Hatchery or breeder...


8 Years
Jun 24, 2011
I'm planning on getting chicks this Spring for the first time. I would like a variety. Being in the dog business...grooming and retail, I have an issue with the big box stores. So, I kinda feel the same about the big hatcheries. So, my questions are...I want a variety of breeds so to get them from different breeders would be hard. Plus, getting them from different breeders means different ages (pecking problems/order). Do more of you purchase from breeders or hatcheries?


Langshan Lover
11 Years
Jan 4, 2009
Claremore, OK
I can only say this for my own opinion. I will never purchase from a hatchery again. The chicks were cute but after having birds from a breeder that more closely fit the standard, hatchery birds just don't "do it" for me.


8 Years
Aug 18, 2011

<~~ Watching with interest - also starting first flock this spring and want an assortment - only want 6-10 - just spent over an hour comparing 8 hatcheries....

Maybe if there are more than a couple of us in this same position, we could 'band together' .. somehow purchase eggs from several breeders and have them all shipped at around the same time to some poor shmuck <ahem!> I mean some helpful soul who would be willing to hatch them, devide them up, and ship them out.


11 Years
Nov 25, 2008
It simply depends on what you want them for. If you just want nice chickens that lay eggs than hatchery birds are fine. You can go to a local feed store and get chicks usually in the spring. They get their birds from hatcheries. Start asking your feed stores now if they are going to be ordering in the spring. If they are, find out what hatchery, look up what they sell and pick out how many of each breed you want then let the feed store know and they will add it to their order. That is what I did for years and I did not have to have a minimum order and could order different kinds of sexed chicks.

Now I only have Araucana chickens and the leftover hatchery birds that are still alive. If you want a chicken that looks like it is supposed to and may want to start showing or breeding in the future, it is best to go to a breeder of the specific breed. Go to the breed clubs of your choosen breeds and see if they have any breeders that are close by. If you can go pick up the birds or meet the breeder in town there is usually not a minimum or there is a low minimum number. My minimum number for chicks under 3 months is 3 chicks have to be bought together, and that is so they have a friend with them when they go to their new home. No one likes going someplace new alone.



9 Years
Dec 2, 2010
I too have enjoyed the many varieties in the past that hatcheries provide, but now I am beginning to see the logic in selecting chickens for quality above quantity. In some breeds, it is like night and day. I would recommend a breeder as long as you do your research.

Moonlight Piano

8 Years
Mar 24, 2011
Southeastern US. / Georgia.
Most certainly breeder quality, however the bad thing about many breeders is they tend to focus on one breed. Not always the case, but I honestly know only one breeder, that I am good friends with
, that breeds more than just one breed to standard. So in your case its hard to say
. But if it were me I would def. try and find a breeder that has several varieties and breeds of chicken.
Like myself I have many breeds, but I only really am trying to breed two to standard. So I don't know
but I would try and find a breeder rather than a hatchery. Hope I helped, and good chicken hunting

God bless,


Crazy for Colors
10 Years
Oct 19, 2009
Forks, WA
The real question here is, and has been mentioned before, what kind of "breeder" are we talking about here?
There's a LOT and I mean a lot of "breeders" out there who claim whatever, yet have birds that either came straight from a hatchery or who's parents or grandparents did, making the only difference between them and the hatchery is lack of certification and possibly better treatment of parent/adult birds.

Now, a breeder who does non-hatchery birds, yeah, I'd go for them anyway before a hatchery. Yes, some only focus on one or two breeds, but, that's when you A) search around from breeder to breeder or B) get an incubator
Most breeders, and LOADS of them online here, sell hatching eggs. That way you can "shop" online for whatever you like and want, and hatch 'em all out at once or within a couple months time and really experience the full beauty of it from egg on forward.

But, difference wise, what is there?

Breeders, and I'm talking about non-hatchery stock people, have bigger birds, birds that match the breed definition and standard, birds that don't have egg-laying issues from over-production breeding, birds with much better temperament since it is actually focused in the program, birds with much more beautiful/well done color or patterning, and most importantly, a MUCH bigger variety out there.
Hatcheries don't offer real Ameraucanas, real Araucanas, Oriental Gamefowl, English Orpingtons of many new/rare colors. laced Brahmas, several new or rare colors of breeds normally offered, just not in the certain color, real Cornish, Olive Eggers, French Marans, I could go on and on.

Also not all but some breeders have a much better living condition offered for their poultry. I for one would never put my birds in small dirt runs, in a warehouse with little sunlight, or in a seriously crowded area. The health, lifestyle, and diet of my birds goes right into the egg, as it would for eating to better taste, it increases the nutritional value of the egg, thus offering a much healthier chick.
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12 Years
Jun 20, 2007
Middletown, CT
Breeder all the way!
I purchased from both. My hatchery chicks were neurotic. When you learn about all they go through to get sexed, sorted, vaccinated, shipped, etc., you see why.

When I bought from a local breeder those chicks grew up healthy and very calmed. Very sweet. The breeder was also always available for questions as they grew up. Even for hatching eggs I have a preference for local.

And definitely the humane factor is so important too. Chicks from a breeder met their mama and were cared for by her. I do not support breeding chickens in inhumane, caged conditions. local breeders often take pride in their flock, bond with their birds and love watching them. I'll never purchase from a hatchery again.
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