hatchery chicks?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by SHERRING7712, Jun 28, 2016.

  1. SHERRING7712

    SHERRING7712 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So I am curious to know what everybody thinks about hatchery chicks. There are some specific breeds that I was really wanting to get and haven't had any luck finding breeders near me so I was going to order online. I've seen posts about the color varying quite a bit from true or normal but are there other issues that I should be aware of. Also everywhere I can find around me sell unsexed only so I'm worried about ending up with a bunch of roosters that I have to get rid of or butcher. Thanks in advance for your thoughts!
     
  2. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

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    Hi,
    what breeds are you wanting? You're probably not going to find high quality in most breeds from a hatchery. Their birds are bred to lay.
    Tel me what you want and we'll take a trip around poultry land and see if we can find you some. Where are you located and what age and sex of birds do you want? Do you intend to breed them or just want a pretty flock to lay eggs and be eye candy?
    Either is ok, smile.
    Best,
    Karen,
     
  3. SHERRING7712

    SHERRING7712 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would like to get some orphingtons(buff and lavender), wyandottes (silver laced). Those are the two that I haven't found around here. I do mainly want layers...but eye candy as well. I'm not planning on breeding at this time though if I do it would probably start with my SFH's. I do have a good breeder nearby for my SFH's, cream legbars, blue isbars (haven't gotten any yet, he's been sold out) and my RIR's (only problem is he only sells unsexed.) I am also open to any suggestions for good long term layers that are cold tolerant. We get some pretty nasty winters here and while their coop will be heated cold tolerant is definitely a must. Thanks in advance for any advice you have.
     
  4. SHERRING7712

    SHERRING7712 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    sorry located in Western North Dakota
     
  5. crash0330

    crash0330 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hatchery chicks are great for laying and they are also great eye candy, I can't speak for all hatcheries but my experience with some of them has been that as far as "Laced" colors go the hatcheries need quite a bit of improvement. But if you just want some eye candy in your yard and will not be participating at any competition, then you got plenty colorful chickens to choose from.
    Lavander orpingtons however I doubt any major hatchery will carry them.

    As far as winter hardy breeds go, you might want to stay away from breeds with big combs like Leghorns, as chickens with long combs may be prone to frost bite in their combs. I think the Chantecler breed was specially bred to survive colder climates. But try to stic with breeds with short or rose combs.
     
  6. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    All great advice here. I've generally been happy with hatchery chicks, as I have no desire to enter the show world. However, often hatchery birds will be undersized compared to breed standards, and colors may not be perfect either. Hatcheries are selecting for better egg production, not a bad thing, but remember that really good layers tend to be smaller than some breed standards. I'm in Michigan, and like birds with smaller combs, although it only really matters with the cock birds. Breeders will mostly only sell straight run chicks, and some breeds will only be available as straight run. This is a good thing; what do you think happens to all those cockrels? They don't go to happy valley farm, that's for sure. My cockrels have a good life, and some will be tasty meals. Mary
     
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  7. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    The breeder/ show quality birds I've had, have been lovely, but poor egg producers. Mary
     
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  8. SHERRING7712

    SHERRING7712 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for all the advice and I definitely understand why breeders sell straight run only, they would have an overload of cockerels. The extra's that I have now we will be butchering in a few months but up until that moment my boys have a great life as well. They get lots of extra treats and get to free range in the evenings and on weekends and I think they are generally happy. I however don't want to have to butcher all the time and once I have the boys that I want, I don't have need for others. This and the availability of the breeds in my area are why I was looking at hatchery chicks in the first place. From what I am gathering from the comments so far is that as long as I don't plan on showing them and I am really just interested in egg laying for the most part that hatchery chicks aren't a bad thing.

    Do hatchery chicks seem to have any more health issues or anything?
     
  9. Folly's place

    Folly's place Chicken Obsessed

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    I have ordered from MurrayMcMurray several times, from Cackle twice, and Meyers once. Had good results, and generally healthy chicks as ordered. This year's Cackle order was especially terrific; 47 birds, rather than the 40 ordered, all healthy survivors, no cross beaks, and only one unexpected cockrel. I get them all vaccinated for Marek's disease, and don't order in very cold or hot weather. In general, a hatchery closer to your home, that has the birds you want, is where to look first. For meat birds, the Freedom Ranger hatchery in Pennsylvania is very good. Mary
     
  10. crash0330

    crash0330 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hatchery go through strict regulations to keeps their breeding stock healthy. That is their business, if they were to be sending out sick chicks left and right they would be out of business in no time.
    Now that is not to say that some of their chicks will get sick, some do when they are little, but a lot of the times it's because of the stress they have being through when they were shipped. Also they are some hatchery chicks who have some birth defects like cross beak, even some hatcheries have a disclaimer on their website stating that some chicks might have that, but that is to be expected when you are hatching thousands and thousands of chicks a week.

    Now if you get chicks from a reputable breeder you most then likely will get pretty healthy chicks too. But when you are buying chicks from peoples backyard you are likely to get some sick birds or some chicks that's are carriers of a certain virus, sometimes the owners aren't even aware that they have this viruses as some chickens that are carriers do not show signs but are carriers. It has happen to me that without me knowing I introduce some sort of virus to my flock, and that has being from getting chicks from other people. But like I said with a reputable breeder you should be fine, as those people too take really good care of their stock as that is their business.
     

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