Hatchery Assortment Comparison

GothChick

Songster
9 Years
Sep 5, 2010
480
38
169
Wisconsin
Has anyone ever done a comparison of different hatchery assortments. I've been trying to find a comparison but haven't had much luck. I might be crazy but I have been thinking about doing a little experiment myself. I would order an assortment from each of the major hatcheries all on the same day. I would then document everything, such as total price, how long it took to arrive, customer service, etc. Then I would also take photos showing each assortment and what was received. My problem would be selling all the extra chicks, but I think it could be fun and would possibly help others decide which hatchery to order from......
 

Plip

Free Ranging
9 Years
Apr 28, 2010
1,193
5,740
566
NW Washington State
That's an intriguing idea, GothChick!

One consideration might be that a particular hatchery's assortment on any given day might be heavily influenced by what they have in surplus (based on what's been hatching and what's been ordered). A week later, the same hatchery could have a very different assortment.
 

Ms Biddy

One chicken short of crazy
Dec 4, 2017
786
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There's a Facebook group for the Cackle surprise boxes. You can see what other people are getting. I haven't ever gotten one, but feel like I'm pretty familiar with them. I think it would be hard or even unfair to do a specific comparison since every box is different. One day you might get a pair of goslings, another day all chicks, another day some keets, ducklings, poults etc. There are some general things that can be said such as Cackle boxes generally have more pullets than cockerels and generally will consider one polite request like if you say, no meat birds please or we'd love ducks, or we love bantams etc. They ALWAYS include extras.
 

Acre4Me

Crossing the Road
Nov 12, 2017
6,246
18,671
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Western Ohio
Definitely interesting. From my limited knowledge, I would suggest standardizing your assortment. I’ve seen the “leftover” assortment (late Hatcher’s from Meyer), or surprise box at Cackle, the “brown egg”, or “rare breed”, or “rainbow pullet” assortments. So, narrow the field a bit to make sure you can have some kind of meaningful comparison. Also, as another mentioned, these assortments will vary, so your idea of ordering for same hatch date is a good one. I’d be interested to know if you get a bigger variety in the colder months (due to possibly lower volume of orders) vs the traditional chick time of Feb-May).
 

GothChick

Songster
9 Years
Sep 5, 2010
480
38
169
Wisconsin
Well I figure to give each hatchery a an equal "playing field" I would order assortments that are as close to the same as possible. Most have similar assortments such as a rainbow layer all pullet type assortment, or a standard surprise assortment. Also the assortments would be placed on the same day so each hatchery would face the same challenge of what is available at that time. This experiment would be more to see how everything goes from each place, such as how many died in shipping, how fast were they able to ship the assortment, did they include tracking, how many different varieties did they send, and so forth. I would used a basic format to "grade" each hatchery.
 

GothChick

Songster
9 Years
Sep 5, 2010
480
38
169
Wisconsin
I'm also thinking I would place the orders on a Saturday that way each hatchery has the same start point, since each hatchery ships on different days I wouldn't want some dragging behind simply because I ordered right after their hatching date. Also there wouldn't be any winners or anything. Just a fun comparison. When I was placing orders I tried to find something like this and didn't have any luck. I wanted to see prices, ship times, how many they sent, what was received, etc from different hatcheries all in one place and couldn't find anything.
 

Ms Biddy

One chicken short of crazy
Dec 4, 2017
786
2,370
332
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My Coop
With Cackle, you might place your order on a Saturday but not receive an exact ship time for quite a while. Even if they have the same birds as other hatcheries, you may not receive them if other customers order the allotment for that day, something which is out of their hands.

Eta: regarding mortality, will all the hatcheries be the same distance away? I'm not centrally located so I try to order from those that aren't too far away.
 

Ms Biddy

One chicken short of crazy
Dec 4, 2017
786
2,370
332
My Coop
My Coop
Although I don't think a "fair" comparison is really possible I love that you'd consider doing this. It would be a dream to get assortments from so many places. Surely you'd end up with many amazing surprises!
 

Birdinhand

Crowing
May 23, 2016
1,113
1,764
277
Pacific Northwest
I too appreciate that you are thinking of this, it's something I have wished for. unfortunately it seems that there are so many variables that it's hard to nail down. a few years back I was given some advice which seems to hold true to this day, that the best hatchery is the one that is closest to you. the distance and time that the chicks travel seems to be one of the main determiners of outcome. and it gets tricky, because if a hatchery runs out of what you want, it's common practice among some to simply have them shipped from another hatchery, which might be much further away.

I had some bad experiences with mailed eggs and mailed chicks and started asking more questions through the customer service line before ordering my next chicks. I also asked around locally on forums to see who was having good outcomes from which local hatcheries. I was directed to jenks hatchery in OR and so I called them, and low and behold, one of the owners picked up the phone and he was kind enough to spend about 45 minutes explaining many details about the breed of chick I was after, the cornish cross meat bird. for me, the information he gave me was invaluable, that there was a specific line of cornish cross that was much more healthy, happy and chicken like, a much better bird for the back yard producer.

I would highly recommend spending some time, doing some research, asking around locally maybe through your state thread or local forums and once you get a bit knowledgable, call them directly and start asking a few revealing questions like, do you ship from other hatcheries or can I be assured I will get the chicks directly from you?, what is your return policy? and any other questions you want specific to the breed you want. once you find a good hatchery for your location, share your info with others near you. location, location, location seems to be the mantra.
 

Acre4Me

Crossing the Road
Nov 12, 2017
6,246
18,671
817
Western Ohio
I too appreciate that you are thinking of this, it's something I have wished for. unfortunately it seems that there are so many variables that it's hard to nail down. a few years back I was given some advice which seems to hold true to this day, that the best hatchery is the one that is closest to you. the distance and time that the chicks travel seems to be one of the main determiners of outcome. and it gets tricky, because if a hatchery runs out of what you want, it's common practice among some to simply have them shipped from another hatchery, which might be much further away.

I had some bad experiences with mailed eggs and mailed chicks and started asking more questions through the customer service line before ordering my next chicks. I also asked around locally on forums to see who was having good outcomes from which local hatcheries. I was directed to jenks hatchery in OR and so I called them, and low and behold, one of the owners picked up the phone and he was kind enough to spend about 45 minutes explaining many details about the breed of chick I was after, the cornish cross meat bird. for me, the information he gave me was invaluable, that there was a specific line of cornish cross that was much more healthy, happy and chicken like, a much better bird for the back yard producer.

I would highly recommend spending some time, doing some research, asking around locally maybe through your state thread or local forums and once you get a bit knowledgable, call them directly and start asking a few revealing questions like, do you ship from other hatcheries or can I be assured I will get the chicks directly from you?, what is your return policy? and any other questions you want specific to the breed you want. once you find a good hatchery for your location, share your info with others near you. location, location, location seems to be the mantra.

Ehhh... location might be important, but the way USPS handles them is of bigger importance. I’ve read of BYCers that orders from X or Z hatchery in some place far away and they get them next day (either due to USPS handling or their choice to pay extra for next day guarantee). My experience was ordering from an OH hatchery 3 hours drive from me and it took 2 days, including 31 hours of that without updates after they left the USPS distribution center. All were dead, 26 chicks -lots of breeds, with heat packs still warm. Guessing some kind of exposure like dry ice might be to blame. But someone else posted that they received their birds a month later (same hatchery) in less than 24 hours and they live further than me in IN. Overall, I think the USPS routing also plays a role, as the routing may have been more convoluted in my situation than the other person’s who was in another state.
 

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