Hatchery vs. Breeder Stock

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Yogiman, Feb 8, 2008.

  1. Yogiman

    Yogiman Songster

    Feb 2, 2008
    South Louisiana
    This question has probably been raised on the forum a number of times and answered as well. Since I am new to the forum I have not found the answer.

    I often read posts on here regarding the quality of hatchery chicks versus individual breeder chicks. I want to understand the difference. What is it that makes one better than the other or is there truly a difference?

    I have kept chickens for many years and always purchase them from hatcheries of feed stores that orders them from a hatchery. I have had fairly good success with this but I am confused with what might be preceived as a difference. [​IMG]
  2. KKluckers

    KKluckers Time Out

    Sep 4, 2007
    I have owned hatchery and chickens from breeders. The difference is the quality. Hatchery stock is usually good layers, but lack the looks you get from when you buy from a breeder. Hatcheries dont usually match each chicken to a mate for selective breeding to get a desirable trait, breeders do. So if you are just looking for layers I would say hatchery. If you want something better for show, etc. I would go the breeder route. Some breed varieties you can t get from a hatchery or only a few have them, so you end up having to find a breeder if you really want that type of chicken. I know, it took me forever to find Blue Orpingtons.
  3. NewGuineaChooks

    NewGuineaChooks Songster

    Aug 24, 2007
    San Antonio, Texas
    Most of the chickens you buy from a hatchery/feed store are 'mass produced' as it were. Although they may be 'barred rocks' for example, they wouldn't be perfect examples of the breed, and won't be good enough to qualify in a poultry show. The APA (american poultry assosciaton) has a book of standards, that describes what is optimal RE: body shape, head, comb, leg colour, etc. Hatcheries don't carefully check all their breeding stock to eliminate variations from the standard. They are more interested in volume. So, if you plan to show, your success will be better if you purchase eggs from a breeder who has birds of that type that did well in a show.

    Back to the barred rocks. We have 4 barred rock hens. One has pink legs, and one has a rose comb. For shows, those things are so far from the Standard, that there's no point in even entering those birds. But they lay lots of nice eggs, so they're great for us in our yard.
  4. kstaven

    kstaven Crowing

    Jan 26, 2007
    BC, Washington Border
    You will often find that hatchery stock is cross bred to increase numbers and laying ability. That is why you often see wrong combs, green legs, and it goes on and on and on.
  5. ThreeBoysChicks

    ThreeBoysChicks Songster

    Sep 19, 2007
    Thurmont, MD
    I have gotten all mine from Hatcheries. I wouldn't know all the right qualities anyway. And when they follow you around hoping to get a treat or come over and sit on your shoe, you don't even think about the fact they came from a Hatchery. For me getting them from the Hatchery meant I could get all pullets. I recently got some Silkies and told the person I will take the ones that are not perfect. I have one with a crocked toe and a buff with some dark feathers in her tail and a blue that has some brown in her neck feathers, but they are the sweetest babies.
  6. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    You know, it depends on if you want to be a breeder and/or show your birds or you just want them to lay eggs and for you to enjoy. My entire original flock and two later girls are hatchery birds. They are not perfect breed examples, but I love them all anyway. They're great layers with neat personalities. Actually, my Buff Orps aren't too shabby as Buff Orps go, even for hatchery birds. My Blue Orpingtons and my Ameraucana are breeder birds. You just cant find those at hatcheries at all, for the most part.
  7. Yogiman

    Yogiman Songster

    Feb 2, 2008
    South Louisiana
    Thanks to each of you for your replies. I sincerely value your input. I was and still am somewhat concerned about the quality of chicks I am about to recieve from the two most mentioned hatcheries on this forum. Some threads I read reminded me of some of the horror stories I read about puppy mills.

    I keep a flock of heavy brown egg layers soley for personal consumption. I do not sell eggs nor do I show birds. However, I like to think that I a paying for quality chicks when I purchase them.

    I normally rotate my flock every two years just because I can. Doing so provides me an opportunity to try a new breed that I have never kept before. I pass my previous flock or part of it on to others that are wanting a few hens. I just gave a neighbor RIR hens that were not yet 2 years old.

    I suppose that I have had a wealth of "blind luck" thus far in that I have not yet received what I thought might be an inferior chick.
    Again, thanks for your input and would very much appreciate anyone else input.
  8. RockinCircleC

    RockinCircleC In the Brooder

    Feb 6, 2008
    Enumclaw, WA
    Quote:That is the exact reason I am considering breeder stock chicks instead of hatchery ones. Doesn't mean I won't still get hatchery chicks at some point in the future, but I like to think that I am paying a little bit more for some better quality birds. And if my son decides to show in 4-H someday, we'll hopefully have some decent birds that we may have even bred ourselves someday (my son is only 4 right now).
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2008

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