Finding good genes


11 Years
Oct 7, 2008
I recently had the unfortunate experience of losing a young chicken to peritonitis. I understand this is genetic? Does anyone have any advice on finding hens with good genes who will live and lay longer? I have been going to the local feed store for my chicks, but I am hesitant to do so again. I'd rather find farm laid/hatched chicks that come from hens with good histories. Any input?


9 Years
Mar 20, 2010
Northern Kentucky
About the only way you'll have success is to go through a specialty breeder. Most farms buy their chicks through a feed store or order them from the same hatcheries the feed store buys from. That's not to say you can't get good chicks that way but to get any kind of garrantee against genetic problems will be through a well-know and highly spoken of breeder. That also means you'll pay a pretty high price for chicks since they will likely be show quality chicks. Much more than the $2-$4 per chick at the feed store.

Oregon Blues

8 Years
Apr 14, 2011
Central Oregon
I recommend a private serious hobby breeder. But you will have to ask some questions before you buy.

Where did they get their stock from? How long have they been breeding? What are their breeding goals?

No bird is perfect, but most hobby breeders love to point out all the virtues of their birds and to talk about how they hope to improve their flock even more (tell you the flaws). They will tell you where on the scale they value egg laying and health. They will happily tell you how well they have done in shows, which tells you how close to the standard the birds are.

Don't worry that they will be offended by questions. Most show breeders, the problem you have is to get them to shut-up after they start talking about their birds.

Show birds cost more. So if you are on a budget, buy fewer birds and then hatch out as many as you need. Chickens lay a lot of eggs. You can hatch out a lot of nice birds if you are starting with no more than a trio of quality birds.

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