hatchery birds vs. show quality birds

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by featherfriendlyinIowa52, Nov 21, 2011.

  1. featherfriendlyinIowa52

    featherfriendlyinIowa52 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 15, 2011
    NW Iowa
    I'm still deciding on where to obtain my first chickens. Hatchery birds apparently lay better than birds bred for standard (at least that's what I'm reading). I'm guessing this is similar to what happened to hybrid roses (pretty ones have no smell) and red delicious apples (beautiful, but no flavor). I want eggs AND nice birds. Is there a medium ground here. Murray McMurray is only 20 minutes from me but I've heard mixed reviews. This hatchery would be extremly convenient though as I could pick the birds up rather than having them shipped. But again, I want birds that look like their breed. Any insights will be greatly appreciated.
  2. Eggcessive

    Eggcessive Flock Master

    Apr 3, 2011
    southern Ohio
    I just got my first chickens last spring, and did a lot of research beforehand. I think as a beginner it is nice to get different breeds to see which ones you like best. It was the most fun thing I ever did to raise day old chicks from a hatchery. It is best to get them all at once and all the same age, because the integration of different age groups is not fun or easy. Now that I know what I like and how to take care of them, I would like to get some better quality birds in the future or hatch some quality eggs. But as a beginner, it can be very expensive to purchase quality birds especially when you don't necessarily know what your doing yet.
  3. featherfriendlyinIowa52

    featherfriendlyinIowa52 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 15, 2011
    NW Iowa
    Thanks. I've been leaning toward hatchery chicks (I go back & forth). I think I eventually want Black Copper Marans and Wyandottes, however, BCM's are apparently not the best layers (3 eggs a week) and Wyandottes are slow to mature (at least from breeders) so I'd be waiting a long time for my first egg. A variety from a hatchery might give me eggs in 19 weeks and more of them. I also want Ameracaunas (sp?) for the grandkids. Temperament is important too though and hatchery birds aren't bred with anything in mind except quantity so I'm still not 100% one way or the other.
  4. Tracydr

    Tracydr Chillin' With My Peeps

    The chicks I bought from Mcmurray's all look like their breeds. The one Silver Duckwing Old English Bantam was a little tall but the other OEGBs look decent and all my other breeds look really nice, especially my Buttercups, Egyptian Fayoumis and Golden Penciled Hamburgs. The Easter Eggers are not the Americaunas that they say they are but they're still pretty and they are laying a bluefish green egg so I'm happy with them as well.
    I also bought some blue silkies and production reds from Ideal. They look like what they are supposed to look like. The silkies have walnut combs, black skin and 5 toes.
  5. cluck-darth-peep

    cluck-darth-peep Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 28, 2011
    upper ohio
    Quote:I was not impressed with Murray McMurray. I bought my day old chicks from Meyer Hatchery in Ohio, June of this year. They are 22 weeks old today and the RIR started laying last week. THe BR and Specked S. started laying. All 3 have really nice brown eggs. Waiting for the Golden Buff to lay. As for the chickens, they are high quality and so beautiful. I did not hold them or pet them when they were small and all 4 chickens will peck at the kitchen door and, I do let them inside the house. They stay within 4 feet of the door, never venturing beyond that. The 2 dogs can wander past them and they are not flighty, just calm. They are all calm, quiet and very tame. I have 2 small dogs and the chickens will walk side by side with the dogs. The last photo I took , one of the dogs was on her back in the grass and the chickens came over to see, and just watched.
    Those 4 hatchery chickens are so good, and beautiful, I purchased 7 more different breeds from Meyer hatchery in September. They are all doing very very well and you can see the high quality of breed in them even at age 2 months. None of them try to leave the yard, they free range a few hours a day. This is the first time I have had chickens. I emailed all hatcheries for a catalog, and ended up with Meyer. Even the Meyer Hatchery has a high quality catalog, compared to the other hatcheries. No, I am not related nor know of anyone at Meyer Hatchery.
    I hope this helps.
  6. OwensMom

    OwensMom Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 4, 2009
    CO Western Slope
    I've gone both ways. When I began I went with McMurray birds. I was very satisfied with them. they lay well and proved healthy. Since they are really not any specific breed it is difficult to tell what temperment a specific breed would be. So when you go for a breed and you've had hatchery birds you may be surprised. If you just are interested in eggs, hatchery birds work. If you want to get into breeding and showing that is another ball of wax. Even in some of the breeds, the chicks don't breed true. Some serious breeders go through 100's of eggs to get a few really, breed standard chicks. You can go through a lot of money trying to buy good representatives of a breed. You would think that the genes would be "set" by now but they are not always:oops: Here is where I get slammed!!!
    So define your goals and know what you are in for.
  7. Auscal

    Auscal Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 29, 2010
    If you are non interested in showing or breed development, IMHO hatchery birds are just find.

    If I were you I would be picking up a nice variety from the very conveniently located Murray.
  8. Azriel

    Azriel Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 19, 2010
    If you have the room, I don't think it's bad to start with hatchery birds and as you gain more experence get better quality birds. I have a layer flock that are hatchery birds (Gold sex link, Production reds and SLW), and I also have my quality breeder birds of the breeds that I really like and want to raise. They all get the same care and my hatchery birds are just as friendly as my breeder birds. My laying flock helps pay for everyones feed. Even tho my SLW were bought at TSC and are hatchery birds, they are very pretty with very nice laceing, they are most likley smaller than quality breeder birds, but they are great layers and very sweet.
  9. Beekissed

    Beekissed Flock Master

    My last two batches of chicks came from Meyers, via MPC, and I have no complaints about their looks, their hardiness or their productivity. The only birds I had problems with were the Black Stars....they only lasted 2 years before they each fell dead off the roost with heart attacks. I still have most of that batch and they are laying strong at 5 years of age, have beautiful health and look exactly like the breed they are supposed to have been.
  10. mammat

    mammat Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 29, 2009
    columbus ohio
    My vote is for meyer. Every bird I have gotten from meyer has been great! They all lay well and my dtr won 4Th place with one of their hatchery blue cochins at the fair [​IMG]

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