Good hatcheries?

Discussion in 'Chicken Breeders & Hatcheries' started by KDOGG331, Feb 26, 2014.

  1. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

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    I want some chickens (although that probably won't happen for a while :( ) and was wondering if you had experience with any good hatcheries? Because obviously quite a few come up when you google it and they look good to me but I want to end up with healthy, good quality chickens, not dead ones. Lol oh and also, we'd probably only want a few, like less than 10, so do websites/big hatcheries do that it is it mostly bulk? Would it be better to just find a local TSC or something?? Thanks.
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    I have no idea what you mean by “good quality”. That could mean a lot of different things.

    Different hatcheries have different people selecting the chickens that become breeders. They have different skill levels and they select for different goals, so yes there are some differences in hatcheries. But what you will get from practically any hatchery are mass produced chicks at a fairly reasonable price that lay well for the breed but will not win chicken shows. They don’t breed show-quality chickens and their prices reflect that. Any major hatchery that has been around a while will have healthy chicks where a vast majority survive and thrive if you raise them right. There are some reviews in this section of the forum, but from reading that most of the complaints are more to do with the post office when they were shipped or from the people who received them not handling them right than the actual hatcheries. Still, if you ship 80,000 to 100,000 chicks a week in season, mistakes can happen.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/285981/breeder-and-hatchery-index

    Breeders really vary. You may find some that take hatchery chickens and cross them without any knowledge of the SOP. You have breeders that breed solely for show. If the judge doesn’t see it, it’s not a concern. For example, the color of the egg is not a criteria when selecting the chickens that breed. You have some breeders that not only breed for show but also for production and/or behavioral traits the chickens are supposed to have. Some people breed more for production than for show. Some just breed project birds, trying to create something that lives only in their imagination. I’m doing that. There is no SOP for what I’m doing. I’m not trying to put any of them down. They are all doing something good as long as they are up-front about what they are doing.

    You need to decide what you want first. You can’t get what you want if you don’t know what it is. Then try to find a source that meets those goals. That can get kind of difficult. For a vast majority of people on here hatchery quality birds are fine but if you want something else, you’ll be disappointed in them.

    Feed store chicks are hatchery chicks. Even different Tractor Supply stores get their chicks from different hatcheries.

    Most hatcheries only ship 15 or 25 chick minimums. That can vary based on the time of the year. They have those minimums so the chicks can keep each other warm when they are shipped. Some will ship fewer but they are more expensive. They normally put a heat pack in with them and you pay for that heat pack.

    Another thing they’ll often do is to add more free chicks to your order to get the numbers up to add more heat. This is practically always extra roosters. You can call them and tell them to not do that, but you run more of a risk of the chicks getting cold during shipping.

    Most feed stores have a minimum of 6. The chicks have already been shipped so you avoid the shipping stress issues or the shipment got lost problems. Each individual store really is different, even if they are the same chain. A lot have bins of pullets only. You can still get a rooster from these. The hatcheries only guarantee 90% accuracy with sex but this sounds like it might be a way for you to go. Some feed stores will even place a special order for you with the hatchery. They will be shipped with that store’s order and be marked, usually with paint. That way you get around the minimum order thing. My Tractor Supply won’t do that, but several will. You’ll need to talk to the person that does the ordering at your feed store to see what they will or won’t do.

    That’s a decent question. This is probably information overload but hopefully you will get something out of all this that helps. Good luck!
     
  3. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

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    Wow, that's all really good info and a lot to consider! Thank you. :) I need to look around and see if any of the stores here even carry chicks, I know there's several stores, mostly local, and a TSC and I've only been in 2 of them and only once but when I wanted chickens last time an looked online, I didn't see any on the site. So I guess I'll have to ask. Although hatchery would probably be fine for us.

    As for the "good quality" part, I more meant good layers, hardy both in terms of easy keeping or adapting to the weather, though that's really breed too, as well as not dying during shipping (though I'm sure that's inevitable, I'd like as few dead or sick as possible), relatively friendly, etc. They don't necessarily have to be show quality or anything, just as long as they're good layers and not aggressive, but looks wouldn't hurt either.

    I've always wanted Plymouth Barred Rocks, Rhode Island Reds, and maybe Buff Orps. Though the more I look into it, I've discovered there's also a New Hampshire Red and apparently, Red Sex Links are great layers so I'm considering those as well. And I've seen some good things about Black Australorps too?

    We'd probably want 10 or less, though with all those breeds maybe we'd just end up doing the 15 order minimum. Haha but if we got extras or ended up with Roos or anything, my uncles neighbor has a small farm with chickens, rabbits, they had a bull and pig at one point, etc. and he's friends with my uncles daughter (i think its his parents farm but he lives there) so he would probably be willing to take them in for us, or at least cull them, or help find a home. He works at a local feed store too so maybe we could ask about chicks.

    Thanks for all the info :)
     
  4. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

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    I think it was red star, rather* but same thing as sex link I think
     
  5. RareDuck

    RareDuck Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My Black Sex Links from Ideal are really great birds. They are all laying at 6 months and most started at 5 months and I have gotten 2 jumbo eggs so far. They have done fine in single digit temperatures and snow. They are very sweet too. I ordered 15 and got 15 and they all lived and did really well till a predator killed one. They do not all look alike. All but one are mostly black but they have varying amounts of red or orange and different feather patterns like penciling, lacing and spangles. They are really pretty birds. They really enjoy foraging. One person who reviewed BSLs here said their birds are still laying eggs at 9 years of age. You can read the reviews of different chicken breeds.
     
  6. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

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    Really? That's awesome, maybe I'll have to consider those then!! Maybe I'll get black and red :) haha yeah, I was looking at some of the reviews earlier
     
  7. KDOGG331

    KDOGG331 Chicken Obsessed

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    Also, are they very loud? From what I've seen, seems like they can be, but I guess that wouldn't be so bad
     
  8. RareDuck

    RareDuck Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They are only loud when they announce that they have laid an egg or if frightened otherwise they just make soft little noises.[​IMG]

    [​IMG] Dates on photos are wrong. Birds were hatched 8/27/2013.[​IMG]

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    Last edited: Mar 3, 2014
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  9. RareDuck

    RareDuck Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you order from Ideal you can get 10. Their minimum is $25. and 10 Black sex link pullets cost more than that. If you wait for warm weather they may not ship any rooster chicks for warmth. I did not get any.
     
  10. cmonkey4

    cmonkey4 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Murray Mcmurray hatchery is one of the best, and Meyer hatchery is also good too, their minimum being 15 in winter and 3 in the summer, you can get pretty much any amount you want.
     

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