So when our hatchery birds were up on the chopping block, we were happy to get a few good ones. We felt blessed - we were expecting them all to be "egg layers", not breeders, but we ended up with several very nice birds actually. When we bought from a private breeder, and have not a single pullet we'd like to add to our breeding flock, we're almost depressed... It was sickening writing "cull "cull" "cull" time after time on the notes we took of them today as we evaluated each one (9 weeks old now [should have been 8, but we've been swamped], then we look again at the best at 16 weeks, then again a few months down the road and look at egg laying). We have Dominiques, and some of these pullets were so dark they have black all the way up except the very tip of their comb. Several had single combs, even more had combs that dipped so far down at the end that their spike was almost buried. Lots of very rough combs with tons of bumps, to an extreme, so that the bumps were larger than the spikes. Others had wing and tail feathers with no barring at all (just dark dark grey/black) and where there is barring on the body it's a very dark grey color and no light grey. Legs are black, and some of the cockerels have very dark legs and beaks as well, and only one of the cockerels has a decent comb, but it's not great. We don't want to name the breeder, we know that they came highly recommended and we don't want to slander or anything - that's not at all what this is about. We're sure they have produced some great birds, or else they would have never been recommended, right? We're just depressed that all the birds have such bad faults after we were expecting greatness compared to the first dose of hatchery birds we had, and now we're left feeling more disappointed than we were the first time. Has anyone else experienced this? Do you get more excited about birds from recommended breeders, or have you all learned to not expect much until you see it yourself?