hatchery, breeder, show quality...oh my

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by charlotteda, Mar 5, 2009.

  1. charlotteda

    charlotteda Songster

    Dec 28, 2008
    Pickens SC
    I understand the basic difference between hatchery stock, breeder stock and show quality birds. But based on information that I have read on this site.. I have a few questions , specifically in regards to RIR and Plymouth Rocks..

    This is what I seem to understand... will someone please correct me if I am wrong.

    Hatchery Stock: developed to lay alot, may not be purebred, should lay more eggs but may not be a healthy....live as long etc.

    Breeder Stock: should be more true to bred standard... may not be as good at laying eggs as hatchery stock, healthier genetics in the bird

    Show Quality: truer to standard, may be larger than breeder stock/hatchery, bred for type and not laying ability, may eat alot and lay less.

    I dont want show quality stock but I am trying to decide if I want something to lay well and yet look like the breed, will I be better off with hatchery stock or breeder ?


  2. Black Feather

    Black Feather Songster

    Apr 20, 2007
    I think a lot depends on the breeder you get your stock from. Some breeders may work to maintain the production levels of the birds as they should. The look of the birds is only half the battle in breeding birds that are true to the Standard of Perfection. The problem is you can't judge the production ability of a layer in the show room.

    I've never heard that hatchery stock were particularly unhealthy or short lived, but I could be wrong on that.

  3. If you are only interested in eggs, go with hatchery stock. All three "qualities" will look like the breed you choose, and the differences between each will be miniscule and only noticable to a trained eye. And hatchery stock will usually be your cheapest option as well.
  4. Rusty Hills Farm

    Rusty Hills Farm Songster

    Apr 3, 2008
    Up at the barn
    If you are only interested in eggs, go with hatchery stock. All three "qualities" will look like the breed you choose, and the differences between each will be miniscule and only noticable to a trained eye. And hatchery stock will usually be your cheapest option as well.

    While this is very true, there are some of us out here who are trying to preserve the heritage American breeds so they are not lost entirely, which would leave the choices only hatchery (lay well but smaller birds that may actually be mixes) or SQ (gorgeous but not bred to lay). RIR are a good example of this. Heritage birds are MUCH larger than hatchery stock and more consistently sweet-tempered. They are truly "dual purpose" in that they lay generous numbers of eggs yet the cockerels can still give you a decent-sized dinner. They LOOK like RIRs. The thing is, they are hard to find. Yet, because of sheer number of hatchery birds out there, RIRs are not considered endangered.

    It's my personal feeling that the heritage birds ARE endangered. If you think I'm kidding, try to find/buy some. The same thing is happening to Delawares. At least one society that tracks endangered breeds has taken them off their list "because the hatcheries are breeding them now" (the explanation I was given.) Except the hatchery birds in many cases are not true Dellies--they are crosses--just like has been happening with RIRs and Barred Rocks.

    So if you can find heritage versions of the breeds you like, do consider buying them. You will be helping to preserve our history.

  5. Krys109uk

    Krys109uk Songster

    Hope I don't cause any ripples but..... as far as I've been able to ascertain there's production stock which hold a loose resemblance to the breed after which they have been named. As the term implies their main function is to produce. In reality one might just as well buy a commercial hybrid as buy one of these. Just my opinion. If ones going to get something one might as well get the real McCoy.

    Hatchery stock seems to vary from hatchery to hatchery but is rarely what one could call exhibition stock. The birds from hatcheries seem to range from production stock to reasonable representations of the given breed.

    I don't know what is meant by breeder stock in this instance as any of these birds can be bred.

    Exhibition stock (or show stock) ought to be birds from good quality show lines, which conform well enough to standard that at least some of their offspring conform to standard well enough to be shown.

    As for health & utility characteristics. In an ideal world all birds would be bred to be healthy, productive & to conform, as nearly as possible to standard. Unfortunately production birds, in particular the commercial hybrids, seem to be bred solely for their ability to produce as much as possible for the least amount of feed. These birds, in the case of egg layers, are only needed to live for about 10 months to a year, while they are at their most productive, after which the company will replace with a new batch of young birds. These birds often have egg related problems from having been bred to lay very large eggs from a small body. (Meat birds have other issues bred in).
    Exhibition birds are all too often bred almost exclusively for looks thus many of their erstwhile utility qualities are sacrificed for looks. Sometimes their health is also compromised as the nicest looking bird being chosen for breeding rather than the most robust.

    Just my opinion [​IMG]
  6. EweSheep

    EweSheep Flock Mistress

    Jan 12, 2007
    Land of Lincoln
    Sometimes breeder stock can be bred, with a minor flaw or two that would be acceptable if the pullet would be bred to a better cockeral to overrule the flaws that the momma has. That is why we have "breeder's culls" and "pet only" (those are the ones that should NOT or recommended NOT to produce future chicks with those undesirable traits).

    I have to agree with the list above except some hatchery stock CAN be long lived but most of them I had, all died within three years than my heritage stock does.
  7. Wynette

    Wynette Moderator Staff Member

    Sep 25, 2007
    My first birds were hatchery birds; they lay (and continue to lay) well, and I have had absolutely no heatlh issues with them.

    I (and a close friend) have hatched out numerous birds from many different breeder; we have both found that these hatched birds are not as hardy as the hatchery stock. Neither of us have lost any of our hatchery stock due to health issues; but we have lost at least one bird from each batch of hatched eggs.

    We both have talked about this and wondered about it often, and we've come to the conclusion that hatcheries must also breed for hardiness as well as production. JMO

  8. Buck Creek Chickens

    Buck Creek Chickens Have Incubator, Will Hatch

    Nov 26, 2008
    Neenah, WI
    When we say Hatchery, i.e. Ideal, McMurrey, Meyer,Cackle, Privette plus others like them, are we talking high no. shipped. because, Superior and Sandhill are considered hatcheries and there stock is high quality, Superior actually has show stock.

    If I'm being a trouble maker, sorry

    does this sound right?
  9. Krys109uk

    Krys109uk Songster

    It seems a tad unfair to tar all hatchery stock with the same brush.
    I think the main issues tend to be with the commercial hybrids which are only bred to last a year. Production birds, which are what many of the hatcheries sell are, as their name suggests bred to produce & not really with breed standards in mind, probably don't have the health issues of the commercial hybrid.

    Logically speaking a hatchery breeding production birds, for sale to the general public, probably wouldn't hesitate to kill unhealthy stock whereas the exhibition breeder might be tempted to try to nurse through particularly typey or nice birds which would probably have been killed had they not looked so nice.

    I've seen some hatcheries (mentioning no names) advertising their stock as "show quality" .......erm... well on my observations of the birds .....I think not. Then again I've seen some birds which came out of at least one hatchery where the birds were acceptably close to type & certainly good enough to work with.
  10. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Quote:I'm going to agree here. My hatchery stock birds look like what they're suppose to be. They have the temperment that are suppose to have and they are the healthiest bunch of chickens you'll find. My SO, whose experience is with commercial chickens, comments all the time on how healthy and hardy my flock is. My dark brahmas are especially nice. It's very obvious that whoever is breeding the darks to sell eggs to the hatchery is also working on developing nice birds. Hey, it happens.
    If all you want as a first time chicken owner is some pretty birds that lay eggs well (according to their breed), there's absolutely nothing wrong with hatchery stock.

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