY!) and now I'm off to Guatemala for 12 days to get recharged before we spring into action in the greenhouse and on the farm...whew. I look forward to catching up upon return!