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Hatchery Hatched vs. Naturally Hatched

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by JakRat, Dec 27, 2011.

  1. JakRat

    JakRat Songster

    Apr 22, 2009
    Has anyone noticed a behavior difference? I am trying to figure out if my "good" girls are good because they were naturally hatched with a mama, or if it is just their breed.

  2. RedDrgn

    RedDrgn Anachronistic Anomaly

    May 11, 2011
    West Virginia
    My Coop
    We don't have both varieties in our flock, all of ours are hatchery birds and all different breeds. Honestly, all of ours are good. Not a mean bone in any of their bodies. A few are a little more skittish than others, but really only with strangers and not so much with my DH or I.

    In my limited experience with chickens, I'd have to say that (at least for hens), the difference would be their upbringing rather than their hatching circumstances or breed. If they were around people and are used to their presence and handling, then it's a snap. If they're more left to their own thing, then they tend to be shyer and wary of us tall 2-legged types, even defensive/aggressive sometimes.
  3. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    I run broods of incubator / brooder as well as hen reared where American game hens do hen rearing. Chicks are either American dominique or American game. At hatch no difference is evident although hen reared chicks quickly pull ahead in respect to physical ability especially in respect to running and flight. Hen reared chicks tend to have better feathering and when held have better muscle tone. There is a smarts issue where hen reared seem better at getting insects. In most ways if the incubator / brooder reared birds are free ranged they can for most part catch up but in the end may be a little on the heavy side.
  4. ozark_chickies

    ozark_chickies Songster

    Jun 19, 2011
    We raised hatchery chicks, chicks that I incubated, and had hen incubated and raised chicks last summer. The hen raised chicks grew feathers in faster, flew and roosted sooner, but seemed to grow slower.The chicks I brooded were fed chick starter, and the hen's chicks were offered chick starter, and ate whatever mom found for them while free ranging. The naturally hatched chicks learned how to forage from day one, and were already flock members, where the hatchery chicks had to figure it out, and be introduced after they outgrew the brooder.
  5. Chickenpoor

    Chickenpoor Songster

    Jan 3, 2011
    Westminster, SC
    Quote:I would have to agree with your opinion.
  6. Ole rooster

    Ole rooster Songster

    Jun 25, 2011
    Milner, Georgia
    The 6 chicks I have were hatched a week ago today. I've been feeding the mama scratch in my hand and the chicks already have lost a lot of the fear of me, jumping up in my hand to see what's going on, and every day mama has given me a lot more trust. I think that will pay off in the long run. The hatchery birds to me are a little slower to trust you. But that's just me.
  7. RoosterRanch

    RoosterRanch In the Brooder

    Mar 23, 2010
    Waverly WV
    In my experience, the chicks raised by a broody hen are superior to the hatchery birds I have raised. I allow the hen to raise them amongst the flock rather than isolate them, so they are easily integrated into the flock without issue. They seem to feather out quicker and have no issues with the pastie rear. They are more confident free ranging as they grow which can be a negative if you have lots of predators around.

    Just my 2 cents

    One thing I have NEVER figured out. How the chicks get up on the roost with thier mother. Its 7 foot off the floor. I can only imagine she holds them under her wing as she jumps from perch to perch up the ladder.
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2011

  8. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Quote:Mine fly up. By 2 weeks they can fly 3 feet vertically and 15 feet horizontally. By five weeks they can fly horizontally a good 100 feet and vertically easily go 6 feet anf when pressed by a fox and can reach the lowest point of my roof (~10 feet). Pure doms less capable but can still make good 4 foor vertical flights by 5 weeks.

    Hen can call chicks up. With my games when free ranged with a rooster, the rooster takes over parenting about time hen stops clucking (5 to 7 weeks) and he can call them up somehow as well. Dominque roosters do not seem to have that abilty.
  9. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    Over a decade and numbers of birds, I find the genetics of the strain and how they were raised determines their behavior. Whether the incubator was a box or a hen didn't matter, it's what happened post hatch that made all the difference.
  10. humpbacks1962

    humpbacks1962 Songster

    Jun 20, 2007
    Middletown, CT
    I have noticed a big difference. My chicks that arrived from a hatchery were neurotic! Screamed when I picked them up and were always afraid of my hands. The ones I got from a local breeder were the most tame, sweetest birds.

    No surprise here, when you learn about what the newborns went through getting the poo squeezed out, thrown into baskets, held by the head to get shots and swung inside a box during shipment as a "welcome into the world" ritual! Add to that never knowing the security of mama's warmth under her wings...

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